President William Ruto has found himself under scrutiny in 2023, as several instances of contradictory and controversial public statements have raised concerns among Kenyans, contributing to a sense of confusion and a decline in trust.
Ruto’s double speak left Kenyans confused and questioning those in his circle in charge of offering advice.
Below, we take a look at some of the controversial statements that have brought unnecessary scrutiny on the Presidency.
Stance on the Israel-Palestine War
Ruto’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict drew attention when he initially expressed support for Israel, condemning Palestine’s actions as offensive.
President William Ruto meets Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 9, 2023
However, within a short span, he changed his position, emphasising that every country should be free, and advocating for a two-nation solution for Palestine.
This abrupt shift left many questioning the consistency of the Head of State’s diplomatic views.
El Nino Rains
In response to the Kenya Meteorological Department’s warning of impending El Nino rains, President Ruto dismissed the claims in October.
He downplayed the forecast, asserting that the country would only experience heavy rains.
The Kenya Met Director and the World Meteorological Organisation contradicted Ruto’s statement, emphasising the accuracy of the El Nino prediction.
However, a month later, Ruto claimed credit for the rainfall, attributing it to a prayer meeting at Nyayo Stadium.
President Ruto’s commitment to resolving the dollar shortage in Kenya, primarily through a government-to-government oil deal, faced setbacks.
He pledged to strengthen the depreciating Kenyan Shilling against the dollar within a few months, but the local currency is currently exchanging at Ksh153 for one unit of the green buck.
The controversial G-to-G deal raised questions about its validity and beneficiaries.
Ruto’s subsequent request for a Ksh38 billion loan in Indian Rupees in India further added to the complexity of the dedollarisation plan, with complaints about losses due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Throughout the year, Kenyans expressed dissatisfaction with the increasing number of taxes introduced despite President Ruto’s promise to reduce the tax burden during the campaign period.
Ruto vowed to slash taxes, especially on fuel, and reform the tax system to ensure the wealthy paid more.
However, the Finance Act, 2023, signed into law in June, introduced more taxes, leading to disappointment among the public.
Ruto defended the move, attributing it to the need for self-reliance and to service the substantial debt left by the previous administration.
A photo of the National Treasury building.