Kenya: Ruto Gets Standing Ovation in South Africa But Kenyans Disagree

President William Ruto has been outspoken on the plight of African leaders at the hands of counterparts from the so-called developed world, saying that at times they are treated like “school children” when they attend international meetings to which they are invited.

His latest comments were made on May 17 while addressing the South Africa-based Pan African Parliament where he said that it was not right for a single leader from one developed country to summon over 50 African Heads of State for a meeting which “will most likely end up being a photo op”.

Ruto has suggested that the African Union Commission should be empowered enough to represent the continent at such meetings instead of having dozens of Presidents at meeting where they are given a minute or so to speak, reports The New Times.

Ruto’s speech comes at a time when Kenyans, led by opposition leader Raila Odinga, are in the midst of protests against the rise in cost of living. Ruto has slammed the protests, calling them undemocratic.

Meanwhile, Ruto’s government’s plan to to raise taxes has been termed “punishment” to Kenyans. The government targets raising U.S.$22 billion for the financial year ending 2024, amid tough economic challenges caused by the Ukraine-Russia conflict as well as drought and inflation.

Ruto has said every Kenyan above the age of 18 should be issued the Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA’s) pin, qualifying them as taxpayers.

Kenyans have been struggling to put meals on their tables amid the high prices of food commodities that have increased over the last few years.

The Kenya Post Primary Teachers Union KUPPET has rejected Ruto’s housing plan citing inadequate pay and called on Parliament to amend the Finance Bill 2023 in a bid to make the proposed Housing Levy voluntary. KUPPET proposed that Ruto’s administration adopts the Jubilee Party model under Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta where the government considered other alternatives to fundraise. President Ruto told off critics of his contentious levy saying his critics were themselves beneficiaries of mortgages who were now out to deny low-income workers an opportunity to live in decent homes.