Kenya’s Ruto defends using private jet for US trip, cites cost savings

Kenyan President William Ruto faced criticism for opting for a private jet over the national airline, Kenya Airways, for his recent trip to the US. He defended the decision, claiming it was cheaper but did not disclose the costs.

Political analyst Prof. Herman Manyora expressed skepticism, and opposition figure Eugene Wamalwa called the move “unpatriotic,” suggesting the president should have promoted the national airline instead.

During his three-day state visit, the first by an African leader to the US in 15 years, Kenya secured significant investment deals and was designated a major non-NATO ally by the US.

Ruto, responding to backlash, insisted he was acting as a “steward of public resources,” and the private jet was more cost-effective than commercial flights.

However, reports indicate hiring the jet cost $1.5 million, while business-class tickets on Kenya Airways would have been $300,000. The president dismissed these figures as exaggerated.

Government spokesman Isaac Mwaura stated the benefits of the visit outweighed the costs but did not provide specifics. Critics argue taxpayer money is being misused amid rising taxes and government extravagance. Since taking office in 2022, Ruto has made over 50 international trips, defended as necessary despite recent directives to cut spending.

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