The hornets’ nest has been stirred by Charlene Ruto, the daughter of Kenyan President William Ruto. She launched the “Office of the First Daughter,” which she describes as a private organization not supported by Kenyan tax payers. She has however received a barrage of criticism from her countrymen in the past week for allegedly squandering state funds . She argued, nonetheless, that she has done nothing wrong.
After Uhuru Kenyatta completed the two terms allowed by Kenyan law, William Ruto was inaugurated as the country’s fifth president in September of last year. Charlene has been routinely visiting national leaders, going to international gatherings, and interacting with dignitaries abroad even before her father was elected president.
Additionally, she has hosted public gatherings and meetings while holding a position that is illegal under Kenyan law. In a video that has recently gained widespread online exposure, Ms. Ruto was seen addressing a crowd at a summit in Tanzania and introducing her “team from Kenya,” which included her adviser and another person tasked with serving as the “head of trade and investments at the Office of the First Daughter.”
The audience appeared to chuckle aloud, prompting Charlene Ruto to say “I don’t get what is funny” as she attempted to continue with the introductions.
There has been an outrage from Kenyans, with Ms. Charlene Ruto trending on Twitter last week as her countryfolk queried the status of her office and whether she was using taxpayers’ money. In obvious reaction, she responded with a statement saying: “The Office of the First Daughter is a private entity. It is neither a constitutional office nor is it being funded by the Kenyan taxpayer.” She went on to explain that her “office” has an “independent structure and facilitators,” as she touted its “objectives of championing youth-based agendas and climate change advocacy.”
Charlene Ruto had sparked online debates previously amid her political engagements, with many Kenyans describing her as a “low budget version of Ivanka” – the daughter of former United States President Donald Trump who played high-stake roles in her father’s administration. Some nicknamed her ‘Quickmart Ivanka,’ referencing a low-cost Kenyan supermarket, which she didn’t seem too upset about as she tweeted a video of herself smiling and walking around the grocery chain.