Ruto faced Kenyan youths in rare X Space meeting

Ruto faced Kenyan youths in rare X Space meeting

President William Ruto of Kenya found himself confronting Kenyan youth in a rare gathering at X Space, where he fielded unfiltered questions about shortcomings and controversies surrounding his administration.

Over 100,000 Kenyans attended the event, challenging the Head of State to defend his government’s unpopular policies while pledging reforms in critical areas.

Ruto had accepted an invitation from Generation Z and Millennial protesters, who had rejected his proposal for a task force to address their concerns.

While the President was no stranger to engaging directly with the public, primarily through social media during his tenure as deputy president, technical difficulties delayed the meeting by an hour from its scheduled start at 2 pm.

Acknowledging the frustration of the Kenyan people, Ruto began by promising to improve his listening skills, although some critics accused him of evading certain questions.

The President faced tough inquiries regarding his government’s perceived lack of empathy, unfulfilled promises, arrogance, disregard for constitutional rights, and accountability issues.

In response, Ruto defended his administration’s efforts, citing examples like disaster relief during floods, the implementation of the hustler fund, and agricultural subsidies. He committed to upholding the rule of law and increasing allocations for the Judiciary.

The session highlighted sensitive issues such as the recent police shootings during anti-tax protests and allegations of arbitrary arrests, which Ruto acknowledged as troubling.

He vowed to discipline rogue officers and expressed regret over incidents of police excesses.

Addressing demands from protesters, including defunding certain government offices, Ruto faced accusations on social media that accountability remained elusive. Nevertheless, he pledged to address police misconduct and corruption within his administration, promising to dismiss any officials implicated in graft.

Despite calls for a cabinet overhaul, Ruto defended his decision to retain most ministers while hinting at forthcoming changes.

He denied accusations of dishonesty but acknowledged instances of arrogance among his allies, promising better public engagement.

Ruto defended controversial bills like the Finance Bill, arguing they were misrepresented and would benefit the country economically. He also outlined plans to enhance healthcare and other critical sectors.

The President faced scrutiny over his influence in Parliament, asserting both its independence and his role in appointing key figures.

Critics have accused him of exerting undue influence over legislative decisions, a claim he refuted while acknowledging his strategic engagements with lawmakers.

Throughout the meeting, Ruto navigated a delicate balance between defending his administration’s record and addressing public dissatisfaction, promising continued dialogue and reform efforts moving forward.