Charlene Ruto could have chosen to spend money on a glamorous wedding ceremony on the lawns of the State House! Instead, she chose charity and humanitarian causes. Isn’t that laudable? She is a must-welcome to every corner of this country, courtesy of your president.
Our country is a bicameral political hub, and I like it. One moment, the right-wingers criticise the leftists for a peck in the eye, and the next moment, a log is spinning right in their eyeballs.
We are not even through with Winnie Odinga and Kennedy Musyoka’s controversial nominations to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA); enter Charlene Ruto.
The Azimio brigade used all its intellectual resources to neutralise the harangues from Kenyan Kwanza over Ms Odinga and Mr Musyoka’s EALA nominations. But, before their accusing fingers were back to their palms, Kenya Kwanza was condemned to defend Charlene’s unclear ‘shuttle county-to-county tours’.
Recently, I argued here that the children of our politicians are Kenyans and have the right to demand their space to serve their country, provided they pass the constitutional threshold and are willing to pay the price for their dreams. That is so because the world does not like those who dare to dream, even when we know that success scorns those who are preoccupied with frustrating the dreams of others.
Some Azimio supporters believe that Charlene should not be privileged to use her father’s position to kick-start her future dream. In the same way, Kenya kwanza thought that Winnie and Kennedy should not gain from their fathers’ positioning. I say both sides should get used to how politics work—to those who have, more is added, and to those who do not have, even the little they hold is taken away. Verily I tell you, if you don’t want to welcome Charlene, the next neighbourhood will create her a lodge in their upper chambers.
Every young Kenyan dreams of making it in life, but most lack opportunities. Unlike her agemates, Charlene is privileged; her father is the president—she has the right to exploit that opportunity for her future endeavours. Anyone visionary person would do likewise under similar circumstances.
Most Kenyans fear that Charlene is using taxpayer’s money. While nothing could be far from the truth, being the president’s daughter, there are more interests in her missions than she could ask for. Remember, she has direct contact with your president, her father. So any corporate organisation, county government, interest group and whatnot that wishes to endear themselves to the president can sell all that they have to sponsor a chat with her and tell her, ‘hey, talk good of me to your dad’!
The second perspective is that she is a member of the first family. The first family lives in the State House. They enjoy the privileges due to them. Her father probably said, ‘do you want to get into politics?’ ‘Go out and do something for the people. Ask me whatever you need, and I will provide it’.
So, what can we say? As long as she uses the money for humanitarian purposes on Kenyans, then she is using the money well. She could have chosen to fly to a foreign country and busy herself in other dealings. She could have chosen to get the money and spend it on her advancement, pleasures and party-after-party. I am not saying she is doing any favour to the country - but think about it.
Thirdly, isn’t she using her father’s position to her advantage? Yes! If you were a son or daughter of the president, wouldn’t you do the same? Is it unlawful to stand on the shoulders of your father to succeed? How many children of politicians are nobodies? President Ruto’s daughter has a thousand options, and there is nothing ordinary Kenyans can do.
Dr Ndonye is a senior lecturer in the School of Music and Media at Kabarak University