President Ruto's response on transport cost to US irks Kenyans online

President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto arrival in Atlanta, Georgia. 

President William Ruto has responded to concerns raised by some Kenyans over his cost of travel to the United States last week.

The president was on a four-day state visit to the United States of America, where he was given a state reception by President Joe Biden.

In a post shared on his personal social media pages on Sunday noon, the president defended his choice of transport to the United States, claiming ‘it was cheaper than Kenya Airways’.

“Fellow Kenyans, I have noted concerns on (sic) my mode of transport to [the] USA. As a responsible steward of public resources and in keeping with my determination for us to live within our means and that I should lead from the front in so doing, the cost was less than travelling [sic] on KQ,” President Ruto’s post on X (formerly X) read.

However, the tweet did not sit right with a section of netizens who criticized the president’s remarks, saying as the head of state, he should lead by marketing the country’s airline.

To others, the president opting for a ‘cheaper’ option was the right decision.

“It sounds like you are saying because of KQ, I hired a private jet over Kshs 200 million. Is KQ the only flight from Nairobi to Atlanta? Wacha Uongo Bwana! [stop lying]. If you wanted to live within your means, your people would have used CheapOair [sic] and you would have found a round ticket to Atlanta for Kshs 120,000 per person.” Anwar Saddat responded.

Another user X user, Boniface G Mwangi says “Exactly. We don't use KQ because it's hell expensive. We'll continue to use Qatar and Emirates to travel in and out of our own country, while we have our own airways but is not even affordable for neither ourselves nor the president. Ironic?”

“So you want to tell us KQ is more expensive for our seating President? We thought you could use KQ to market it,” Master added.

For the better part of last week, President Ruto was under heavy criticism for alleged extravagant spending.

This was after details emerged that the head of state had hired a royal jet from Dubai costing the taxpayers about Sh200m.

The president chartered a luxurious Boeing 737-700 for his United States trip, which came at a cost of at least Sh2.4m per hour previous media reports by KTN News indicated.

However, government spokesman Isaac Mwaura defended the use of the luxury plane, saying the benefits of Ruto’s US visit to Kenyans cannot be compared to transport costs for him and his entourage, which comprises politicians, businesspeople and artists.

Initially, there had been claims that the American government paid for Ruto’s chartered plane.

But Andrew Veveiros, spokesperson for the US embassy in Nairobi, dismissed this saying: “Just to be clear, the United States of America did not pay for President Ruto’s jet to the US.”

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