Ruto stirs storm over 'no single cow in DRC' remark

Deputy President William Ruto during the Kenya Kwanza Alliance political rally at Ilgn'arua in Baringo South on February, 13, 2022.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto has come under sharp criticism over his remarks suggesting insufficient milk production by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

ODM leader Raila Odinga and Kenyan Ambassador to DRC George Masafu expressed their displeasure over the statement and demanded the DP withdraw it.

Ruto on Tuesday stirred an online storm when he alleged that DRC has insufficient milk supply.

The DP made the remarks in Nyeri county where he promised to streamline the milk sector, saying should he be elected president in the August 9 General Election, he will negotiate for a milk market in the DRC.

“In Congo, there are 90 million people, but they don’t have even one cow (for milk production). I am talking about DRC, where there are very many known Rhumba musicians, including Kanda Bongo Man,” said Ruto.

In a statement yesterday, Raila described the remarks as a manifestation of reckless lack of vision and foresight and a “pathetic failure to see where opportunities abound for Kenya.”

He described DRC as a friendly nation that every visionary leader would want to keep.

“The attack by the DP was unwarranted and very shortsighted. The DP must own up and apologise to the government and the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Raila.

He recalled an agreement signed by the two countries in April last year to promote economic, technical, scientific and socio-cultural cooperation.

“We equally respect the DRC as an upcoming member of the East African Community, whose entry will be a game-changer for the region,” he said.

Separately, Dr Masafu has written to Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry protesting the remarks attributed to the DP.

“The Kenya Embassy wishes to reiterate that the Government and the people of Kenya share a deep and respectful historical relationship with the Government and people of the DRC,” he added.