Your online freedom is assured, Ruto to Kenyans

President-elect William Ruto at the Bomas of Kenya on Auguest 15, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

President-elect William Ruto has assured Kenyans that his government won’t curtail freedom of speech or expression.

Addressing journalists at his Karen residence, Nairobi after presiding over the Kenya Kwanza elected leaders’ caucus on Wednesday, August 17, Ruto said Kenyans “can resume using WhatsApp and normal phone network without worrying that their conversations will be tapped”.

“I can assure you that [when I get sworn into office], you’d go back to using your phone normally. There won’t be any need to use WhatsApp [which has been encrypted end-to-end]. Blackmail, intimidation and threats have come to an end,” he said.

“Our administration won’t stop you from speaking to so and so because they have a different political opinion from yours.”

The outgoing deputy president told Kenyans they’ll be free to speak on “anyone and everything”, both online and offline, provided the remarks are made responsibly.

Independent candidates tapped

Ruto has tapped at least eight independent candidates who won parliamentary seats in the August 9, 2022 General Election.

The eight met other Kenya Kwanza elected leaders at the outgoing deputy president’s residence in Karen, Nairobi on Wednesday, August 17.

Ruto said that the caucus, which he convened to set house rules and chart a way forward, was attended by 163 MPs-elect, 24 senators-elect and at least 22 governors-elect.

“We also have eight independent candidates here with us today and another two, who were not in a position to join us. Out of the 12 independent candidates in the National Assembly, ten are allied to Kenya Kwanza,” said Ruto.

The president-elect said they’d already made a decision on who to second to the transition committee ahead of change of administration.

Leaders present at the ceremony include Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, Amason Kingi, Alfred Mutua, Justin Muturi, Moses Kuria, Mwangi Kiunjuri and blacklisted former Governor of Nairobi County Mike Sonko.