The turbulence in Prezzo Ruto's US travel just got worse, could crash-land

President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during the National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

For a man who has been on the move ceaselessly, Prezzo Bill Ruto cut a clean and sharp figure on Thursday morning, when he appeared at the annual national prayer breakfast. He wasn’t haggard or jet-lagged, after his gruelling trips overseas. I suppose that’s what happens when one travels in the comfort of a luxury “Hustler” jet.

The breakfast ritual doesn’t mean Kenyans get to eat together; actually many of our compatriots had nothing at all, as they watched the politicos eat their fill at our expense in a banquet beamed on national TV. A display of opulence in a sea of want.

I suppose that’s what gnawed at Prezzo Ruto as he addressed the nation. “When I saw the debate in Kenya,” he started, “As to how I travelled to the US…” There was a gaggle of good-natured laughter in the audience; when one has a full belly early in the morning, it’s healthy to find some outlet.

Prezzo’s fingers tapped at the lectern; he was nervous. He glanced from side to side, then steadied himself by grabbing the lectern firmly, even as his body shifted. When things are as fluid as they are on the ground, it’s reasonably difficult to stand still.

“And there were all manner of figures,” Prezzo Ruto said, tilting his head at different angles, before flailing his arms to gesture at the imagined size of the luxury jet and the estimated leasing costs: “This plane is this big and it is like this, Google here, Google there…this one must have costed Sh200m…”

He steadied his pose. “You know, I am a very responsible steward,” he declared. There was a hint of a smile and a vital discovery of a dimple! Wow, I had no idea our Prezzo had a dimple, perhaps because he doesn’t smile enough. But it didn’t last.

“There is no way,” he shook his head furiously, a scowl spreading across his face. “I can spend Sh200m. There is no way.”

Well, that’s arguable. He’s been trying to spend a lot more of our taxes on junior ministers that our katiba outlawed, and he’s been fighting tooth and nail to restore them to office.

“In fact, let me disclose here,” he wagged a finger, looked down at his notes then fidgeted and shifted about. “It costed the Republic of Kenya less than Sh10m.” There was a pause, another shift, and a gesture towards his temple, before starting an awkward explanation that tangled him into further mire. “Because, I am not a mad man...”

Alright, alright, nobody, as far I am aware, insinuated that, but let’s evaluate his lucid explanation. Prezzo Ruto licked his lip for the umpteenth time, then looked to his notes again. When one is enacting a performance, it’s best to stick to the script.

This is verbatim: “When I was told the cheapest eeeeee plane was Sh70m, I told my office, go book Kenya Airways. Yeah? So, when some friends of mine heard that eeeeee I was going to travel Kenya Airways, and eeeeeee we have built a big reputation as a country…We have built friends, some friends told me: ‘How much do you want to pay?’ I said: I’m not ready to pay more than Sh20m. They said, ‘bring 10m and we will give you the plane.”’

Mmhhhh. Kenya Airways isn’t fit to deliver our Prezzo to the U.S. of A, his friends told him. And he believed them perhaps because external validation is more important than our sovereignty and national pride. The pressing question: Who are these unnamed friends of Prezzo Ruto and why do they wield so much influence on him?

To whom did Prezzo Ruto declare this gift, especially as it was going to be used in the discharge of his official duty as Prezzo of the Republic of Kenya? And why is our Prezzo so beholden to the unnamed friends, that he acquiesced to their offer of a luxury jet from another country for some undisclosed consideration?

If others are changa-ing to deliver our Head of State to Washington, things are elephant, I tell you!