Kenya’s William Ruto reflects the new generation of African leaders!

Kenya’s president, William Ruto, is winding up his state visit to the United States even as we go to press (May 27). He holds a doctorate in Biology, speaks with ease four languages and moves from Swahili, his native Kalenjin, to English and Kikuyu with ease.

Kenya’s president, William Ruto, is winding up his state visit to the United States even as we go to press (May 27). He holds a doctorate in Biology, speaks with ease four languages and moves from Swahili, his native Kalenjin, to English and Kikuyu with ease.

I remember very well the first state visit of Kenya’s president Arap Moi in 1983 and the wisdom he had inherited from Kenya’s father of the nation Jomo Kenyatta. “Now, don’t remind the Americans of their support for colonialism. Tell them how generous they have been to small nations and how you hope their co-operation will benefit people of Kenya.” Mzee (the Wise one) had advised.

Speaking at the Carter Center, Atlanta, Ruto reminded the Americans that “the Cater Center reflects our own values and governance principles, highlighting the common heritage that unites Kenya and the United States, in our strategic partnership of shared objectives centered on human well-being, security, and dignity.”

In the audience was Meg Whitman, US ambassador to Kenya, whose admiration for Ruto is well known. Ruto had decided to post his flag with that of the US. There are so many things the US can do with the stroke of a pen.

The US is a powerful country, and president Joe Biden, caught in a desperate attempt to win black votes, is willing to go the extra mile.

“Our independence benefited from the loyal support of the celebrated American progressive leaders…evident in the contributions of American jurist Thurgood Marshall (a black) who helped in the writing of our first Constitution.”

Ruto was speaking to a very mixed audience, comprising Kenya’s diaspora and progressive forces from the five black colleges around Clark University Center.

“I will limit my speech to three things (Watatu).” He said. Laughter. The saints among them shouted Amens. In any great assembly that involves black Americans, their sense of the supreme being finds an expression in religious terms.

Kenya spends more than US$1 billion in food imports. Self-sufficiency in agriculture is therefore his first order of business. Within one year of inauguration, Kenya is on its way to self-sufficiency in maize production. As an aside, Ruto rises to the level of Africa’s “new leadership team” with Paul Kagame of Rwanda in their overthrow of the victim mentality.

There are many Asian countries, he alluded to, which have overcome their colonial legacy. “It is about leadership”.

Americans found him a breadth of fresh air in his recognition that an open society, “committed to accountability and transparency, with robust engagement of civil society organisations serves as a catalyst for progress.”

Zimbabwe can learn a few lessons from Kenya.

My family, has for the last five years, approached the Salvation Army, the Chiweshe District Council, and the member of parliament in Mazowe District with the aim of building an elementary school. Six-year old’s walk ten kilometers to Nyachuru School.

We have failed to cut through the Zanu PF labyrinth.

I spent the whole of December 2023 in Masai land as a guest of Archbishop Manasseh Mankuleyo. The Bishop’s wife built an elementary school in her village for which she sought my support.

The parents of the learners came together under a Harambee and helped put up some buildings.

I did not witness any Zanu PF asking stupid questions and harassing the Harambees.

Kenyan diaspora requested that Ruto raise the issue of free educational exchanges with US educational institutions. Ruto already had this on his calendar. “Starting with the historical student airlifted programme, initiated by President John F. Kennedy (1960) hundreds of Kenyans students” studied at US institutions. He said.

Ruto promised to raise this issue with Biden. Already Kenyans have a teacher and medical doctors internship exchange program with the US. That can vastly be expanded as the US suffers from shortage of teachers and rural medical personnel.

Zimbabwe can learn from Kenya.

Kenya has entered into labor contracts with 18 countries including Germany. The advantage of a labor contract is that immigrant workers are in certain cases exempt from local income and social security taxes in their host countries. These savings can be remitted to Kenya as part of their retirement package when they return.

. Gideon Gono had some very innovative ideas along these lines. His failure lay in the fact that any money deposited in Zimbabwean banks erodes in value and can actually disappear.

When I returned to Zimbabwe in 2019, I owed Barclays Bank over 60 000 Zee dollars in bank charges even though my monthly deposits had been untouched in two years.

Ruto is aware of this great evil. He assured the diasporas’ that their savings will be safe both from bank theft and value erosion.

Rule of law

Ruto is in sync with progressive thinking in that a free society and a native population that confesses ownership of actions done in their name will develop faster than a restrictive society. “The fight against corruption is a fundamental imperative.” Ruto said.

At the same time, the police are employed to facilitate peaceful goings on of citizens. During my stay in Masai land, I traveled 700 miles along the Cairo to Cape interstate throughway. We were stopped only once and the police wanted to know if we had been bothered by anybody in our travel.

In Zimbabwe, a journey half that would have involved at least ten police roadblocks.  Zimbabwe highway police are more interested in harassing motorists in the hope of “generating gifts” (Zimbabwe English).

The coolest cat

In American black English, Ruto was the coolest black cat I have seen in so many years apart from Paul Kagame. Stop blaming white people and colonialism for all your problems. Ask yourself the question. If Africa is blessed with so many resources, and we really don’t need anything that God has not already given us, why are we in the predicament we are today?

PS: Ruto was also lionised by Congressional Black Caucus who welcomed with tears in their eyes his invitation for them “to return home.” No visas required.

*Ken Mufuka is a Zimbabwean patriot. He can be reached at [email protected]. He writes from the US.

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