Ruto: ‘Friends of Kenya’ paid for my jet to the US, it only cost $77,000

Kenya’s President William Ruto says his chartered jet for his recent trip to the United States of America cost taxpayers less than Ksh10 million ($77,000) after some “friends of Kenya” co-sponsored the trip when he offered to travel on the national carrier Kenya Airways.

He did not disclose the identity of the friends.

Speaking during the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, the head of State dismissed claims that he spent more than Ksh200 million ($1.5 million) on the historic trip.

“People have given all manner of figures…that the plane cost Sh200 million because the President needed to arrive in style holding Rachel’s hand. You know I’m a very responsible citizen, believe me, there is no way I can spend Sh200 million. In fact, let me disclose here that it cost the Republic of Kenya less than Sh10 million,” he said.

The head of State said he informed his office to book him on Kenya Airways when he was told that the cheapest chartered flight would cost Ksh70 million ($538,000).

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Kenyan President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto arrive in Washington, D.C. in the United States of America on May 22, 2024 during the historic visit. PCS

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‘Some of my friends’

“When some of my friends heard that I was going to travel on Kenya Airways, they asked me how much I was ready to pay and said not more than Ksh20 million, they told me to pay only Ksh10 million to get the plane,” he disclosed.

He said he had to lead from the front in asking Kenyans to tighten their belts and live within their means.

Earlier, he defended his decision to charter the private jet to the US, insisting it was the cheapest option.

The President said his choice of the Boeing 737-700 business jet operated by Royal Jet of Dubai was cheaper at $748,600 (Ksh98 million) one way.

“I have noted concerns about my mode of transport to 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 on KQ,” the President posted on his X account, formerly Twitter.

His response came as opposition Azimio leaders led by Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka questioned the logic behind his call for Kenyans to “cut their coats according to their cloth”.

“It doesn’t matter what the President brings back to the country. The Ksh200 million is not pocket change. This is pure wastage,” said Mr Musyoka.

Source:  The East African

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