President Ruto Faces Criticism and Apologizes in X Space Debate Amid Protests

Kenya’s President William Ruto engaged in a heated debate on X Spaces, addressing widespread protests and issues of police brutality following demonstrations against a controversial finance bill. Here are the key highlights from the discussion:

Key Points:

  • Apology for Police Brutality: President Ruto apologized for incidents of police brutality during the protests and promised to investigate and hold accountable those responsible.
  • Withdrawal of Finance Bill: Acknowledging the protests’ impact, Ruto confirmed the withdrawal of the finance bill, which aimed to increase taxes to alleviate Kenya’s substantial debt burden.
  • Debate Content: The X Space session, dubbed #EngageThePresident, drew over 150,000 listeners. Participants openly criticized Ruto, accusing him of lacking empathy and questioning his leadership.
  • Policy Changes: In response to the protests, Ruto announced significant austerity measures, including the dissolution of redundant state corporations, suspensions on new vehicle purchases for officials, and cuts in government spending.
  • Calls for Accountability: Amid calls for his resignation and justice for slain protesters, Ruto pledged to address grievances seriously and ensure accountability for security forces’ actions.
  • Personal Engagement: Despite technical difficulties and delays, Ruto engaged directly with participants, adopting a more conciliatory tone and promising to learn from the session’s feedback.
  • Future Engagement: Expressing a commitment to more empathetic leadership, Ruto concluded the session early to meet with Kenya’s Olympic team but expressed a desire to conduct more such interactions in the future.

The X Space debate marked a significant moment of public accountability for President Ruto amidst ongoing civil unrest and demands for governmental transparency and responsiveness.

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