Kenyans and Africans have expressed disbelief and disapproval over the recent announcement by the daughter of Kenyan’s president over the existence of the ‘office of first daughter.’
Critics believe that if the ideology is not killed in its tracks, it would be a matter of time before children of presidents across the continent will begin to adopt the term – which they say is unconstitutional and can be an avenue of corruption and embezzlement.
Those who frowned against the announcement of Charlene Ruto, the second daughter of President William Ruto of Kenya, that there exists an office of the first daughter believe that Africans in the continent and in the diaspora must stand up against the move.
They claim that the continent is already suffering from what some have classified as the unconstitutional office of the first lady, which invokes powers on the wife of the president – who is not recognized by law.
Similarly, there were reports from Nigeria earlier in the month over the order to arrest, assault, and detain a Nigerian student by the first lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, over a tweet in which he accused the first lady of fattening on taxpayers’ money.
Kenyans and Africans alike took to social media to express their disbelief and disapproval over the apparent existence of an office of the first daughter, linked to President William Ruto’s second-born daughter.
In a video being shared widely online, Charlene Ruto is seen speaking to an audience at a summit in Tanzania where she introduces her “team from Kenya” including her adviser and another who is the “head of trade and investments at the office of the first daughter”.
Upon hearing the statement, members of the audience who innocently thought the daughter of the president was joking appeared to respond loudly with claps and some laughter.
“I don’t get what is funny,” Ms. Ruto responds as she attempts to continue with the introductions.
Kenyan law does not provide for an office of the first daughter, and there has not been any public announcement of the introduction of such an office.
According to the report, Ms. Ruto has been regularly meeting leaders across the country and attending international forums across 47 countries, where she has been meeting foreign dignitaries since her father became president. The new development has raised questions about the source of the funding for her trip, which she has attended with a team we now know as personnel attached to the office of the first daughter.
The First Daughter of Kenya Responds
In her reaction to the widespread criticism, Charlene Ruto granted an interview to an online media where she tried to clear the air. She revealed that she was working on her foundation, whose main objective is to amplify the voice of the youth.
“A lot of Kenyans have been wondering what I am doing going around counties. What is it exactly? I am not asking anyone to give me a position anywhere. I don’t need any position to do what am doing,” Charlene said.
“That is why I decided to have my own initiative so that I can help the community and Kenyans and really be a voice for our youth… I believe there is a difference between leadership and politics. You can lead without a title in politics, that is why I have taken the path,” she added.
Charlene has also dismissed claims that she was using public funds to move around the country, saying she has her own source of funding.
“Charlene Ruto Foundation has so many donors and sponsors who have come on board, Some are individuals who have come to me. A lot of people in business have also come to me and they have supported the Foundation. Even I have put my resources and my whole team. We are not using any government resources to do our activities.”
She has also revealed that The Charlene Ruto Foundation will be officially launched in early 2023. For now, she says, she is putting functional structures of her foundation in place.
She has also released an official statement on the matter, saying that the Office of the First Daughter is a private entity and was also not being run using the taxpayers’ money.
“The Office of the First Daughter is a private entity. It is neither a constitutional office nor is it being funded by Kenyan taxpayers. The office runs to purely facilitate the activities of and any programs by Ms. Charlene Ruto,” reads the statement.
“The Office of the First Daughter has at all times acted in good faith to ensure that the Kenyan Youth have a voice and get access to opportunities to enable sustainable livelihoods.”
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