‘It cost the republic of Kenya less than Ksh10 million’ – Ruto on Ksh200M royal jet

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 30 May, 2024 11:06 | 3 mins read
President William Ruto and First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto arriving in Washngton DC. PHOTO/PCS
President William Ruto and First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto arriving in Washngton DC. PHOTO/PCS

President William Ruto has yet again addressed the controversy surrounding the cost of his 4-day trip to the United States, asserting that the expenses were far lower than insinuated.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel on Thursday, May 30, 2024, the head of State claimed that his flight cost Ksh10 million contrary to claims that he spent a whooping Ksh200 million for the presidential flight.

"You know when I saw the debate in Kenya as to how I travelled to the US. There were all manners of figures, that 'this plane is this size, it's like this, google it. This must have cost Ksh200 million, because the president needed to arrive in style in the US, holding Rachel's hand'. I am a very responsible steward. There is no way I can spend Ksh200 million. Let me disclose here, that it cost the Republic of Kenya less than Ksh10 million," Ruto asserted.

President Ruto disclosed that he chose to fly with Kenya Airways (KQ) rather than selecting a pricier alternative proposed by his office. He mentioned that the initial budget for his US trip was Ksh70 million, which he firmly rejected, opting instead to fly with KQ.

Ruto emphasized his commitment to financial discipline and leading by example to ensure the country operates within its budget. He stated there was no way he would indulge in extravagant travel at the taxpayers' expense.

Additionally, he shared that some friends from Kenya supported him by providing a Ksh10 million plane after insisting that he didn't want to overspend on his flight at the taxpayers' expense.

"I am not a mad man, when I was told the cheapest plane is Ksh70 million, I told my office to go book Kenya Airways. When my friends heard that I was travelling with Kenya Airways, they asked how much I had, I told them I was not ready to pay more than Ksh20 million, then they said bring Ksh10 million we will give you the plane, look at me Kenyans, I must lead from the front as I tell others to tighten their belts, so relax, and the debate must end, I am that responsible, I must make sure that we tighten our belts, live within our means," Ruto said.

Ruto defends his extravagant trip

On May 26, 2024, the Head of State also addressed claims on his X account regarding his choice of transportation.

He denied allegations that he had opted for a chartered Boeing 737-700 business jet, supposedly valued at Ksh200 million, instead of the traditional presidential jet.

He emphasized that this figure was highly exaggerated and reassured Kenyans of his commitment to the prudent use of national resources.

The president explained that he has made significant cuts to the budget for his office and other government agencies.

"Fellow Kenyans, I have noted concerns about my mode of transport to the 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," Ruto said.

"I think the expenditure on my trip is completely exaggerated. They are actually bordering on ridiculous. I am very careful about the resources that I spend. I have cut down on funding for my office. I have cut down on funding to different government agencies.

"In fact, I have reduced by 30% recurrent expenditure in this budget so that we can accommodate, we can live within our means as I have said, and we can push more resources to the realm of development, to the realm of education, to providing help and doing the things that matter, including cash transfers to citizens. So I am very careful about how the government spends," Ruto added.

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