First daughter’s whirlwind tours raise eyebrows

Monday, November 14th, 2022 03:30 | By
First daughter’s whirlwind tours raise eyebrows

President William Ruto’s third born daughter Charlene Chelagat Ruto has captured the nation’s attention following a series of highly publicised public engagements in recent weeks.

The events, local and abroad, have generated debate on social media about the role of the first daughter, considering that the children of past four presidents rarely operated in public limelight.

Kenyans on Twitter have questioned why Charlene seems to be meeting many government officials and taking foreign trips.

In the months since her father was elected president, Charlene has met several county officials across the country.

Similar concerns were raised when former US President Donald Trump was first elected and his daughter Ivanka attended meetings with her father as an unofficial advisor. Trump later appointed Ivanka to an official government role.

Last Thursday, Charlene sent tongues wagging when she took to Twitter to announce that she had held a meeting with Morocco’s Youth minister, Mohammed Mehdi, for a “conversation and exchange of ideas that will go a long way in shaping youth development projects for both nations”.

“As young African leaders, we need to understand our countries’ political systems so that we may inject positive change through various bilateral avenues. We loved our time of sharing with the young parliamentarians of the Moroccan government,” she tweeted.

She added: “Strengthening bilateral relations between 2 fast growing African Economies keen on empowering the youth is a huge trajectory to achieving set milestones. The gentle shove to kick-starting national progress goes a long way.”

Locally, Charlene has been on a charm offensive, holding meetings with county officials, including governors.

Last week, she held talks with top county officials in Embu, Kirinyaga, Isiolo and Kitui, eliciting conversation on social media as Kenyans expressed curiosity on the objective of the visits.

Charlene also toured Tharaka Nithi County Assembly offices in Chuka town on Friday morning.

She also paid a courtesy call on Isiolo Deputy Governor James Lowasa in Isiolo town where they engaged in discussions on mitigating climate change effects.

Among the interventions proposed at the meeting, which was also attended by County Trade Chief Officer Lucy Kaburu, was a mass tree-planting drive.

“A tree planting exercise shall be conducted in December along with another follow-up engagement with various stakeholders,” Charlene wrote on Twitter.

She also visited Kirinyaga and Embu counties, taking the residents by surprise, saying she was keen on seeing counties grow for the benefit of all Kenyans.

“The progress of counties is the progress of Kenya,” she said.

In Embu, she held a meeting with the Governor Cecily Mbarire.

Charlene, who is a Director at the Weston Hotel on Lang’ata Road, held high-level meetings centered on tourism, agriculture, youth empowerment and climate change.

During a meeting with Kirinyaga Deputy Governor David Githanda, she hailed Governor Anne Waiguru, for spearheading devolution.

“Kirinyaga County is ripe for investment in hospitality areas and value addition of crops such as tomatoes.

However, what caught the attention of many is when she hinted at doing business with counties. This is after she advertised some businesses through her social media platforms.

Unsolicited advice

She has also held meetings with Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja among other senior county officials.

Commenting on the meetings, prominent social media influencer Pauline Njoroge stated: “See, I don’t know what these meetings between Charlene and the governors or their deputies entail. But if I was to give unsolicited advice to our young sister, I would tell her to do them behind closed doors and away from cameras. It might seem ok now, but the evidence of these meetings might come to bite later.”

Another blogger, Mumbi Gitonga, took to Facebook to comment on the meetings: “This government is being run by the 1st family Even the first lady has been meeting officials in the state house I don’t know which capacity is but we will see wonders.”

 A month ago, she attended a function where a South African airline was launching its office in Kenya after its exit from the Kenyan market owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reports then indicated that she had attended as a representative of Weston Hotel, a facility linked to her father.

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