Kenya’s ‘first daughter’ denies use of government money

Following a national outcry, the Kenyan president’s daughter has denied that public money is being used to fund what she calls the “Office of the First Daughter”.

Since her father’s inauguration in September, Ms. Ruto has held several high-profile events and gatherings under the title.

There is no such office in Kenyan law.

Many Kenyans have expressed anger online at her engagements and asked who is funding them.

Some have described her as one low budget version of Ivanka [Trump]”who regularly attended political functions while her father Donald Trump was president of the US.

Some have nicknamed her Quickmart Ivanka, referring to a cheap Kenyan supermarket.

But Mrs. Ruto doesn’t seem too upset and tweeted a video of herself smiling, as he walked through the supermarket chain.

Ms. Ruto has met with leaders across the country and attended international forums with foreign dignitaries since her father William became president.

In a video widely shared online, Ms Ruto can be seen speaking to an audience at a summit in Tanzania, where she introduces her “team from Kenya”, including her advisor and another who is the “head of trade and investment is with the Office of the First Daughter”.

The audience seems to respond loudly with clapping and some laughter.

“I don’t get what’s funny,” Mrs. Ruto replies as she tries to continue with the introductions.

She became one of the top Twitter trends in Kenya on Wednesday when people asked if she was using taxpayers’ money.

She responded with a statement saying: “The office of the first daughter is a private entity. It is not a constitutional office nor is it funded by the Kenyan taxpayer.”

She goes on to explain that her “office” has an “independent structure and facilitators” and praises her “aims to champion youth-based agendas and climate change advocacy.”

Communications strategist Mark Bichachi told the BBC: “If it’s a private entity why call it that? Use a private name, which is linked to her father being president.”

While political commentator Daisy Amdany said Ms Ruto was “within her right” to do whatever she wanted but warned she should be careful about the image she portrays: “It offends the public that her father went through [a] platform of ending dynasties and it seems they want to establish dynasties, I don’t think it’s okay.

Ruto won August’s election against Raila Odinga, the son of a former vice president, who was backed by outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta, himself the son of Kenya’s first leader.

“She probably means well, but it doesn’t come across well,” Ms Amdany continued.

Ms. Ruto herself has said that some comments about her were “hurtful” but that she knows she is doing the right thing to help Kenyan youth.

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