• Since her father assumed office in September, she has received much publicity for meeting various high-profile personalities.
• The public meetings have seen a huge retinue of state protocol and security courtesies accorded to her.
A comment by President William Ruto’s daughter Charlene Ruto that she runs an office of the first daughter has elicited diverse reactions.
The backlash from the comment contained in a now-viral video saw her release a statement on Wednesday, explaining that her office was a private entity not funded by the taxpayer.
The third-born daughter of Ruto said she was using the title to run her own things including engaging different stakeholders as part of the objectives of the office—pushing for youth-based agendas and climate change advocacy.
"The Office of the First Daughter has at all times acted in good faith to ensure that the Kenyan youth has a voice and gets access to opportunities for sustainable livelihoods," the statement said.
Since her father assumed office in September, she has received much publicity for meeting various high-profile personalities.
The public meetings have seen a huge retinue of state protocol and security courtesies accorded to her.
For example, in late October she visited Isiolo Deputy Governor James Lowasa at his office in Isiolo town where she said they held talks on effects of global warming on the country.
During the same period, she also visited Kirinyaga county where she met the county’s deputy governor David Githanda.
At the centre of her meetings was “investment in areas of hospitality and value addition of crops such as tomatoes.”
“It was a pleasure sitting and sharing on these matters with the Deputy Governor H.E. David Githanda. The progression of our counties is the progression of our countries,” she later tweeted.
Not long after that, she met Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire at her office before touring Tharaka Nithi County Assembly offices in Chuka.
“I was so honoured today to spend some time with one of the most effective female leaders in our country, Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire and Deputy Governor Kinyua Mugo. They are putting in serious measures to create niche tourism areas in Embu county and its environs,” she tweeted after the meeting.
She met the governor wearing a Weston hotel branded tshirt, in what observers opine she could be marketing her father’s hotel to the friendly counties.
On October 28, 2022, she also emerged in a meeting with Kitui county speaker Kelvin Katisya at 7am.
Earlier in October, Charlene got accompanied by youthful politicians in paying a courtesy call to Ghana Infrastructure Investments Fund officials.
She explained that the meeting was to discuss “how Ghana and Kenya can learn from each other in strengthening investments”.
Pundits raise diverse view with some supportive and others critical of her moves.
Lawyer Danstan Omari dismissed her office as non-existent and that she was just excited for being the daughter of a president.
"Nowhere in the statute or in any constitutional provision does such an office exist. We take it that she was excited by identifying that she is the daughter of the president," he said.
However, Omari said that Charlene can take any title despite it not being in the constitution because it is a title for self-actualisation.
"Kenyans should not take offence about a young girl who is feeling good so long as audit queries don’t arise one day," he said.
On his part, Javas Bigambo had earlier told the press that Kenyans should not expect state officers —including presidents —would operate independent of the family members.
“Their trips should not be over-philosophised or put on a microscopic moral indignation that denies the leaders their sense of social being,” Bigambo had told Nation.
Monicah Waweru is supportive of Charlene, saying that may be the title of the office she gave was a non-governmental body.