Contrary to the campaign press release, so far there is no evidence indicating Deputy President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza delegation held a meeting at the White House, the Pentagon, or the U.S. National security council.
In a press release before he departed from Kenya, Ababu Namwamba, who is Ruto’s head of International relations, said the D.P. was honoring invitations from senior government officials and top policy institutes in Washington D.C. and London.
Namwamba did not name the officials who invited Ruto or scheduled to meet.
A second press release from the Ruto campaign implied Ruto held a meeting at the White House.
“Kenya’s Deputy President Dr. William Ruto and former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi led a delegation that was hosted at the White House in Washington DC today, in a closed-door meeting where issues of strategic partnership between U.S.A. and Kenya were discussed,” Ruto Campaign Communication Director, Hussein Mohamed, tweeted.
A look at the White House official calendar in the duration Ruto visited Washington D.C. doesn’t mention meetings with the D.P. Neither the campaign nor the White House has produced photos or videos showing a meeting.
On March 3rd, the date Mohamed’s press release said Ruto was to attend a meeting at the White House, Biden’s official schedule shows the President and the First Lady Jill Biden took a whole day trip to Duluth, Minnesota, departing at 10.15 a.m. and returning to D.C. at 7.45 p.m.
It’s unlikely Biden met with Ruto before his departure or upon his return at 7.45 p.m.
It’s also unlikely Ruto met with Vice President Kamala Harris, his counterpart in the U.S. Media reports indicate Harris was away from D.C. visiting Durham Community College in North Carolina, to talk-up the Biden-Harris administration agenda.
A video released on Twitter purporting to show Ruto arriving for a meeting at the White House ends prematurely as he and his team arrive at a security check.
The video also shows Ruto entering The Eisenhower Executive building, adjacent to the White House, a strange detour for someone headed to a meeting at the White House.
Ruto campaign communication director Hussein Mohamed added to the confusion.
“Kenya’s Deputy President Dr. William Ruto and former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi led a delegation that was hosted at the White House in Washington DC today, in a closed-door meeting where issues of strategic partnership between U.S.A. and Kenya were discussed,” Mohamed, a former T.V. host, tweeted.
Kenya’s Deputy President Dr. William Ruto & former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi led a delegation that was hosted at the White House in Washington DC today, in a closed door meeting where issues of strategic partnership between U.S.A & Kenya were discussed, including… pic.twitter.com/gpAmmxjC21
— Hussein Mohamed, MBS. (@HusseinMohamedg) March 4, 2022
Kenyans on Twitter are skeptical that Ruto held a meeting with U.S. government officials at the White House. They have mocked Mohamed’s video as a desperate attempt to feign clout and claim some street cred.
Veteran Kenyan journalist David Makali questioned the veracity of Mohamed’s statement.
“Which meeting is this that has only the identities of the visiting delegation and none of the hosts, ama they were hosted by the building? Aaai,” Makali said on Twitter.
Memes of Ruto in the company of U.S. President Joe Biden have flooded social media and shared widely in Kenyan WhatsApp forums. One meme depicts Ruto sitting on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, coyly laughing while holding a book, with a masked Biden standing stoically next to him.
Ruto is on a 10-day tour in the U.S. and the U.K.
In the U.S. leg of his trip, Ruto visited a church in Baltimore, Maryland, where supporters dressed in U.D.A. yellow and green outfits gave him a warm welcome.
He also gave a speech at Loyola University, Maryland, sat for two interviews with the Voice Of America, and discussed issues surrounding his presidential ambitions and vision with the Center For Strategic International Studies.
In a strange twist for a sitting Deputy President, Ruto fashioned himself as the opposition leader, taking veiled attacks on President Uhuru Kenyatta, and attacked the government on foreign soil. He also said the August 9th elections would be rigged to prevent him from winning the presidency.
While the Ruto campaign has created an impression the D.P. met with multiple U.S. government officials, it has only produced photos with Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Molly Phee.
We have reached out to the Deputy President and Mohamed to find out who they met with, but we have not heard back.