Inside President Ruto's diary that has 'no off days'

Finance Bill

President William Ruto signing the Finance Bill, 2023 to law at State House, Nairobi on June 26. 

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It is not just his Cabinet that is feeling the full weight of his modus operandi, his communications team has not spared either.
  • A look at the last 14 days shows a president who is busy attending local and foreign meetings, as well as participating in party activities.

For many people who have worked with him, President William Ruto has a strict work ethic that they struggle to cope up with.

Like an athlete running a marathon, Dr Ruto's diary runs non-stop. He has not been seen taking breaks, with his schedules not respecting public holidays or weekends.

It is not just his Cabinet that is feeling the full weight of his modus operandi, his communications team has not spared either.

The team has had to split into groups to keep informing the public, at least to accord themselves some time off the grind.

A look at the last 14 days, for example, shows a president who is busy attending local and foreign meetings, as well as participating in party activities.

From October 6 to 9, the president toured the Nyanza region, where he launched projects, addressed political rallies and held crucial night meetings at the Kisumu State Lodge. 

William Ruto

President William Ruto with Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga and Cabinet Secretary for ICT and Digital Economy Eliud Owalo during a working tour in Homa Bay County on October 7, 2023.

Photo credit: PCS

Sources who attended the meetings said they went late into the night and the Head of State was up very early to begin his busy day's programme, which included helicopter rides and mile-long road trips.

On October 11, the President attended the passing out parade of Kenya Forest Service recruits in Gilgil, Nakuru County, and later held a stakeholders' meeting with milk processors at Nakuru State Lodge.

The following day, he attended the Turkana Cultural and Tourism Festival in Lodwar Town and on 13 October, the Africa 2023 Manufacturing Expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

President William Ruto

President William Ruto during the Turkana Cultural and Tourism Festival in Lodwar town.

Photo credit: PCS

On the same day, the Head of State met the Director General of the International Organisation for Migration at State House.

He then attended the Kenya Defence Forces Day celebrations in Embakasi Nairobi on October 14, before flying to China for four days for the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and other engagements.

The Head of State returned to the country in time for the signing of the Universal Health Care Bill ahead of the Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kericho on Friday.

On the day of signing the Bills, most of those who had accompanied him to Beijing took a day off to nurse jetlag.

Ruto Health Laws

President William Ruto affixes the public seal during the assent of the Universal Health Coverage Bills as his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha (right), Attorney General Justin Muturi (2nd right), and other stakeholders watch at State House, Nairobi on October 19, 2023. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

Instead of taking a break on Saturday like other public servants, President Ruto hosted the visiting Angolan Head of State Joao Lourenco for bilateral talks.

Dr Ruto, who fashions himself as a hustler, seems to give himself no opportunity to rest until he gets things done. 

His frequent trips abroad have been criticized with some saying he has overshot the travel budget at a time the economy is on a recession.

By June this year, the president had travelled to 21 countries, some more than once, since he took office on 13 September 2022.

But his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, has defended him, saying the trips were not for holidays or picnics, but meant to boost the country’s economy.

Gachagua defends Ruto's foreign trips

Those who can’t cope appear to be struggling. Recently, the President locked out Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries who were late for the signing of performance contracts at State House in Nairobi.

During the swearing-in of CSs, Dr Ruto did not mince words, telling the spouses of his Cabinet members that their partners may sleep at the office or come home very late due to their demanding nature of the jobs that they were about to take up. 

When he is not in office launching projects or on his countrywide tours, the Head of State is attending church services like today in Dagoreti.

William Ruto

President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto are received at the Great Hall of the People during a State banquet hosted by President Xi Jinping for visiting Heads of State and government in Beijing, China, on October 17, 2023.

Photo credit: PCS

He appears to have taken a leaf out of the book of his political mentor, the late President Daniel arap Moi, who was seen attending church services every Sunday.

In fact, during his recent tour of Nyanza region, his handlers ensured that a church service was organised and held at the Kisumu State Lodge compound.

At just 56, age appears to favour the President who seems to be relishing the demanding nature of his job that comes along with much travel to get work done.