What’s in a photo? Kenyans debate protocol as Ruto, Uhuru meet

William Ruto Uhuru Kenyatta

In the picture, President William Ruto is flanked on his left side his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye, among other leaders.

Photo credit: PCS

It could be a photo taken in 2016 at the height of the Jubilee administration bromance.

In the picture, President Uhuru Kenyatta is flanked on either side by his deputy William Ruto and visiting Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye.

Also on the photo are Jubilee Majority Leader Aden Duale and chairman of the Council of Governors Josephat Nanok, among others.

But no, the photo was taken on Monday, November 29, 2022, at the Safari Park Hotel and Dr Ruto is the president, Mr Kenyatta the retired president, Mr Duale the Defence Cabinet Secretary and Mr Nanok the deputy chief of staff at State House.

However, Mr Kenyatta is seen walking imposingly in the middle gesturing to President Ndayishimiye with President Ruto on his right.

In another, President Ndayishimiye is pictured in between President Ruto to his right and Mr Kenyatta to his left.

Ruto Uhuru

In another, President Ndayishimiye is pictured in between President Ruto to his right and Mr Kenyatta to his left.

Photo credit: PCS

The photos were taken during the East Africa Community-led talks on the Democratic Republic of Congo peace talks.

The dialogue is being chaired by the EAC Summit chairman and Burundi President Ndayishimiye with Mr Kenyatta as the facilitator, having been appointed by his successor, Dr Ruto.

But what do Kenyans think about the photo?

Breach of (the) protocol

According to Nandi Senator Simon Cherargei, there was a breach of protocol, and President Ruto ought to have been at the centre, while Mr Kenyatta should be at the periphery.

“Breach of (the) protocol. President William Ruto should be in the middle next to President Evariste Ndayishimiye & the Congo special Peace envoy Uhuru should be at the periphery. That's international dictates of the Presidential protocols,” Senator Cherargei tweeted.

Mutahi Ngunyi, former technical advisor to Mr Kenyatta argued that President Ruto deliberately humbled himself to allow his former boss to be at the centre of the event.

“Who is the BIGGER man in these photos? Uhuru or Ruto? I say Ruto. This man has GRACE. He CLIMBED down to allow his former boss to SHINE. This is STATESMANSHIP. (Deputy President Rigathi) Gachagua would have WALKED in front of Uhuru,” Mr Ngunyi claimed.

Pauline Njoroge, who worked closely under Mr Kenyatta’s communication team also felt that the photo tells a lot about the two.

“This picture speaks volumes. Students of power, mnaweza fafanua zaidi (You may explain),” she posted.

However, Kenyan lawyer Miguna Miguna believes that the photo was taken when both Mr Kenyatta and President Ruto were walking down a raised pathway, as others are to the side or behind.

President Ruto and his Aide de Camp as well as other top government leaders were, however, behind him.

This was the first time that President Ruto and Mr Kenyatta shared a platform after the latter handed over power in November after a bitterly fought presidential election.

In the election, Mr Kenyatta supported Dr Ruto’s main challenger Raila Odinga of the Azimio coalition party.


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