Ruto: 'Friends of Kenya' paid for my jet to the US, it only cost Kenya Sh10m

Jet for my US trip cost Kenya less than Sh10 million, says President Ruto

President William Ruto now says his chartered jet for the recent US trip cost taxpayers less than Sh10 million after some "friends of Kenya" co-sponsored the trip when he offered to travel on Kenya Airways.

He did not disclose the identity of the friends.

Speaking during the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, the Head of State dismissed claims that he spent more than Sh200 million on the historic trip.

"People have given all manner of figures...that the plane cost Sh 200 million because the president needed to arrive in style holding Rachel's hand. You know I'm a very responsible citizen, believe me, there is no way I can spend Sh200 million. In fact, let me disclose here that it cost the Republic of Kenya less than Sh10 million," he said.

President William Ruto waves goodbye to his deputy Rigathi Gachagua and other leaders as he departs for America at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday.

Photo credit: DPCS

The Head of State said he informed his office to book him on Kenya Airways when he was told that the cheapest chartered flight would cost Sh70 million.

'Some of my friends'

"When some of my friends heard that I was going to travel on Kenya Airways, they asked me how much I was ready to pay and said not more than Sh 20 million, they told me to pay only Sh10 million to get the plane," he disclosed.

He said he had to lead from the front in asking Kenyans to tighten their belts and live within their means.

Earlier, he defended his decision to charter the private jet to the United States of America, insisting it was the cheapest option.

The president said his choice of the Boeing 737-700 business jet operated by Royal Jet of Dubai was cheaper at $748,600 (Sh98 million) one way.

"I have noted concerns about my mode of transport to USA. As a responsible steward of public resources and in keeping with my determination for us to live within our means and that I should lead from the front in so doing, the cost was less than travelling on KQ," the President posted on his X account, formerly Twitter.

His response came as Azimio leaders led by Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka questioned the logic behind his call for Kenyans to "cut their coats according to their cloth".

"It doesn't matter what the President brings back to the country. The Sh200 million is not pocket change. This is pure wastage," said Mr Musyoka.