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We Are Not Nigerians: A Kenyan Response To President William Ruto During An X Space Engagement

 

According to BBC News, President William Ruto made a historic move by participating in a live audio discussion on X Spaces, engaging directly with the public just ten days after deadly anti-government protests. This event, held at State House, marked a significant moment in Kenya’s civic engagement, demonstrating a willingness from the country’s highest office to interact unfiltered with its citizens.

Despite a rocky start with technical difficulties and false starts, the session eventually found its footing. Unexpectedly, the discussion was hosted by Osama Otero, a prominent social media figure known for his role in the successful campaign against a controversial finance bill. This choice sparked controversy and accusations of betrayal among his followers, but it also ensured a candid and challenging dialogue with the president.

The questions from participants were blunt and raw, reflecting the public’s anger and frustration. Issues raised included the government’s response to protests, allegations of police brutality, and the competence of cabinet members. One notable question came from a cameraman named Miller, who emotionally recounted witnessing a protester being shot dead outside parliament. Similarly, Marvin Mabonga, an unemployed university graduate, criticized the perceived incompetence within the cabinet.

Throughout the session, Mr. Otero did not shy away from tough topics, directly questioning the president on the official casualty numbers from the protests and the government’s engagement with the victims’ families. President Ruto responded by challenging the claims and recounting his outreach to the mother of a 12-year-old shot dead during the protests.

This X-Space discussion highlighted the transformative impact of social media in Kenya, providing a platform for citizens to directly address their leaders. Unlike previous leaders, President Ruto embraced this opportunity for unfiltered interaction, a stark contrast to former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who deactivated his X account due to relentless public criticism.

The session, which peaked at 163,000 participants, may seem modest given Kenya’s population of over 56 million, but its significance lies in the amplification of these discussions beyond the platform. The ability to engage with the president in real time has energized public discourse, turning online frustrations into broader conversations about accountability and governance……See More

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