Kenyan leader accused of breaking de-dollarization promise
South African opposition leader Julius Malema has accused Kenyan President William Ruto of breaking promises he made before taking office last year, including a move to eliminate use of the US dollar in pan-African trade.
Malema, who is head of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), made the comments on Thursday at the launch of the Pan African Institute at Kenya’s Lukenya University.
“I don’t know if President William Ruto means it because he said so many things… I cannot locate him these days, because the things he said during elections and the things he is doing now are two different things,” the opposition leader stated.
Ruto became Kenya’s fifth president in August last year, amid vote-rigging allegations and a legal suit filed by opposition leader Raila Odinga, which was later dismissed.
Odinga, who leads the Azimio Coalition, has repeatedly criticized the Ruto government for Kenya’s rising cost of living and tax hikes, which have sparked violent protests across the country in recent months. The Kenyan president has pledged to “empower hustlers” through economic relief programs to ease financial burdens on families, while also reducing the country’s public debt.
Contrary to campaign promises, Ruto introduced a slew of new taxes, including a controversial law in June that seeks to double the fuel tax from 8% to 16%, along with a 1.5% housing levy for all employees.
The president has defended his economic policies, claiming in his first address to the nation on Thursday that they are necessary to stabilize the debt situation.
“At least 50,000 Kenyans, who were previously jobless, are now engaged in this life-changing enterprise,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
On Thursday, Malema additionally condemned Ruto for giving the “red carpet” treatment to British royals King Charles III and Queen Camilla, who recently visited Kenya.
According to the EFF leader, the King, who expressed regret for colonial abuses in Kenya but failed to issue a formal apology, “showed no remorse” for the atrocities committed, including the killing of thousands of Kenyans during the Mau Mau rebellion.
“We call upon the Kenyan government to be firm and to decide what they want to be. Do they want to be Pan Africanist or do they want to be proponents of neocolonialism? You can’t have it both [ways], only one call must be made and that call is open Africanism,” Malema insisted.
In September, Kenyan political analyst and researcher Kimanzi Nicholas told RT that the West, in particular the US, was using Ruto to maintain control in several African countries.