Charlene Ruto: The busy diary of the President's daughter

Charlene Ruto: The busy diary of the President's daughter

Charlene Ruto, President Ruto's daughter. Photo courtesy/ Charlene

  • Since her father assumed office, Kenyans have been seeing more and more of Charlene Ruto, who, in public, radiates the polished homeyness her father has made his trademark.
  • Unlike the Gatsby-esque political class with which she regularly hobnobs, she eschews the pompous grandiose that surrounds our leaders preferring to, instead, arrive silently and immediately submerge herself into the diffidence made famous by her mother, First Lady Rachel Ruto.

Charlene Chelagat Ruto's genteel upbringing can be easily sniffed out from the manner in which she graciously carries herself in the public, throwing herself into a frenzy of public engagements that range from official meetings to fraternizing with the hoi polloi and even thrusting her weight behind environmental issues, all in a day's work.

Whilst, unlike, say, America's so-called former First Daughter Ivanka Trump, Charlene is not particularly à la mode - she doesn't move around shabbily either but is also careful not to look overly polished, or too fancy, or (if possible) styled.

While most bratty scions of Presidential Palaces may choose to randomly sunbathe in Morocco, ski in Sweden or, with the right gaiters and thermal wear, ascend the Himalayas, Ruto seems at home immersing herself into local (and sometimes international) politics, pressing home affairs and the plight of girls in far-flung schools.

Her dressing is pleasantry toned-down - she'll pull up in your everyday pair of pantsuits, sometimes sporting minimal jewellery and sometimes if need be, you may pick out a diamanté brooch around her blouse.

An avid lover of the all-too-Kenyan black pumps, Ms Ruto strides across the room, radiating power, purpose and indestructible poise.

Every time she steps out of her vehicle, she's met by a fawning team of subservient handlers, who smile at her, arms stretched out, as they bomb her face with fresh nosegay and other little kitschy items.

Since her father assumed office, Kenyans have been seeing more and more of Charlene Ruto, who, in public, radiates the polished homeyness her father has made his trademark.

Unlike the Gatsby-esque political class with which she regularly hobnobs, she eschews the pompous grandiose that surrounds our leaders preferring to, instead, arrive silently and immediately submerge herself into the diffidence made famous by her mother, First Lady Rachel Ruto.

Charlene, unlike some of the inglorious fembots we've seen gambolling around the State House lawn at every little luncheon, is a woman with a mission - a solidified duty that, whilst still unclear, continues to unfurl right in front of our very eyes, confusing fan and foe, conjuring endless Twitter think pieces.

In a span of two months, Ms Ruto has straddled the country, making a whistle-stop tour of various counties, sitting down with various county honchos, and even flying out, meeting with foreign dignitaries and flying back just in time to munch on bread and soda amongst primary school kids, sitting, Turkish-style, in front of them.

Yesterday, after meeting Amos Nyaribo, the Nyamira County Governor took to Twitter, saying, "I received Ms Charlene Ruto who paid a courtesy call to my office. Ms Charlene highlighted the need to partner with investors and counties to tackle climate change and initiate safeguards for the environment."

At Lang'ata Primary school, in conjunction with the board and management of Kenya High School, she distributed food donations that would feed, according to her, over "400 families."

In Kuria, she planted a tree right next to one planted by her father in 2017, promising the populace that the President's vision for climate action faced a sustainable future.

And just four days ago, she graced the #KenyanByBlood campaign launch, donated blood and stamped the campaign's mission of "increasing the Kenyan Blood Bank count to 500,000 units of blood by June 2023".

In official meetings, Ms Ruto sits keenly, leaning forward, studiously soaking in as much (we assume) information from whoever is the leader in the room, with her legs crossed over, interlocking fingers perched on her knees.

Like Ivanka Trump, President Trump's favourite daughter and close White House confidant, young Ruto is quickly shaping herself into the William Ruto administration's favourite mascot, with her platinum-encrusted pedigree allowing her access into high offices, as she discharges her myriad of duties with Ruto-esque élan.

A section of Kenyans has, however, attacked her frenzied nationwide forays, with many terming them unconstitutional and blatantly gratuitous.

In fact, in an interview with the London Times, Nahashon Kimemia, a Kenyan political consultant, sought to downplay Charlene's role in the public eye.

"There is no 'first daughter of Kenya’ position that Charlene Ruto has given herself,” he said.

“It makes a mockery of the anti-dynasty platform that William Ruto recently campaigned on.”

The third of President Ruto's seven children, who until recently was widely known as the Head of PR at the father's Weston hotel, has now become the official Kenyan contessa, whose undemarcated office is still confusing many and at the same time drawing admirers.

Like her father, Charlene is industriousness-made-flesh and ironically, just like Raila Odinga, her father's mortal political foe, she's becoming the ultimate enigma of our times.

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President Ruto Charlene Ruto Ivanka Trump

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