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A look at President Ruto’s favourite meal in State House

By Neema Amani January 9th, 2023 2 min read

Media personality James Smart detailed his encounter with Kenya’s most powerful man, President Wiliam Ruto.

Smart narrates in a Daily Nation article titled “A State House of contrasts: The transition from Uhuru to Ruto” his experience at the house on the hill.

He describes the ambience as “more welcoming under Ruto” because, according to the veteran journalist, “an invitation to State House, Nairobi, always came with guaranteed discomfort.”

Adding, “A media briefing slated for noon could start at 3pm — or even 7pm. Journalists got used to this State House hospitality, a house of restrictions and seemingly with no functioning clocks.”

But kwa (on the) ground, things were very different.

Also read: Inside President Ruto’s changes in his new residence, State House

Past experiences had taught journalists that the long wait before a briefing was the norm. But that was not the case under the new county’s commander in chief.

The security check was fast and uneventful. They were allowed to go in with their phones, and the programme started as earlier scheduled with no delays.

In his article, Smart noted that president Ruto is a very intentional man.

“‘Nothing happens by chance in politics,’ President Ruto later told us as we were having dinner. His mood the whole night was calm, reflective, and boisterous. He seemed eager to impress the nation through the interview.”

As soon as the media finished the interview, minutes to midnight, the President rose from his chair, asking his handlers, “Now, is there dinner?” The entire team was ushered into the next hall.

Smart details what President Ruto picked from the buffet at the State House.

“We followed him to the buffet and sat around a long table. He started with two pieces of well-done ribs, a lot of greens, steamed vegetables, and ugali.

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He spoke to everyone at the table, occasionally laughing at comments on social media about the just concluded interview.

He also spoke passionately about farming: “It’s a calling, my friends. All farmers will go to heaven.”

We presumed that he cheekily included himself on the heaven-bound lot. The Head of State then empathised with media and journalism, which are experiencing challenges by digitisation.

“You [journalists] have a tough job, some people say just by looking at you on TV that you belong to this camp and that camp … it must be impossible,” he said.

We reminded him that’s how some of his handlers view us. We laughed and concluded that that’s how the game must be played. No hard feelings.”

Also read: KOT reacts to First Lady Rachel Ruto preparing tea at State House