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All about Ruto’s unfounded ‘worry’ that President Suluhu supports Raila

By Winnie Mabel September 8th, 2023 2 min read

Kenyan President William Ruto expressed his relief and shared a light-hearted moment during the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, as he realized that a linguistic misunderstanding had caused unnecessary worry.

During a panel discussion featuring Presidents Ruto and Samia Suluhu of Tanzania, Dr Ruto offered a humorous anecdote, highlighting the importance of linguistic nuances.

Also read: Ruto, Suluhu talks centre on trade, tourism

He playfully remarked that if Tanzanians wished to confuse Kenyans, all they needed to do was speak in Swahili, as Kenyans often struggle to use proper Kiswahili, unlike their Tanzanian counterparts.

President Ruto revealed that he had been concerned when President Suluhu repeatedly mentioned “support for Azimio” during her address.

This was in reference to the Nairobi Declaration that was made during the recently ended Africa Climate Summit 2023 that was held in Nairobi.

The declaration gave Africa’s position on climate change, climate financing, solutions to climate change, and how Africa plans to tackle climate issues.

Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance is the official opposition party in Kenya, and the word “azimio” holds different connotations in the Swahili language.

The party was also President Ruto’s main opponent in the August 2022 presidential election but lost by approximately 200,000 votes.

The opposition party contested the election results, claiming they had been rigged.

This led to months of turmoil, including protests, demands to open the election servers, and calls for lower living costs.

Also read: Muhoozi now invites Ruto to Kampala, weeks after threatening to topple him

President Ruto’s playful comments noted, “…I have something small to complain about. I listened to your speech, and you kept saying ‘azimio… these people had azimio,’ and I became a little bit worried because back home, azimio means something else.”

“Azimio is the name of the opposition party in Kenya, and they have a lot of fight in them. But I’ve now understood that azimio can involve good things where people can sit down and agree,” President Ruto told an animated audience.

The misunderstanding was met with laughter from the audience, and it served as a moment of levity during the forum.

Afterwards, President Ruto issued a statement emphasizing Africa’s potential in the agricultural sector and the importance of intentional youth engagement to boost production and transform the continent into a net food exporter.

“Africa has a huge potential in the agricultural space to exploit. We must step forward, join hands and put to use the untapped resources that we have — including the enormous arable lands and favourable weather. Intentionally recruiting youth into the sector will boost production and make the continent a net food exporter,” Dr Ruto said.

Also read: Samia Suluhu: Kenya’s economy is struggling