Nairobi News


How Ruto was ‘mistreated’ at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

President William Ruto has opened up on the challenges African leaders face when attending foreign events.

Addressing the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Ruto highlighted the inequality in treatment between African Heads and other world leaders.

President Ruto also hinted that African leaders will in future decide whether or not to honour meetings with their Western colleagues.

“We have made the decision that it is not intelligent for 54 of us to go and sit before one gentleman from another place…Sometimes we are mistreated, we are loaded into buses like school children, and it is not right,” Ruto said.

He was referring to an incident at the late Queen Elizabeth II funeral ceremony in the UK, where African Presidents, including him and his wife, were offered a lift at the back of the bus. At the same time, other world leaders like US President Joe Biden were allowed private vehicles.

The British government had requested that Presidents attending the Queen’s funeral use commercial flights and arrive by coach to ease the strain on London’s airports.

According to The Times, fears of gridlock on the roads around the Abbey, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace necessitated deploying buses.

The dignitaries, totalling over 2,000, mostly from across the Commonwealth of Nations, were instructed that their maximum allocation of seats was restricted to the head of state or their representative plus partner.

However, the perceived unequal treatment has reignited discussions about the need for Africa to assert its position on the global stage.

Ruto announced that Africa is actively seeking partnerships with Russia and Japan and existing relationships with the United States, Europe, and Turkey. “We are not looking for aid; we are not looking for handouts. We are looking for partnerships that are based on mutual respect and mutual benefit,” Ruto reiterated, highlighting the importance of establishing equitable relationships on the world stage.

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