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Inside Larry Madowo’s war of words with State House official over Ruto

By Winnie Mabel January 30th, 2024 2 min read

Kenyan CNN International correspondent Larry Madowo had no words to mince for President William Ruto’s conduct as an African leader, as well as tackling one of Ruto’s communication employees, Press Secretary Emmanuel Taalam when he tried to defend President Ruto.

It all began when President Ruto flew to Italy for the Italy-Africa Summit in Rome on January 29, 2024.

Months earlier, President Ruto had told off African leaders for flocking to other nations for summit meetings when they could send a handful of representatives instead.

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This is what Larry Madowo latched onto when photos of the Rome summit were made public.

“President William Ruto said he + other African leaders would not be summoned by 1 country. The African Union would represent them going forward. He’s standing just steps away from both the AU chair & the AU Commission chair in Italy while other East African presidents skipped,” said Mr Madowo on January 29.

His tweet alone garnered over 11,000 reactions, 4,100 retweets and 1,700 comments in a short span of time.

This was President Ruto in April 2023, vowing not to be summoned again. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu is currently in Paris, just a 2-hour flight from Rome, but he isn’t attending #ItaliaAfrica,” added Mr Madowo.

Also read: ‘I ‘failed’ KCSE, but I did 45 foreign trips last year,’ Larry Madowo

“African leaders in Rome for Italy-Africa Summit. How much time and money do they spend going to these conferences outside the continent? Russia-Africa US-Africa China-Africa France-Africa Saudi-Africa Turkey-Africa India-Africa. Everyone has a plan for Africa except Africa?” asked Mr Madowo.

In response, Mr Taalam, President Ruto’s Press Secretary, attempted to take on Madowo, saying, “Create time to read the President’s speech. Basic journalism.”

Madowo clapped back and said, “You don’t have the range to lecture me about journalism.”

He finished off his rant with, “Out here doing the Lord’s work!”

Many of Madowo’s followers urged him on as he took on Ruto and Taalam, telling him to go for the jugular of an administration that never kept its word and only placed financial burdens on Kenyans with foreign trips yet to benefit Kenyans in any way except place them in more foreign debt.

President Ruto excused his presence in Italy, saying, “Let me begin by appreciating President Sergio Matterella, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and the Government of Italy for convening this Summit. I have previously noted that an invitation extended by one country to all 54 African nations did not necessarily serve Africa’s best interests. But those of us present at this conference, representing our colleagues, find it different and inspiring due to the pragmatic approach you have taken, Madam Prime Minister.”

He went on to tell the Summit that Africa did not need charity from foreign nations but a cooperation that rejects “paternalistic and predatory approaches.”