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WATCH: Ruto admits to struggles with Swahili in Tanzania

By Wangu Kanuri October 10th, 2022 1 min read

President William Ruto appeared to struggle to express himself in Kiswahili during his visit to Tanzania on Monday to the extent of requesting his host Samia Suluhu for an opportunity to address the media in English.

In between, the Kenyan Head of State, who is relatively eloquent in Swahili, firmly declined a request to translate his speech.

President Ruto who is on a two-day visit to Kenya’s southern neighbour commenced his media address by admitting he’d struggled to deliver his speech in Swahili at an earlier event.

“Kindly allow me to read my speech in English so I’m well understood,” President Ruto told his host.

“I want to thank you for welcoming us to Dar es Salaam and Tanzania,” said President Ruto before pausing as he was interrupted by the translator.

“I don’t think it is necessary to translate. You will confuse me,” the Head of State pointed out with a smile.

“Is there anyone who does not understand English?.” he asked amidst laughter from the crowd.

Adding: “I’m sorry my Swahili is not fluent, but I will get it right after one or two visits.”

Despite the language barrier challenges, President Ruto vowed to expedite several projects including the construction of a gas pipeline from Mtwara, through Dar es Salaam to Mombasa, and then to Nairobi.

Additionally, President Ruto assured his Tanzanian counterpart he would maintain the existing diplomatic relations fostered during former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term in office.

President Ruto arrived in Tanzania on Sunday for a two-day visit.

Kiswahili is the official language in East Africa but most residents in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan struggle to express themselves in the dialect.

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