By- Kenyans have said life during William Ruto’s first 100 days has been tough and different from what they expected.
Ruto won the contested August 9 elections.
After his election, he cast himself as a champion for the downtrodden, vowing to create jobs and tackle a cost-of-living crisis that has left many Kenyans struggling to put food on the table.
Kenyan shop attendant Winnie Wanjiru Mwaura was brimming with hope when she signed up to be an election agent for William Ruto during the August 9 polls and was elated when he became president.
But barely 100 days after the rags-to-riches businessman took office on September 13, the 21-year-old wants nothing to do with him. The first-time voter told the Nation:
Life has only become worse under him.
More pain for Kenyans in new Ruto, IMF loan deal
When Ruto (56) came to power, he slashed food and fuel subsidies introduced by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta arguing that the interventions had “not borne any fruit.”
Their removal was a request from the International Monetary Fund, a major lender to the East African economic powerhouse.
Business analysts including Ken Gichinga, chief economist at business analytics firm Mentoria Economics say the move to remove the fuel subsidy was not very strategic as it has led to a slower economy, rising inflation and higher interest rates.
The Central Bank of Kenya raised interest rates by a cumulative 1.75 per cent in 2022, while inflation soared to a five-year high of 9.6 per cent in October.
Even Ruto’s pet project, the 50-billion-shilling ($408-million) “hustler fund”, has sparked controversy, with some accusing him of abandoning promises to make the credit scheme interest-free.
The fund, launched last month, will offer personal loans of up to 50 000 Kenyan shillings, with interest charged at eight per cent a year, lower than the rate of inflation.
Borrowers have already complained of difficulty in getting loans higher than 1 000 Kenyan shillings approved, despite the fund’s stated objective of boosting financial access for the country’s poorest citizens.
Ruto, who marked his one-hundredth day on the job on Thursday, also failed or neglected to deliver on his campaign pledge to achieve gender parity in his cabinet, naming just seven women to his 22-member team.
Despite a “disappointing” start, however, Manyora, who supported Ruto’s opponent Raila Odinga during the polls, said it was too early to dismiss the president and his team.