In a scathing critique, South African opposition leader Julius Malema has publicly criticized the President of Kenya, William Ruto, accusing him of failing to deliver on promises made during his election campaign last year.
Malema expressed his concerns on Thursday at the launch of the Pan African Institute in Kenya, highlighting a perceived disparity between President Ruto’s words and actions.
According to Malema, President Ruto is backtracking on his commitment to lead efforts towards eliminating the US dollar as a means of trade in Africa. Malema questioned the sincerity of Ruto’s statements, stating, “I don’t know if President William Ruto means it because he said so many things, and I cannot locate him these days because the things he said during elections and the things he is doing now are two different things.”
Ruto’s administration has come under increasing scrutiny for the rising cost of living, despite the president’s electoral promise to alleviate financial difficulties for Kenyan families. President Ruto positioned himself as a champion of the “hustler,” someone who struggles to make a living, but critics argue that his economic policies have not lived up to these pledges.
Defending his unpopular economic decisions, President Ruto asserted that he is focused on reducing public debt. However, this explanation has not deterred critics like Malema, who leads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the third-largest party in South Africa’s parliament.
Malema also condemned President Ruto for warmly welcoming King Charles III and Queen Camilla during their recent visit to Kenya. Malema criticized the King for not expressing sufficient remorse for the atrocities committed during the British colonial era in Kenya. Although King Charles acknowledged colonial abuses, he stopped short of delivering a formal apology.
Accusing President Ruto of deviating from the “true cause of the African freedom fighters who were killed and tortured by the colonialists,” Malema’s remarks underscore a growing dissatisfaction with the Kenyan president’s leadership, both domestically and internationally. As political tensions rise, the scrutiny on Ruto’s promises and actions is likely to intensify in the coming weeks.
This is not the first time the South African politician is hitting hard on African leaders. In July after the coup d’etat that toppled president Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, he urged Cameroonians to do same with President Paul Biya.