President William Ruto has bagged deals with the Italian President Sergio Mattarell, that will boost his key projects in the country.
In a statement on Tuesday, January 30, the head of state indicated that Italy will open a medical service hub in Nairobi.
Ruto shared the news citing his excitement for the move which he noted will enhance the Universal Health Coverage plan, which is in the process of implementation.
Further, the president stated that Kenya was looking forward to other development agreements with Italy in different areas including security, water and transport.
“We are excited by the decision taken by Italy to settle on Nairobi as its medical services hub to serve our region. This will enhance our Universal Health Coverage plan. Kenya looks forward to broadening its ties in other strategic areas such as security, water and transport.
“During the meeting, Italy accepted Kenya’s proposition to use its G7 presidency to push for more reforms of the international financial architecture,” he stated.
Uproar Over Ruto Attending Italy – Africa Summit
However, the head of state has received backlash from Kenyans for his presence at the Italy Africa summit, especially after he was captured in a photo together with other African leaders, queuing to greet the leader of a single country, despite having previously condemned the same actions.
During the Italy – Africa Summit, Ruto was captured in one of the photos standing just steps away from African Union Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki.
In his defense, Ruto stated that together with the other African leaders, they found the invitation different and inspiring because of the pragmatic approach taken.
“Let me begin by appreciating President Sergio Matterella, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the Government of Italy for convening this 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,” he stated during his speech.
Larry Madowo Hits Back
His explanation however, seemed to have not sufficed as many Kenyans including CNN journalist Larry Madowo who clashed with Emanuel Talam, the Presidential Communication Service (PCS) press secretary, for hitting back at him.
Talam asked the CNN journalist to read through Ruto’s speech, suggesting that doing so was “basic journalism”.
“Create time to read the President’s speech. Basic journalism,” Talam commented.
In response, Madowo dismissed Talam’s advice, noting that he did not have the range of passing any advice to him.
“You don’t have the range to lecture me about journalism,” Madowo quoted Talam’s comment.
Some Kenyans pointed out that notable Presidents including President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu did not attend the Summit.