Kenyan-born CNN international journalist, Larry Madowo, found himself at the center of a public spat with President William Ruto's press secretary, Emmanuel Talam, over comments regarding the President's attendance at the Italy-Africa Summit in Rome.
Larry Madowo's savagely replies Ruto's press secretary in public spat
Larry Madowo pointed out the contradiction between President Ruto's remarks and his actions
Madowo highlighted what he perceived as a contradiction in President Ruto's actions.
In 2023, Ruto had made headlines with his assertive stance that African leaders should not be "summoned" by individual countries for discussions, advocating instead for the African Union (AU) to represent the continent.
“We have also decided that it will not going to be business as usual. We have these meetings Africa-U.S. meeting, Africa-Europe, Africa-Turkey, Africa-India now we are waiting for Africa-Russia and Africa-Japan. We have made the decision that it is not intelligent for 54 of us to go and sit before one gentleman from another place," Ruto said at the time.
This was seen as a bold move in changing the dynamics of international relations with Africa.
The AU, which recognises eight regional economic communities, including the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was deemed the appropriate body to engage in such dialogues.
Despite this, President Ruto attended the recent Italy-Africa Summit on January 29, 2024, alongside other African presidents, while his East African counterparts chose to skip the event.
Madowo's post pointed out this apparent contradiction, igniting a storm on social media platforms.
His post read, "President William Ruto said he and 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."
The ensuing debate saw pro-government supporters and critics locking horns.
Talam, jumping into the fray, advised Madowo to "Create time to read the President’s speech. Basic journalism."
This comment drew a sharp response from Madowo, who retorted, "You don't have the range to lecture me about journalism."
Ruto's speech at the Italy-Africa Summit on Monday did acknowledge his previous remarks, stating, "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."
The controversy sheds light on the complexities of African leadership and international relations.
While President Ruto's attendance at the summit may seem at odds with his earlier stance, it also reflects the nuanced nature of diplomacy and the need for African leaders to engage in global discussions while maintaining their stance on equality and mutual respect.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: