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Ruto addresses 'Zakayo' nickname & cracks up crowd [Video]

President Ruto passes the 'Zakayo' nickname to its rightful owner

President William Ruto addresses a crowd in Chogoria, Tharaka Nithi County on July 13, 2023

President William Ruto has reacted to his nickname Zakayo, which has been given to him by Kenyans due to the raft of tax measures his government has implemented and supported.

Speaking during a function in Muranga on Friday, July 21, Ruto shrugged off the nickname and said that he will continue to work hard to improve the lives of Kenyans and raise revenue to run the country.

The name Zakayo is Swahili for Zacchaeus, which is a reference to the biblical character who was a tax collector.

Tax collectors were often disliked by people and the nickname suggests that Ruto is seen in the same light by some Kenyans.


I want to thank you people of Murang’a for electing leaders I can work with in the transformation of Kenya. Your MP here in Kiharu (Ndindi Nyoro) is the chair of the National Assembly Budget & Appropriations Committee. He leads his team in planning Kenya’s budget. From Murang’a I also have the Treasury CS (Prof Njuguna Ndungu) who makes sure all government projects progress well.

Also from here in Muranga, you have given me a person to collect tax. Other people call me Zakayo but the real Zakayo is here with us,” he said amid laughter.

It was not immediately clear who Ruto was referring to as the rightful Zakayo.

The Head of State said that the opposition had branded him Zakayo because he was pushing for Kenya’s self-reliance by advocating for increased tax collection and reduced loans.


It is because I have refused to take loans. We cannot run our country on debt. We must collect taxes because even in the bible it is written that nations run on taxes,” he added.

Ruto has been criticized for his government's tax policies, most recently the Finance Act 2023, which some Kenyans have described as regressive and unfair.

The government has increased taxes on a number of goods and services, including fuel.

The tax increases have led to a rise in the cost of living, which has been a burden on many Kenyans.


Ruto has defended the tax increases, saying that they are necessary to fund development projects.

However, many Kenyans remain unconvinced by Ruto's arguments. They believe that the tax increases are unfair and that they are hurting the poor, resulting in protests in Nairobi and other towns.

Watch Ruto's remarks about who the rightful Zakayo is


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