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Eric Latiff: Why interviews with Ruto stand out from previous presidents

Eric was among the three-team journalists that interviewed the president after the anti-finance bill protests

Spice FM Radio Host Eric Latiff
  • Eric Latiff and media colleagues interviewed President William Ruto on June 30, 2024
  • The journalists aimed to address pressing issues and represent public concerns during the interview
  • Eric Latiff described the interview as a mix of highs and lows, with moments of satisfaction and frustration

Spice FM radio host and journalist Eric Latiff recently shared his experience of interviewing President William Ruto.

Alongside colleagues Joe Ageyo from NTV and Linus Kaikai from Citizen TV, Latiff was part of a roundtable discussion with the head of state on Sunday June 30, 2024.

Latiff revealed that the invitation from State House was open-ended, without any pre-set conditions or questions.

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"Usually with this particular president, he is just open-ended. He does not insist on seeing the questions in advance, which is a good thing," Latiff noted, highlighting the President's willingness to engage freely with the media.

Given the prevailing mood in the country, Latiff and his fellow journalists knew they had a unique opportunity to address pressing issues.

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With widespread protests both on the streets and on social media, there was a clear expectation from the public for the journalists to ask hard-hitting questions.

"Knowing the mood of the country at that point, we knew this was an opportunity to hear from the President on the matters that had been raised," Latiff explained.

He emphasised the importance of representing the questions and concerns that were being voiced by the Kenyan people.

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Latiff described the interview as a mix of highs and lows, with moments of satisfaction and frustration.

"You have those up and down moments. You ask a question and feel like it’s not been answered sufficiently," he said.

This led to numerous follow-up questions in an attempt to extract more detailed responses from the President.

Latiff felt that while President Ruto was not dodging questions, he often provided answers that did not directly address the queries posed.

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"I felt like he was not dodging the questions, but I could read that he had a message he wanted to pass. But in some instances, he was bringing the answer in the wrong question," Latiff remarked.

One critical topic that Latiff felt was not adequately addressed was the police response to the protests. ,

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"I didn't feel like the President answered the questions the way we wanted him to," he shared.

Latiff emphasised that the public was seeking empathy from their leader, a sense of understanding and acknowledgement of their pain.

"I think people were just looking for a sense of empathy, and no empathy and then justifying the actions. It's empathy, just like that: I feel the pain and that's it," Latiff elaborated, reflecting the sentiment of many Kenyans.

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The interview with Ruto had Kenyans angered due to the head of state's lack of empathy.

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