Ruto’s Justification for Breaching Parliamentary Protocol

March 6, 2024

During the official opening of the second sitting of the East Africa Legislative Assembly in Nairobi on Tuesday, President William Ruto broke parliamentary protocol, prompting him to apologize to the Speaker and the House.

Adding a lighthearted note to the proceedings, Ruto said that he inadvertently violated the Speaker’s rule by clapping while Speaker Ntakirutimana was addressing the assembly.

Members of the National Assembly, Senate, and EALA do not clap when expressing approval for speeches, statements, or debates. Instead, they stamp their feet.

EALA Speaker Joseph Ntakirutimana had called upon President Ruto to deliver his opening speech, during which the Head of State issued an apology that took the house by surprise.

“When it was time to applause I found myself clapping and I know that is not the tradition in Parliament. I had to remind myself,” Ruto said.

The President justified the breach of protocol by explaining that it had been over a decade since he had last been in parliament.

“Mr Speaker, Let me apologise because I have been away from Parliament, for now, more than 10 years and I found myself doing the wrong things,” he said.

Ruto first entered Parliament in 1997 as the Member of Parliament for Eldoret North.

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