President William Ruto appears to have taken a more relaxed approach than that employed by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta while at State House.
He has also introduced a raft of protocol changes as detailed by NTV journalist James Smart in a story published today by the Daily Nation.
Smart was one of the journalists who had the honour of interviewing the president in his first live TV interview from State House last week on Thursday.
According to Smart, State House is no longer a scary place as it used to be, the president is more informal and most importantly he keeps time.
“Under Uhuru Kenyatta, State House was a scary place to visit as you were met at the gate by a battalion of mean-looking police officers,” wrote Smart.
“Instead of a battery of security men at that small gate, there were only three officers. They proceeded to frisk us one by one, then ushered us in,” he said.
The journalist was also surprised that they were not required to leave their mobile phones at the gate, something that perplexed him.
Once inside, he says that the President lost his security momentarily and his aides when he went to meet them.
“At exactly 4:30pm, in a room full of cables where TV crews were just setting up cameras, sitting arrangements and with State House staff still dusting off some chairs and tables, President Ruto walks into the room, alone,” said Smart of his encounter with the President.
“He seems to have lost both his handlers and his security in such a short brief moment as they also come running almost stumbling into the hall where they must have been told the President is already in the interview room,” recalled the journalist.
Another change that the President made was by being a stickler for time.
“The former administration had invented what was informally referred to as the Standard State House Time (SST),” said Smart.
“SST exemplified State House’s total disregard of punctuality where a media briefing slated for noon could start as late as 7 pm,” the Nation Media journalist revealed.
In contrast, Ruto appears to stick to time with Smart noting that the President was ready at 4 pm for an interview that was slated to start at 7 pm.
Lastly, the current president changed the State House in terms of hospitality according to Smart saying he offered them tea as it was in plenty.
Then after the interview, the commander in chief invited all journalists to dinner where he sat with them and shared a meal.
“As soon as we finished the interview, minutes to midnight, the President rose from his chair asking his handlers, “Now, is there dinner?” The entire team was ushered into the next hall,” said an excited Smart.
“We followed him to the buffet and sat around a long table. He started with two pieces of well-done ribs, a lot of greens and steamed vegetables and ugali,” he said.
During the dinner which took place way after midnight the president spoke to everyone at the table.