Who Exactly is William Ruto?
William Samoei Arap Ruto is a Kenyan politician who serves as Kenya’s Deputy President. He has served as a deputy president since 2013.
William Ruto’s Early Life and education
On December 21, 1966, in Sambut town, Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County, William Ruto was born to Daniel Cheruiyot and Sarah Cheruiyot. He began his education at Kerotet Primary School. He later joined Wareng Secondary School for his Ordinary Levels before proceeding to Kapsabet Boys High School in Nandi County for his Advanced Levels.
Ruto then attended the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a BSc in Botany and Zoology in 1990. Ruto was later enrolled for an MSc in Plant Ecology, and graduated in 2011. The following year, he took up a Ph.D. program, and despite a few setbacks, he finished and was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi on December 21, 2018.
Ruto married his lovely wife, Rachel Chebet, in 1991. Following their marriage, the young couple relocated to Dagorreti South. The couple welcomed their first child, Nick Ruto while residing in Dagorreti South. They now have seven children, two sons, and five daughters. Jane Ruto, his dearest daughter, recently married a Nigerian prince, Dr.Alexender Ezanagu, at their Karen residence in Nairobi.
Despite coming from a humble background, the self-made politician has worked himself up the ladder. Today, Ruto is among the wealthiest Kenyans having invested in real estate and Agriculture and several other business ventures including, the Weston Hotel, and a significant stake in AMACO, an insurance company. Ruto has been referred to as the “Kenyan shilling billionaire.”
Ruto served as the Organizing Secretary of Youth for Kanu ’92 (YK92), a group formed to assist President Daniel Arap Moi in the 1992 political decision. Ruto declared openly in January 2006 that he would run for President in the next general election, scheduled for December 2007. His announcement was condemned by some of his KANU colleagues, including the late President Moi. Ruto sought the nomination of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) as its presidential candidate. Still, in the group’s decision on September 1, 2007, he finished third with 368 votes, trailing the winner, Raila Odinga (with 2,656 votes) and Musalia Mudavadi (391). After the vote, Ruto expressed his support for Odinga and On October 6, 2007, he resigned as KANU Secretary-General. The presidential election in December 2007 ended in a stalemate. Kenya’s constituent bonus declared Kibaki the winner, against Raila Odinga of ODM throwing the country into a political emergency. Kibaki and Odinga agreed to form a coalition government. In this arrangement, Ruto was named Minister for Agriculture in the Great Alliance Cabinet on April 13, 2008, and was sworn in on April 17. Ruto also served as the Member of Parliament for Eldoret North from 2008 to 2013. He quickly adapted to the country’s changing political and social environment, fitting in well with the grand coalition government formed after the disputed 2007 presidential elections by President Mwai Kibaki and then Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.
Ruto, who had established himself as a leading light in ODM and a member of the party’s cream referred to as the pentagon at the time of the formation of the grand coalition government in April 2008, was appointed Minister for Agriculture in 2008 until April 2010. He crisscrossed the country for the Ministry of Agriculture, checking on farmers. He ensured that farmers had a steady supply of fertilizer and a ready market for their produce. He was transferred to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Technology. He immediately reformed the country’s higher education institutions to ensure that thousands of Kenyan youths received quality and relevant education.
His rallying cry at the time was that youth needed to be trained in courses that were both relevant to the changing world and globally competitive. He also advocated for increased budgetary allocations to meet Kenya’s ever-increasing demand for higher education. Ruto had become a well-known figure among students at universities and colleges. Ruto remained outspoken and played an essential role in creating the 2010 Constitution. He chaired the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution and was a member. Mr. Ruto ran for President on March 4, 2013, as Mr. Kenyatta’s running mate under the Jubilee Alliance, which also included his United Republican Party (URP) and Mr. Kenyatta’s( the current president of Kenya) National Alliance (TNA)
Deputy President Ruto is not your typical politician. He has ascended the political ladder to the country’s second-highest political position. He describes himself as a hustler, which he hopes will endear him to Kenyans, particularly the middle and low-income earners who have to work their fingers to the bone to keep the wolf from the door.
His journey can be attributed to his tenacity, focus, courageous nature, and dedication to political goals. He is a brilliant man who employs this quality to deconstruct political opponents during rallies and debates. William Ruto is the most astute politician in Kenya right now. Given the nature of the competition for the presidency, his quest is not an easy one. Deputy President Ruto, 55, will have to play his cards carefully to rally the entire nation behind him as Kenya’s 5th President.
The upcoming general election
This year, the Kenyan nation shall be conducting a general election on 9th August. Deputy President William Ruto has already declared his candidature and will be vying for the presidency. This will be the first time he will be presenting himself for the top seat having served as the Deputy president for the last nine years. Since 2018, the opinion poll has always ranked him at 53%, which is a clear indication that if the election was conducted today, he will emerge victoriously.
As we near the election, the political temperatures are getting high, different candidates vying for different political positions, have started grouping themselves in different coalitions that subscribe to their political ideologies. William Ruto who is now 55 years, will be contesting for the top seat against Raila Odinga who is the former prime minister. Mr. Odinga now 77 years old, will be contesting for the 5th time after having vied and lost in 1997, 2007, 2013, and 2017 respectively. The two main political coalitions are; Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja. Kenya Kwanza is a coalition that was formed recently between William Ruto and Musalia Mudavadi, are the former vice president and former deputy prime minister, Musalia Mudavadi hails from the Western region of the country that is comprised of the Luhya Community, he is regarded as the Luhya kingpin and has officially declared his support for William Ruto. This is a great advantage and may see William Ruto ascend to the presidency. Kenya Kwanza is a Swahili phrase that means Kenya First. The second coalition Azimio la Umoja is a coalition that is backing the former prime minister Raila Odinga’s candidature, it’s a Swahili phrase that translates to Alliance of Unity.
Dr. William Ruto has an age advantage, he is ambitious, energetic, generous, and very aggressive. He has proved himself to other Kenyans that every dream can be achieved irrespective of anyone’s background and no man is limited. He is a formidable force to reckon. Within the last two weeks, he has traversed all the 47 counties in Kenya supporting the youth and women’s income-generating activities to lure them into supporting his bid. Having been born from the former Great Rift Valley province, which comprises mainly of Nilotic-Kalenjin Community, it is his stronghold and is made of 14 counties. He is assured of scooping 90% of votes from that region. Dr. William Ruto has also received a great backup from the Central part of Kenya that comprises the Kikuyu community, it’s made of 5 counties and has the highest number of registered voters; 6 million votes. Dr. William Ruto has been making numerous trips campaigning in the Western region which is a Luhya voting block, Eastern region that is comprised of the Kamba people, and the Coast region to popularize his candidature, these are regions that have overwhelmingly supported the former prime minister Raila Odinga’s presidential candidature in the previous elections. As of now the electorate already knows which side of the bread is buttered.
Because so many communities are interested in the seat, William Ruto needs to reach out to them early and tell them his plan and how they will benefit if he ascends to the house on the hill. He must alter the pattern and appearance of political coalitions and enlist the participation of every Kenyan community on his team for his leadership to be seen as unifying and inclusive in the eyes of all. He must capture all the communities’ kingpins and present his case to them, no matter how difficult this may be. He should start with the areas he considers ‘unfriendly’ to him. In this manner, he will meet the presidential vote threshold required to succeed Mr. Kenyatta.
His main challenge will be the opposition he will face in the 2022 upcoming election. His opponent in the opposition and his Jubilee fraternity are unknown. He must tread carefully to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes and consolidate his support within the Jubilee party.
For the opposition, he must begin reaching out to former friends who have become his enraged opponents to mend fences and rally them behind him. His choice of a running mate will also make or break his dream. It remains to be seen whether the candidate will be widely accepted throughout Kenya. He must keep the Kikuyu nation in mind when selecting his running mate, as they will not let him down.
Editor’s Note: Kenya has emerged from a country that was divided along ethnic lines to one that has recently discovered its diverse strength as a nation where ethnic lines have been blurred with a common understanding that to make progress as a nation people must be united with one voice and Dr. William Ruto has positioned himself as the unifier with the singular objective to create religious, political and tribal harmony among his people.
The report was written by,
Nixon is a Kenyan citizen, a humanitarian, and a teacher by profession.