William Kipchirchir Samoei arap Ruto
Date of Birth: 21/12/1966
Place of Birth: Sambut Village, Kamagut, Uasin Gishu, Kenya
Education: Sambut Primary School, A Levels, Wareng Secondary School, Eldoret, Kapabet Boys High School, 1985-86. BSc in Botany and Zoology, University of Nairobi, 1987-1990.
Career: Teacher, Sirgoi Secondary School, North Rift; Kamagut Secondary School, North Rift. Founded African Venture Tours and Hotels, 1990. Elected to Parliament for the Kenya African National Union as MP for Eldoret North, 1997; appointed Home Affairs Minister, 2002; joined the Orange Democratic Movement, 2005; ran for nomination as ODM presidential candidate, 2007, but was beaten by Raila Odinga; Minister for Agriculture, 2008-10; Minister for Higher Education, 2010.
Married Rachel Chebet, a teacher, in 1991 and they have six children.
Commentary: Known for his political savvy and ruthless ambition, William Ruto has managed to propel himself from relative insignificance to a position of importance within the Kenyan Government.
Born in Kamagut in 1966, in many ways, Ruto is the ultimate self-made politician. Born into poverty in the Rift Valley, he sold peanuts on the Eldoret highway to supplement the family income. Graduating from the University of Nairobi with a general science degree, Ruto soon became involved with the Cyrus Jirongo-led Youth for Kenyan African National Union '92, an outfit hastily put together to campaign for Daniel arap Moi's re-election in that first multiparty election. KANU's success saw Ruto appointed Assistant Minister for Provincial Administration, and then Minister of Home Affairs.
His relationship with Moi, who feared his ambition, was not always an easy one, but Ruto supported Moi's decision to back Uhuru Kenyatta's bid to lead KANU in 2002. Following KANU's defeat in the 2002 election, together with Uhuru Kenyatta, he broke ranks with the Nicholas Biwott faction in KANU and in the run-up to the 2005 constitutional referendum, joined Raila Odinga in the ODM.
He put himself forward as a presidential candidate in 2007, but he was beaten to the ODM nomination by Odinga. He marshalled votes in the Kalenjin community during the election, garnering significant support for the ODM. A report produced by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights accuses Ruto of inciting, planning and financing ethnically motivated violent activity in the aftermath of the 2007 elections. He is even quoted as saying that the Kalenjin would uproot outsiders and burn them. The Philip Waki Report, which Ruto condemned as unsubstantiated, also implicated him in the violence.
The International Criminal Court in the Hague and its Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, finally charged Ruto and five others in 2011 with crimes against humanity. That did not, however, stop Ruto standing on a joint ticket with Kenyatta in the 2013 presidential elections. Despite the charges, the two won the elections and were sworn into office on 9 April 2013. Vice-President Ruto, like President Kenyatta, is also due to appear at the ICC later this year although the date and place of any such trial are increasingly likely to be moved.
Vol 55 N0 15
President Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto are stepping up pressure on the opposition after they blamed 'local political networks' for the mid-June attacks in Mpeketoni near Lamu...
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Although the Somali Islamist militia Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attacks, Deputy Prime Minister William Ruto insisted they were the work of unnamed opposition politicians...
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On leaving a cabinet retreat a fortnight ago, Kenyatta announced that he and his deputy, William Ruto, would take a 20% pay cut, along with their cabinet...
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KENYA | UNITED STATES
Rumours and accusationsIn the months that followed, Kenyatta and William Ruto set about demonising the British government and its High Commissioner, Christian Turner...
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When, late last year Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto visited Eldoret, the hotbed of Kalenjin politics, Keter repeated his allegations of high-level official corruption and added that the new government was not giving Kalenjin people an equal share of public appointments – or government tenders...
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ECONOMY | AFRICA
Political worries persist among some investors, who point to Kenya’s involvement in Somalia and South Sudan, as well as the political row over President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto’s International Criminal Court trials...
Vol 55 N0 1
Will President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto win their confrontation with the International Criminal Court...
Vol 54 N0 23
Leading lights of civil society challenged the eligibility of Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, to contest the March presidential election...
Vol 54 N0 21
Yet his deputy, William Ruto, who is currently on trial at the ICC, could lose out in any back-room deal that helps his boss...
Vol 54 N0 20
As Kenyatta was making his unity speeches, his diplomats were working to get the ICC trial of Deputy President William Ruto suspended, so that he could return to Nairobi to help manage the crisis...