Deputy President Dr. William Samoei Ruto has transitioned from a presidential aspirant to a presidential candidate after presenting his nomination papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) at the Bomas of Kenya in his quest to clinch presidency on August 9.
Ruto who was born on December 21, 1966 in Kamagut village, 15 kms from Eldoret began his political journey as chicken seller but worked his way hard and rising through the ranks to become the country’s second in command.
He passed his exams well and joined Wareng Boys High School in Eldoret in 1981 and later moved to Kapsabet Boys High School for his “A” level studies in 1985.
In 1986, the leader of UDA party joined the University of Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany and Zoology and graduated in 1990.
Ruto went back to the University of Nairobi and graduated with a Master of Science degree in 2011 and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Plant Ecology in 2018.
But his political star began shining when he was part of a group of young Kenyans led by Cyrus Jirongo (former MP for Lugari) Fred Amayo, Gerald Bommet and Sam Nyamweya. The famous Youth for Kanu ‘92 (YK ‘92) that campaigned for President Daniel Moi’s re-election in 1992.
YK’92 opened an opportunity that Ruto seized and worked with the party secretariat at KICC under Prof Julia Ojiambo. He interacted with moneyed politicians and built his profile as a hard working and trusted party youth who ran errands for top officials at the KICC offices.
Dr. Ruto laid his ground well and in 1997 he dislodged Benjamin Chesire from the Eldoret North parliamentary under ‘Ukweli wa Mambo’ slogan.
The late former President Moi made him an Assistant Minister in the office of the president between 1998 to 2002 and later elevated him to the full cabinet portfolio as Minister for Home Affairs for three months when ANC Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi was appointed to serve as Vice President.
Dr. Ruto would then back Uhuru Kenyatta and Mudavadi ticket in 2002 and moved to the opposition after KANU lost to Mwai Kibaki.
He was very vocal about mistreatment of the former president Moi by President Kibaki’s allies in government but later joined hands with disgruntled Kibaki supporters in the run up to 2007 elections where he backed ODM leader Raila Odinga.
But Ruto’s star shone brightest when he led the Kalenjin nation in rejecting the 2005 draft constitution making him the kingpin of the vote rich region.
He would later serve in Kibaki’s cabinet between 2008 and 2013, where he backed President Kenyatta to beat Odinga in both 2013 and 2017 elections.
— Ahmednasir Abdullahi SC (@ahmednasirlaw) June 4, 2022
But Dr. Ruto fell out with President Kenyatta soon after their re-election in 2017. Kenyatta betrayed him to work with ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Ruto being a sharp politician who has worked with Kenyatta and Odinga, he had studied the two, knew their weaknesses and exactly how to beat them.
He had pre-empted Kenyatta moves and how to counter him and his handshake brother. Ruto began planning his well oiled soon after they won elections in 2013.
He took advantage of Uhuru who became inaccessible to win the hearts of Mt. Kenya law makers whom he used to capture Kenyatta’s backyard.
Mr. Kenyatta is now backing Odinga for presidency but he is no longer a darling of his own backyard. He cant even assure Odinga 40% of the Mt. Kenya votes and he is confused whether to join him in campaigns or not.
President Kenyatta has been the biggest obstacle Ruto has beaten as keeps a steady run to win presidency in August polls. He will beat Kenyatta’s candidate in Mt. kenya.
He also managed to outwit Uhuru with Jubilee administration failures in the second term where Uhuru and Odinga concentrated in BBI politics to overhaul the constitution and create more positions for fellow dynasts and cronies.