William Ruto

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William Samoei Ruto
William Ruto at WTO Public Forum 2014.jpg
Deputy President of Kenya
Assumed office
9 April 2013
President Uhuru Kenyatta
Preceded by Kalonzo Musyoka
Minister for Higher Education
In office
21 April 2010 – 19 October 2010
President Mwai Kibaki
Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Minister of Agriculture
In office
17 April 2008 – 21 April 2010
President Mwai Kibaki
Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
August 2002 – December 2002
President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi
Member of Parliament
In office
Preceded by William Morogo arap Saina
Constituency Eldoret North
Personal details
Born (1966-12-21) 21 December 1966 (age 50)
Kamagut, Rift Valley Province, Kenya
Nationality Kenyan
Political party Jubilee Party (JP) (2016–)
URP (2012–2016)
Alma mater University of Nairobi (BSc)
Religion Africa Inland Church[1]
Website deputypresident.go.ke

William Samoei arap Ruto (born 21 December 1966) is a Kenyan politician who has been Deputy President of Kenya since 2013. He served as the Acting President of Kenya between 5 and 8 October 2014 while President Uhuru Kenyatta was away at the Hague.[2] He previously served in various ministerial positions including the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Higher Education. He was Secretary General of KANU, the former ruling political party, and MP for Eldoret North Constituency between December 1997 and January 2013. He won the seat in the 1997 Kenyan election after defeating Reuben Chesire. He was appointed to the position of Assistant Minister in the Office of the President by President Daniel arap Moi in 1998. He was promoted to be Minister for Home Affairs in August 2002. He also previously served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform in the 9th Parliament.

On 4 March 2013, he was elected as Deputy President alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta. They won on a Jubilee Coalition ticket.

Ruto's case in the International Criminal Court (ICC) is currently at an advanced stage. However, it has been faced with challenges especially concerning withdrawal of key prosecution witnesses. In April 2016, the prosecution of Ruto was abandoned by the International Criminal Court.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Ruto was born 21 December 1966 in Kamagut, Uasin Gishu to Daniel Cheruiyot and Sarah Cheruiyot. He attended Kerotet Primary School for his primary school education then joined Wareng Secondary School for his Ordinary Levels education before proceeding to Kapsabet Boys, Nandi for his Advanced Levels. He then went on to receive a BSc (Botany and Zoology) from the University of Nairobi, graduating in 1990. He was also a member of Christian Union where he served as Chairman. He was ranked the best student in his class. He later enrolled for MSc in Environmental Science, graduating in 2011. He is currently pursuing a PhD from the same University.

Political career[edit]

Ruto was Organising Secretary of Youth for Kanu '92 (YK92), a group that was formed to drum up support for President Daniel arap Moi in the 1992 election.[4]

In January 2006, Ruto declared publicly that he would stand for the presidency in the next general election, scheduled for December 2007. His statement was condemned by some of his KANU colleagues, including former president Moi. Ruto sought the nomination of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) as its presidential candidate, but in the party's vote on 1 September 2007, he placed third with 368 votes, behind the winner, Raila Odinga (with 2,656 votes) and Musalia Mudavadi (with 391).[5] Ruto expressed his support for Odinga after the vote.[6] He resigned from his post as KANU secretary general on 6 October 2007.[7]

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (center) walks with Kenyan Minister of Agriculture William Ruto (left) and Kenyan environmental and political activist Wangari Maathai (right) during a tour of the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) near Nairobi, Kenya 5 August 2009.

The presidential election of December 2007 ended in an impasse. Kenya's electoral commission declared Kibaki the winner while opinion polls had clearly placed Raila Odinga in front. Raila and ODM claimed victory. In a scene that has been replicated all over Africa, Mwai Kibaki was hurriedly sworn in as the president December 2007 presidential election. Following the election and dispute over the result Kenya was engulfed by a violent political crisis. Kibaki and Odinga agreed to form a power-sharing government.[8][9] In the grand coalition Cabinet named on 13 April 2008[9] and sworn in on 17 April,[8] Ruto was appointed as Minister for Agriculture.[9]

On 21 April 2010, Ruto was transferred from the agriculture ministry and posted to the higher education ministry, swapping posts with Sally Kosgei.[10] On 24 August 2011, William Ruto was relieved of his ministerial duties, and remaining a member of parliament. He joined hands with Uhuru Kenyatta to form the Jubilee alliance for the 2013 presidential election.

On 6 October 2014 Ruto was appointed acting president of Kenya by President Uhuru Kenyatta following his summons to appear before the ICC.

International Criminal Court summons[edit]

In December 2010, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced that he was seeking summonses of six people, including Ruto over their involvement in the 2007-8 electoral violence.[11] The ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber subsequently issued a summons for Ruto at the prosecutor's request.[12] Ruto is accused of planning and organising crimes against supporters of President Kibaki's Party of National Unity. He is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity, one of each of murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution. On 23 January 2012, the ICC confirmed the charges against Ruto and Joshua Sang, in a case that also involved Uhuru Kenyatta Francis Muthaura Henry Kosgey and Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali.

He told the American government that the Kiambaa church fire on 1 January 2008 after the 2007 Kenyan general election was accidental.[13]

The Waki Commission report stated in 2009 that "the incident which captured the attention of both Kenyans and the world was the deliberate burning alive of mostly Kikuyu women and children huddled together in a church" in Kiambaa on 1 January 2008.

The death toll was 17 burned alive in the church, 11 dying in or on the way to hospital, 54 others suffered various injuries and were treated and discharged.

In April 2016, the prosecution of Ruto was abandoned by the International Criminal Court.[3]


KPC Ngong forest land scandal[edit]

Ruto at the 54th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference.

William Ruto was on trial charged with defrauding the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) of huge amounts of money through dubious land deals, but he has been out on bond. The Constitutional Court suspended further hearing of the case due to complaints by Ruto that the prosecution was politically engineered. However, the High Court cleared the path for criminal charges against the Higher Education minister over the alleged sale of a piece of land in Ngong' forest to Kenya Pipeline Company Ltd.[14][15] He was however acquitted of the allegations after a court cleared him of the charges.[16]

Maize scandal[edit]

In early 2009 after parliamentary debate on a maize scandal, Ruto was accused of illegally selling maize by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale. Fake documents bearing the National Cereals and Produce Board seal that linked Mr Ruto to the illegal sale of maize were rejected by Parliament’s deputy speaker.

William Ruto attributed the maize scandal allegations and claims of his involvement in corruption to the work of his "political enemies".

Lang'ata Primary Land Scandal[edit]

In early 2015, William Ruto was accused of illegally acquiring land belonging to Lang'ata Road Primary School to pave way for a car parking lot for a hotel allegedly belonging to him. The incident, which was widely reported around the world,[17] showed pictures of hapless pupils being teargassed.[18] Ruto denied his involvement in the land saga but later admitted that he owned the hotel that had allegedly grabbed the school's playground.[19] So wide was the outrage against the treatment of children at Lang'ata Road Primary School that the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Land in Kenya gave a statement that said the hotel that had grabbed the school land belonged to some Singh brothers. At a press conference in her office, Mrs Ngilu named Nairobi businessmen Mandip Singh Amrit, Manjit Singh Amrit, Harbans Singh Amrit and Kamal Prakash Amrit as the owners of the company linked to the controversial acquisition of Lang’ata Road Primary School land.[20]

New constitution[edit]

While Ruto and Odinga were both from the Orange Democratic Movement of the power-sharing government, they disagreed on the issue of the proposed constitution draft, with Ruto calling for rejection of the draft in the upcoming constitutional referendum, arguing that some of its clauses are unsuitable, while Odinga and Kibaki campaigned for the constitution, which won with a majority


  1. ^ Fouere, Marie-Aude; Mwangi, Susan (16 June 2015). Kenya's Past as Prologue: Voters, Violence and the 2013 General Election. Twaweza Communications. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-9966-028-51-8. 
  2. ^ Uhuru Kenyatta appoints William Ruto acting president as he heads to The Hague for ICC status conference, By Standard Reporter; Updated Monday, 6 October 2014 [1]
  3. ^ a b "International criminal court abandons case against William Ruto". The Guardian. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Daily Nation, 18 November 2002: He was first elected as a member of parliament for Eldoret North in 1997 through KANU ticket after defeating the incumbent Reuben Chesire. He previously served as the Secretary-General for KANU following the party’s 2005 national elections till 2007 when he formally quit to join the Orange Democratic Movement Lobby groups resurface to cash in on election euphoria
  5. ^ "It's Raila for President", East African Standard, 1 September 2007.
  6. ^ Maina Muiruri, "ODM ‘pentagon’ promises to keep the team intact", The Standard (Kenya), 2 September 2007.
  7. ^ Daily Nation, 7 October 2007: Ruto abandons Kanu’s top post
  8. ^ a b "Odinga sworn in as Kenya PM", Al Jazeera, 17 April 2008.
  9. ^ a b c Anthony Kariuki, "Kibaki names Raila PM in new Cabinet", nationmedia.com, 13 April 2008.
  10. ^ Kenya's cabinet reshuffled IOL
  11. ^ "Kenya's post election violence: ICC Prosecutor presents cases against six individuals for crimes against humanity" (PDF). Encyclopedia of Things. International Criminal Court. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Decision on the Prosecutor's Application for Summons to Appear for William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang (PDF), International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber II, retrieved 12 July 2011 
  13. ^ Ruto explains Kiambaa Wikileaks
  14. ^ The Standard, 2 July 2006: Litany of big money graft cases pending in courts
  15. ^ The Standard, 29 June 2004: Ruto now charged with Sh96m fraud
  16. ^ Gaitho, Macharia. (12 April 2011) Is it a quick return to the Cabinet for William Ruto? – Daily Nation. Nation.co.ke. Retrieved on 2016-10-11.
  17. ^ "Kenyan Police Accused Of Tear-Gassing Schoolchildren In Protest Over Playground". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Kenya school children tear gassed over playground". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  19. ^ "Standard Digital News – KTN Home: Deputy President William Ruto admits to have "interests" at the controversial Weston hotel". KTN News. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  20. ^ "Charity Ngilu names firm linked to school land controversy". www.nation.co.ke. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 

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