William Ruto

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William Ruto
William Ruto at WTO Public Forum 2014.jpg
11th Deputy President of Kenya
Assumed office
9 September 2013
PresidentUhuru Kenyatta
Preceded byKalonzo Musyoks
as Vice President
Minister for Higher Education
In office
21 April 2010 – 19 October 2010
PresidentMwai Kibaki
Prime MinisterRaila Odinga
Succeeded byHellen Jepkemoi Sambili (acting)
Minister of Agriculture
In office
17 April 2008 – 21 April 2010
PresidentMwai Kibaki
Prime MinisterRaila Odinga
Preceded byKipruto Rono Arap Kirwa
Succeeded byMargret Nyambura
Minister of Home Affairs
In office
30 August 2002 – December 2002
PresidentDaniel Toroitich arap Moi
Preceded byGeorge Saitoti
Succeeded byMoody Awori
Member of Parliament
In office
1997–2013
Preceded byReuben Chesire
Succeeded byConstituency abolished[1]
ConstituencyEldoret North
Personal details
Born (1966-12-21) 21 December 1966 (age 54)
Kamagut, Rift Valley Province, Kenya
NationalityKenyan
Political partyJubilee (2016–present)
URP (2012–2016)
ODM
KANU
Spouse(s)
(m. 1991)
Children7
Alma materUniversity of Nairobi (PhD, MSc & BSc)
Websitewilliamsamoeiruto.com

William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto (born 21 December 1966) is a Kenyan politician. Currently, he is the Deputy President of Kenya, a position he has held since 2013. He served as the Acting President of Kenya between 6 and 8 October 2014 when President Uhuru Kenyatta was at the International Criminal Court (ICC), in the Hague, Netherlands. He previously served in various ministerial positions, including the Ministries of Home Affairs, Agriculture, and Higher Education Science and Technology. He was the Secretary General of the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU), the former ruling political party, and the MP for Eldoret North Constituency between December 1997 and January 2013. He won the seat in the 1997 elections 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. Ruto has also previously served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform in the 9th Parliament.

On 4 March 2013, he became the first Deputy President of Kenya, when he and Uhuru Kenyatta were declared winners of the 2013 Kenyan general election. The duo ran on a Jubilee Alliance ticket. The Jubilee Alliance was a coalition of his United Republican Party (URP) and Kenyatta's The National Alliance.

Ruto was among the list of people who were indicted to stand trial at the ICC for their involvement in Kenya's 2007/2008 political violence. However, the ICC case was faced with challenges especially concerning withdrawal of key prosecution witnesses. In April 2016, the Court dropped charges against Ruto.[2]

In the August 2017 General Elections, Uhuru and Ruto were declared victors after garnering 54% of the total votes cast. However, the Supreme Court of Kenya nullified the election and a fresh election was held in October 2017. The opposition boycotted the fresh election and Uhuru and Ruto were re-elected with 98% of the total votes cast. The Supreme Court upheld the results of this second election.[3]

In December 2018, Ruto graduated from the University of Nairobi (UoN) with a PHD on environmental quality of riparian ecosystems: A case study of Saiwa Swamp watershed, Western Kenya.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

William Ruto was born 21 December 1966 in Sambut village, Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County to Daniel Cheruiyot and Sarah Cheruiyot.[5] 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 High School in Nandi County for his Advanced Levels. He then went on to receive a BSc (Botany and Zoology) from the University of Nairobi, graduating in 1990. Ruto later enrolled for MSc in Plant Ecology, graduating in 2011. The following year, He enrolled for PhD and after several setbacks,[6] he eventually completed and was awarded a PhD from the University of Nairobi graduating on 21 December 2018. The title of his doctoral thesis was Influence of human activities on land use changes on environmental quality of riparian ecosystems: A case study of Saiwa Swamp watershed, Western Kenya.which was the best in his class and was offered a lecturing role in Harvard university which he turned down to serve the people of Kenya Ruto authored several papers including a paper titled Plant Species Diversity and Composition of Two Wetlands in the Nairobi National Park, Kenya.[7] During his time in campus for the undergraduate course, Ruto was an active member of Christian Union. He also served as the Chairman of the University of Nairobi's choir.[8]

Political career[edit]

Ruto began his political career by vying for various KANU (then Kenya's ruling party) branch party positions.[8] Through his church activities, he met his future mentor, President Daniel Arap Moi and helped to found a lobby group Youth for Kanu '92. The group that was formed to drum up support for President Daniel arap Moi in the 1992 election.[9] YK'92 was inspired by UK Labour Youth leaders and the youth wing of the Indian National Congress in its mobilization efforts for Moi's re-election.[10] However, it became notorious for hooliganism, orchestrating ethnic violence and dishing out billions of Kenya Shillings in the campaign, claims that the group continues to refute.[11][12][9] Ruto served as treasurer of YK'92[11] and learned the ropes of Kenyan politics there. He is also believed to have accumulated some wealth in this period.[9]

After the 1992 elections, President Moi disbanded YK'92.[13] Ruto however would go ahead to compete for a parliamentary seat at the 1997 Kenyan general election. He surprisingly beat the incumbent, Reuben Chesire who was the establishment and Moi's preferred candidate as well as Uasin Gishu KANU branch chairman and assistant minister.[14][15] After this, he would later gain favour with Moi and be appointed KANU Director of Elections.[16] His strong support in 2002 for Moi's preferred successor Uhuru Kenyatta saw him get an appointment as assistant minister in the Home Affairs (Interior) ministry docket. Later in that election year, as some government ministers resigned to join the opposition, he would be promoted to be the full Cabinet Minister in the ministry.[9] KANU lost the election but he retained his parliamentary seat. Ruto would thereafter be elected KANU Secretary General in 2005 with Uhuru Kenyatta getting elected as Chairman.[16]

In 2005, Kenya held a constitutional referendum which KANU opposed.[8] Some members of the ruling NARC coalition government, mainly former KANU Ministers who had joined the opposition coalition in 2002 under the LDP banner and who were disgruntled as the President Kibaki had not honoured a pre-election MoU on power-sharing and creation of a Prime Minister post, joined KANU to oppose the proposed constitution.[17] The symbol of the "No" vote was an Orange. As such, this new grouping named their movement the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Ruto was a leading light in this movement and part of its top brass dubbed, the Pentagon. He solidified his voter base in the Rift Valley Province. ODM was victorious in the election.[18]

In January 2006, Ruto declared publicly that he would vie 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. By this time, ODM had morphed into a political party.[8] 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).[19] Ruto expressed his support for Odinga after the vote.[20] As KANU under Uhuru Kenyatta moved to support Kibaki,[21] he resigned from his post as KANU secretary general on 6 October 2007.[22]

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, but Raila and ODM claimed the victory. 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.[23][24] In the grand coalition Cabinet named on 13 April 2008[24] and sworn in on 17 April,[23] Ruto was appointed as Minister for Agriculture.[24] Ruto also became the Eldoret North's Member of Parliament from 2008 to 4 March 2013.[25]

On 21 April 2010, Ruto was transferred from the Agriculture ministry and posted to the Higher Education ministry, swapping posts with Sally Kosgei.[26] On 24 August 2011, Ruto was relieved of his ministerial duties, and remaining a member of parliament. He joined 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.

It is believed he will run for the party presidency in 2022.[27][28]

Ruto has founded a "hustlers" movement which has taken Kenya politics by storm.

Former United States (US) president Barack Obama's brother Malik Obama has waded into the 2013 presidential race vowing to stand with Ruto all the way.

In an early morning tweet on Friday, June 12, Malik described the second in command as a tough, resilient and brilliant politician who had stood the test of time.

"William Ruto is tough, resilient, brilliant, and most of all kind at heart. He has stood with many who have betrayed him. I stand with the Hustler nation," he posted.[29]

Controversy[edit]

Land grabbing[edit]

Ruto has been involved in very many reported land grabbing controversies in Kenya with many victims left dead, many receiving death threats to a level most media, politicians and activists often describe him as arap-mashamba (the word being a Portmanteau of son of lands) including several Kenyan state corporations embroiled in endless litigation over the land grabs.[30][31]

Weston hotel land[edit]

Ruto has been embroiled in a land grabbing saga involving his mysterious acquisition of Weston hotel land pitted against public counter-accusations with a number of state corporations in Kenya surrounding the original ownership of the land. According to the standard, a state agency was duped into surrendering land on which Weston hotel was built.[30][32] In 2001 KCAA, which originally occupied the land, was given alternative pieces of land belonging to another state agency, the metorological department.[32] KCAA did not occupy the alternative piece of land upon which Ruto's Weston hotel was built upon. According to the state agency KCAA, a powerful cartel working in the lands ministry was involved in a conspiracy to relinquish the same piece of land with a number of lands ministry officers involved in the conspiracy.[32] In January 2019 it emerged that according to another state agency National lands commission, Ruto owed and needed to be compelled to pay the people of kenya for the land 0.773 acres opposite wilson airport upon which the Weston hotel was built. In February 2019 Ruto publicly admitted the Weston land had been acquired illegally by the original owners who sold him the land, and that he had no knowledge of matter.[33][34][35] In August 2020 Ruto offered to pay the state agency for the land[36] Later in 2020 The state agency KCAA refused to be compensated for the land and demanded demolition of the hotel because of acquisition through illegality, fraud and corruption According to the state agency's lawyers (KCAA), the public land was designated for construction of headquarters, flight path and it had been disposed of the land by impunity and Collison with private entities.[37][38][39] Later in the same month another legislator Ngunjiri Wambugu demanded all other cases in Kenya involving stolen property be thrown out as long so long as suspects were willing to compensate, in an effort to complain about preferential treatment Ruto was receiving for his involvement in the state's stolen property. In December 2020, KCB bank backed Ruto in the court battle to repossess the land fearing the loss of security against an advancement of KSH 1.2 billion in the business associated with Ruto.[40]

KPC Ngong forest land scandal[edit]

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

In 2004 Ruto was arrested and put on trial charged with defrauding another state corporation Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) of huge amounts of money through dubious land deals,[30] 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.[41][42] He was acquitted in 2011 but in 2020, as his relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta seemed to falter amid the President's push for an anti-corruption war,[43] the police re-opened investigations in the case.[44]

2007/08 Post-election violence victim's land[edit]

In June 2013, Ruto was ordered by a court to pay a victim of 2007/08 post election violence Ksh 5 million for illegally taking away his land during the post election violence.[45][30] In the same judgement Ruto was evicted from the grabbed land in Uasin Gishu. Adrian muteshi had accused Ruto of coinspiring to grab his 100-acre piece of land in Uasin Gishu during the post election violence of 2007/08, when he; Adrian had fled his own land for safety.According to the court filings, Adrian had been violently uprooted from his farm while he and his family members repeatedly received death threats.[45] In February 2014 Ruto appealed the court order to pay the ksh 5 million fine. In 2017 Ruto withdrew the appeal against the judgement. In October 2020, Adrian Muteshi died over unknown reasons having spent the his last 8 years in court fighting over his piece of land that was grabbed in Eldoret due to post-election violence and threats against his life for a Ruto-let conspiracy to take over his land using death threats and violent confrontations.[45]

Joseph murumbi 900 acre land[edit]

In October 2019 the Nation claimed Ruto's acquisition of 900-acre land of another former vice president haunted Ruto because he had been involved in irregular acquisition of the land.[46] In the same month Ruto claimed the articles were persistent and obviously sponsored Fake news by bankrupt media that are increasingly finding it difficult to sale without the name Ruto. Later in the same month a human rights lobby Activists called for investigation into mysterious acquisition of a 900 acre piece of land that formely belonged to another former vice president murumbi.[47] According to the allegations Murmubu had been involved in a loan dispute over loan defaults with a state corporation AFC against the land that was charged as a security for the loan.[47] It is alleged Murumbi defaulted the loan and AFC took over ownership of the land that was eventually sold to Ruto after he paid off the loan owed to state corporation.[47]

Corruption Allegations[edit]

Ruto has faced various allegations of corruption and land grabbing.[48] His erstwhile ally turned bitter nemesis Raila Odinga has accused him of corruption questioning the sources of the funds he dishes out at fundraisers on a regular basis. Several of his allies and aides have also been forced to resign amid corruption scandals.[49] He has also faced accusations of grabbing land from a primary school in Nairobi [50] and land meant for a sewerage treatment plant in Ruai, Nairobi.[51] Ruto has denied these allegations and stated that because he was born poor and has risen to wealth and the top levels of government despite not being part of any Kenyan dynasty.[48] President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga are the children of Jomo Kenyatta and Oginga Odinga, Kenya's first President and Vice President.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and poised fierce competitor of Ruto in 2022 Presidential elections has noted that he will arrest all corrupt individual a move that has made Kenyans think that he was referring to Ruto camp [1].

Jacob Juma Assassination Allegations[edit]

Ruto has been widely and repeatedly linked to the assassination of Jacob Juma by several media, activists, politicians, opposition figures in Kenya including Jacob Juma himself.[52][53] Jacob Juma was a wealthy businessman[54] turned fierce government critic and anti-corruption crusader who became known for targeted cryptic tweets against Ruto and the Jubilee government months before he was assassinated in Nairobi.[55][56][57] In December 2015 Jacob Juma in his tweets claimed Ruto was obsessed with killing him.[53][58] In May 2016 Jacob Juma was shot dead along Ngong Road.[59] In the same month, during the burial of Jacob Juma, a former Lugari MP Jirongo and previous close ally of Ruto claimed Jacob Juma had physically assaulted Ruto by slapping him for having a sour relationship over unspecified reasons.[60] Jirongo urged police to investigate the assassination based on the assault.[61] Later in the month Ruto threatened to sue Jirongo for linking him to the assassination.[62][63] Jirongo claimed that he and another former minister Chris Okemo were personally involved in paying the murdered government critic university's tuition fees, and that he knew the matter surrounding the controversy all too well.[60] According to Jirongo the same assassins involved in the murder of Meshack Yebei, another murdered prospective defence witness in the ICC trial against Ruto, were also involved in the murder of Jacob Juma.[60]

In June 2016 Canadian Financial post and the standard reported that Jacob Juma was a director of a Canadian company, Pacific Wildcat whose license to explore $2 billion dollar worth of minerals in Kwale, Kenya was cancelled just after Jubilee government took over.[64][65] This cancellation led Jacob Juma to call a press conference where he claimed that then Mining minister Najib Balala was demanding a bribe to have the cancelled license re-issued to the company. This cancellation led Jacob Juma into personal financial ruin, it was reported he was routinely borrowing money and became a fierce government critic after he felt shortchanged out of the mining license that eventually caused his company to lose money.[66] According to a different company official of the same Canadian company, Ruto and Balala demanded transfer of the mining company's license to a new company with the kenyan government to receive a 50% stake in the new company for free.[64][65] This eventually led Jacob Juma to become fiercely critical of Ruto and the Jubilee government in tweets, media interviews, court filings and political correspondence with opposition figures as well as diplomatic missions in kenya.[56][67] It later emerged Jacob Juma had promised the board of the Canadian company Pacific Wildcat that he would fight bureaucratic delays as well as corruption that would stand in the way of getting the mining license. A high court ruling in kenya found that the Mining minister was right to cancel the license of the Canadian company.[68]

In October 2016 Activist Boniface Mwangi, also linked Ruto to the assassination.[69][70] In the same month Ruto sued the activist for defamation. According to Ruto's lawyer, the claims by the activist had lowered Ruto's standing and estimation among Kenya's high thinking people.[70]

In December 2016, one of the personnel from Ruto's office was reported to also link Ruto to the assassination by delivering a letter to activist Boniface Mwangi in order to help with his defamation case against Ruto by providing details of the murder by persons in Ruto's office.[71][72] In the same month it was reported that the personnel was to be charged in court for extortion.[72] An investigating officer claimed that the arrested personnel from Ruto's office claimed that another personnel in Ruto's office called Rono had credible information that Activist Mwangi could be killed in a stage-managed road accident.[73] The arrested personnel from Ruto's office was later sent for mental check up after he further claimed that he was coached to lie about his claims of Jacob Juma's murder by the activist boniface mwangi.[73]

In February 2017 it was reported that Mwangi claimed Ruto wants him dead like he killed Jacob Juma. Mwangi wanted state security against threats from a commissioned team using extra-judicial means to silence him.[74][75]

Assassination Attempt[edit]

On 28 July 2017, Ruto's home in Sugoi village near Eldoret was targeted by at least one attacker armed with machete and a police officer guarding the residence was injured during the attack.[76] During the time of the attack, he and his family were not at the compound as he had left hours earlier for a campaign rally in Kitale. There were also reports of gunfire and several security sources said the attack was staged by multiple people using guns. Police also thought there are a few attackers initially because the attacker used different firearms.[77][78] Several hours later on 30 July, Kenya Police chief Joseph Boinnet announced that the attacker was shot dead and the situation was under control.[79]

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.[80] The ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber subsequently issued a summons for Ruto at the prosecutor's request.[81] Ruto was accused of planning and organising crimes against supporters of President Kibaki's Party of National Unity. He was 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.[citation needed] He told the American government that the Kiambaa church fire on 1 January 2008 after the 2007 Kenyan general election was accidental.[82] 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. In April 2016, the prosecution of Ruto was abandoned by the International Criminal Court.[2]

Personal Life and Wealth[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Ruto was born on 21 December 1966 in Sambut Village, Kamagut in Uasin Gishu County, Rift Valley. He married his wife Rachel Chebet in 1991. The young couple first lived in Dagoretti South where they had their first child, Nick Ruto. They now have 9 children.[21] Ruto acknowledged a daughter with an ex-college lover Prisca Bett in 2017.[83] His daughter June Ruto was married to a Nigerian prince Dr. Alexander Ezanagu at his Karen residence in Nairobi.

Wealth[edit]

Ruto and the Second lady own an expansive farm in Sugoi. He also owns interest in various real estate developments in Kenya including the Weston Hotel and a large interest in AMACO, an insurance company.[84] He has been described a Kenyan Shilling billionaire.[84]

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External links[edit]

  • BBC News, Kenya's political punch-up
  • Kahura, Dauti; Akech, Akoko (6 November 2020). "Hustler mentality". africasacountry.com. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  • William Ruto, William Ruto – Profile and Biography