William Ruto: from “scammer” to new president of Kenya | Africa | DW
For 55-year-old President William Samoei Ruto, landing Kenya’s highest office was difficult. After all, the outspoken politician defied all the odds, including a snub from his former boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, to rise to the country’s highest office.
Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC), said Ruto won almost 7.18 million votes (50.49%) against 6.94 million (48.85%) for his rival Raila Odinga in the August 9 vote.
The announcement follows a statement by the IEBC vice president and three other commissioners disavowing the election results.
“We cannot take ownership of the outcome that will be announced,” said Juliana Cherera, deputy chair of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), calling the process “opaque”.
William Ruto overcame a tough battle with Raila Odinga to become president of Kenya
A demonstration that remained without concrete consequences, but which, according to political observers, will continue to provoke political conflict in this East African country.
The incumbent has backed Ruto’s main rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga. But even that wasn’t enough to stop the “nation of hustlers” – a term coined by Ruto to refer to most of Kenya’s informal sector workers.
Ruto is committed to implementing a new bottom-up business model. But it remains to be seen how precisely this will work.
His party manifesto also calls for drastic economic changes to help those less fortunate. Additionally, Ruto promised to create a cabinet that is evenly split between men and women.
In a recent interview with DW, Ruto talked about his plan to transform the agricultural sector to ensure food security.
“Agriculture is the most important sector we have in Kenya… There is absolutely no reason why we cannot produce enough food. There is no reason why 4 million Kenyans are starving,” he said.
Ruto enjoyed massive support from President Kenyatta’s Central Region
William Ruto was born on December 21, 1966 in Sambut Village, Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County. He completed his primary education at Kerotet Primary School. He then attended Wareng High School before transferring to Kapsabet Boys High School in Nandi County.
In 1990, he graduated in botany and zoology from the University of Nairobi, where he would later obtain his doctorate.
An avowed Christian, Ruto, met the late President Daniel Arap Moi at a religious event. Moi is credited with exposing Ruto to Kenyan politics in 1992, after the country transitioned to multiparty democracy.
His humble beginnings – Ruto says he sold live chickens to make ends meet in his youth – seemed to have resonated well with Kenyan voters, who are currently struggling with the rising cost of living.
But President Ruto is a different person from the boy who got his first pair of shoes at age 15. Today, Ruto is one of the wealthiest Kenyans, with a 2,500 acre ranch, huge poultry farm and hotel investments. industry.
Many unemployed young Kenyans identify with Ruto’s humble background
Political rise, fall and rise again
Ruto launched his political career through the Youth for KANU ’92 lobby, which supported the late President Daniel Arap Moi, the president, in Kenya’s first multiparty elections in 1992.
After KANU was defeated in 2002, Ruto reinvented himself and later teamed up with Odinga in the disputed 2007 elections, which turned violent.
Post-election violence left more than 1,000 dead and displaced hundreds of thousands more. As a result, the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Ruto and Kenyatta, accusing them both of committing human rights violations. However, the ICC dropped its charges in 2016.
Raila Odinga’s fifth presidential defeat most likely seals his political ambitions
Feud with Uhuru Kenyatta
In The Hague, Ruto and Uhuru tied the knot and later ran for president – Kenyatta as his candidate and Ruto as his deputy – in 2013. They won that vote against Raila Odinga, which would make the loss more painful for Odinga.
In 2017, he and incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta were running mates for the second time and won re-election again.
The two then began to fall out in what was still unclear. Ruto and Kenyatta separated in 2021, and he was endorsed in March by the UDA party to contest the presidential vote.
William Ruto has served as Kenya’s vice president since 2013. He previously served as minister of interior, minister of agriculture and minister of higher education.
Ruto is married to Rachel Chebet, and the two have seven children.
Edited by Keith Walker