William Ruto: The Man who has never lost an election

William Ruto

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has just declared William Samoei Arap Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza Coalition as the President-Elect.

He campaigned under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party where he garnered 7,176,141, this represents 50.49 per cent of the votes cast against his closest political rival Raila Odinga, who received 6,942,930 votes representing 48.85 per cent.

Born on December 21st,1966 at   Kamagut village, Uasin Gishu County to a peasant family. Ruto has always termed himself as a ‘Hustler ’ having been raised in a poor humble background where he was considered a staunch Christian.

The president-elect is happily married to the First Lady designate; Rachael Ruto and is blessed with seven children.

Many will ask, who is William Samoei Arap Ruto? Having made history today by going against the odds to be declared the president in waiting.

We explore his political journey from a chicken seller back in the days to the president-elect.

Political Analyst Ambrose Weda termed Ruto as a political strategist who is above many politicians in Kenya.

Mr Weda pointed out in a recent TV interview that the hustler narrative is something that resonates well with the youth and it was something that the political power brokers should be worried about.

Today Ruto has made a continental historic political landmark to be elected as president on a first attempt.

This is something that no sitting and living leaders in Africa have ever achieved but the son of a peasant farmer has made it a reality.

After graduating with a degree in Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi, he would soon embark on a political arena when he joined the Youth for KANU better known as YK 92. in 1992.

This was a political wing that propelled the late President Daniel Arap Moi to be re-elected back in the office the same year.

The majority of the political icons like Cyrus Shakhalaga Khwa Jirongo, popularly Cyrus Jirongo would recall the YK92 as a powerful political vehicle feared by most opposition politicians.

In 1997 Ruto will clinch the Eldoret North parliamentary seat on a KANU ticket by flooring the then political magnet Rueben Chesire.

This victory cements his relationship with Kenya’s second president, Moi and would later earn him the position of director of elections on the KANU party in 1998.

Four years later in 2002, he was the captain of the team that sought to campaign Uhuru Kenyatta and introduce him to the national political arena.

Despite the state backing machinery KANU camp would suffer a big loss to Mwai Kibaki who took office as Kenya’s third president under the umbrella of NARC.

A coalition that wanted to end Moi’s 24 rule and introduce a new breed of leadership.

Three years later, in 2015 he will be elected as the Secretary General of the KANU party. A year later in 2006 declare his interest in the presidency and teamed up with Raila Odinga.

Ruto came third during the ODM party nominations, he would however contest for the Eldoret North MP seat once again and win.

Raila would clinch the party ticket in the presidential race and he campaigned for the ODM party in his Rift Valley backyard.

In 2007 in a disputed General Elections that would see the country sink into political violence.

He was among the prominent politicians and government officials that were linked to the violence after the investigations conducted by the International Criminal Court, ICC.

They were better known as the ‘Ocampo Six’and indicted by the ICC in 2013 for crimes against humanity.

Due to lack of evidence, the ICC would eventually terminate the charges against Ruto in 2016.

The peace-brokered deal by the late Koffi Annan would lead to the formation of the Grand Coalition government made up of ODM under Raila Odinga and the Party of National Unity led by the late president Mwai Kibaki.

Ruto will soon be rewarded for his loyalty when he was appointed as the Minister for Agriculture and later appointed Minister for Higher Education.

Corruption scandals were it was alleged by then Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission that he had received     However, that same year he was relieved of his duties as minister over allegations of corruption.

The accused Ruto of allegedly receiving Ksh.96 million, being proceeds accruing from the illegal sale of land belonging to the Ministry of Environment.

He was also implicated in the maize scandal while serving as Minister for Agriculture in 2009.

He has always termed these allegations as politically motivated.

 In 2011 he parted ways with ODM under Raila Odinga’s leadership and formed the United Republican Party.

Ruto would later he teamed up with Uhuru Kenyatta to form a Coalition with The National Alliance Party (TNA) in 2012.

They would later win the 2013 General Election despite the ICC hanging over their heads.

Three years later in 2016, the duo would merge their parties to form the Jubilee Alliance.

A party that saw them re-elected in 2017. Their victory was short-lived when the Supreme Court nullified the presidential results and called for a re-run, which was boycotted by the Odinga camp.

They cited that there would be no credibility and the electoral body was not fit to conduct the elections.

Despite the Jubilee Party winning in a landslide, the opposition mounted a political protest that crippled the country’s economy for almost 6 months.

Uhuru Kenyatta would later offer an olive branch to Raila as a way of uniting the country to what is famously known as the March 2018-Hand Shake.

This saw the two political competitors restore peace and Odinga earned himself a government appointment at the African Union.

Ruto would later be isolated by his boss-Kenyatta during their second term.

The political handshake would create the Building Bridges Initiative [BBI].

But as a political genius, Ruto will rally his political lieutenants from National Assembly to defeat the BBI, terming it as a dynasty strategy of creating positions for themselves.

In 2021, Ruto broke ties with the Uhuru-led Jubilee Party and declared his affiliation with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

In  2022 he will mount a campaign  together with his running mate,Rigathi Gachangua that  emerge winners  in the presidential race to state house.

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