William Ruto

William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto (born 21 December 1966) is a Kenyan politician and the Deputy President of Kenya since 2013. He served as the Acting President of Kenya between 6 and 8 October 2014 when President Uhuru Kenyatta was at the Hague. He previously served in various ministerial positions, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology. He was Secretary General of 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 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. Ruto also previously served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform in the 9th Parliament.

William Kipchirchir Samoei arap Ruto
William Ruto at WTO Public Forum 2014.jpg
Deputy President of Kenya
Assumed office
9 April 2013
PresidentUhuru Kenyatta
Preceded byKalonzo Musyoka
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 bySally Kosgei
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
Preceded byReuben Chesire
Succeeded byConstituency abolished[1]
ConstituencyEldoret North
Personal details
Born (1966-12-21) 21 December 1966 (age 53)
Kamagut, Rift Valley Province, Kenya
Political partyJubilee (2016–present)
URP (2012–2016)
(m. 1991)
Alma materUniversity of Nairobi (PhD, MSc & BSc)

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 International Criminal Court (ICC) for their involvement in Kenya's 2007–08 political violence. However, the ICC case was faced with challenges especially concerning withdrawal of key prosecution witnesses. In April 2016, the International Criminal Court dropped the charges against Ruto.[2]

In the August 2017 Kenyan general election, Uhuru and Ruto were declared victors of the election with 54%. 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 vote. The Supreme Court upheld the results of this second election.[3] In December 2018, Ruto graduated from the University of Nairobi with a Ph.D in Plant Ecology. His thesis was titled Influence of human activities on land use and changes on environmental quality of riparian ecosystems: A case study of Saiwa Swamp watershed, Western Kenya.[4]

Early life and educationEdit

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’. 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 careerEdit

Ruto began his political career by vying for various KANU (then Kenya's ruling party) branch party positions.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13][14] Ruto served as treasurer of YK'92[15] and learned the ropes of Kenyan politics there. He is also believed to have accumulated some wealth in this period.[16]

After the 1992 elections, President Moi disbanded YK'92.[17] 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.[18][19] After this, he would later gain favour with Moi and be appointed KANU Director of Elections.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]

In 2005, Kenya held a constitutional referendum which KANU opposed.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26] 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).[27] Ruto expressed his support for Odinga after the vote.[28] As KANU under Uhuru Kenyatta moved to support Kibaki,[29] he resigned from his post as KANU secretary general on 6 October 2007.[30]

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.[31][32] In the grand coalition Cabinet named on 13 April 2008[32] and sworn in on 17 April,[31] Ruto was appointed as Minister for Agriculture.[32] Ruto also became the Eldoret North's Member of Parliament from 2008 to 4th March 2013.[33]

On 21 April 2010, Ruto was transferred from the Agriculture ministry and posted to the Higher Education ministry, swapping posts with Sally Kosgei.[34] 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.[35][36]

International Criminal Court summonsEdit

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.[37] The ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber subsequently issued a summons for Ruto at the prosecutor's request.[38] 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.[39]

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.[2]


KPC Ngong forest land scandalEdit

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

Ruto was put 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.[40][41] 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[42], the police re-opened investigations in the case.[43]

Corruption AllegationsEdit

Ruto has faced various allegations of corruption and land grabbing.[44] His erstwhile ally turned bitter nemesisRaila 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.[45] He has also faced accusations of grabbing land from a primary school in Nairobi [46] and land meant for a sewerage treatment plant in Ruai, Nairobi.[47] 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.

Personal Life and WealthEdit

Ruto married Rachel Chebet in 1991. The young couple first lived in Dagoretti South where they got their first child. They now have 9 children. [49] Ruto acknowledged a daughter with an ex-college lover Prisca Bett in 2017.[50] 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.[51] He has been described a Kenyan Shilling billionaire.[52]

Assassination AttemptEdit

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.[53] 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.[54][55] Several hours later on 30 July, Kenya Police chief Joseph Boinnet announced that the attacker was shot dead and the situation was under control.[56]


  1. ^ "Ruto allies handed heavy defeat in Uasin Gishu". Standard Digital. 20 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "International criminal court abandons case against William Ruto". The Guardian. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  3. ^ https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/20/kenya-supreme-court-upholds-repeat-presidential-vote.html
  4. ^ https://citizentv.co.ke/news/its-dr-william-ruto-now-deputy-president-graduates-with-a-phd-224149/
  5. ^ "William Samoei Arap Ruto". Africa Confidential. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  6. ^ "I failed PhD exam, admits DP William Ruto". Business Today. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Plant Species Diversity and Composition of Two Wetlands in the Nairobi National Park, Kenya | Journal of Wetlands Ecology". www.nepjol.info. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  8. ^ https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/a-brief-profile-of-dp-william-ruto-photos-3365/
  9. ^ https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/a-brief-profile-of-dp-william-ruto-photos-3365/
  10. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24017899
  11. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/Inside-story-of-infamous-lobby-that-defended-Moi/1056-3224140-6lpve/index.html
  12. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-crisis-forest/ghost-of-moi-surfaces-in-kenyas-violence-idUSHUL08142020080111
  13. ^ https://www.the-star.co.ke/counties/western/2016-06-07-jirongo-downplays-report-on-yk92-mission-during-moi-era/
  14. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24017899
  15. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-crisis-forest/ghost-of-moi-surfaces-in-kenyas-violence-idUSHUL08142020080111
  16. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24017899
  17. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/How-Moi-created-then-decimated-youth-lobby/1064-3245816-gclqn8z/index.html
  18. ^ Courting the Kalenjin: The Failure of Dynasticism and the Strength of the ODM Wave in Kenya's Rift Valley Province, Gabrielle Lynch, African Affairs, Vol. 107, No. 429 (Oct., 2008), pp. 541-568
  19. ^ https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2020-02-04-mzee-moi-was-vicious-interesting-fellow-dp-ruto/
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  21. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24017899
  22. ^ https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000071980/how-ruto-rose-to-be-influential-personality-in-kenyan-politics
  23. ^ https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/a-brief-profile-of-dp-william-ruto-photos-3365/
  24. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/nov/22/kenya.davidfickling
  25. ^ https://www.cmi.no/publications/2368-of-oranges-and-bananas
  26. ^ https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/a-brief-profile-of-dp-william-ruto-photos-3365/
  27. ^ "It's Raila for President", East African Standard, 1 September 2007.
  28. ^ Maina Muiruri, "ODM ‘pentagon’ promises to keep the team intact"[permanent dead link], The Standard (Kenya), 2 September 2007.
  29. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/1056-209052-lv8bo7z/index.html
  30. ^ Daily Nation, 7 October 2007: Ruto abandons Kanu’s top post
  31. ^ a b "Odinga sworn in as Kenya PM", Al Jazeera, 17 April 2008.
  32. ^ a b c Anthony Kariuki, "Kibaki names Raila PM in new Cabinet"[permanent dead link], nationmedia.com, 13 April 2008.
  33. ^ "William Ruto, EGH, EBS". Mzalendo. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  34. ^ Kenya's cabinet reshuffled IOL.[dead link]
  35. ^ Kingwara, Caleb; Nyabundi, Dalton (8 September 2018). "DP William Ruto downplays his forays in Nyanza". Standard Digital News.
  36. ^ Nandiemo, Vivere (8 September 2018). "William Ruto faults critics of his political meetings". Daily Nation.
  37. ^ "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.
  38. ^ 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
  39. ^ Ruto explains Kiambaa Wikileaks
  40. ^ The Standard, 2 July 2006: Litany of big money graft cases pending in courts[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ The Standard, 29 June 2004: Ruto now charged with Sh96m fraud
  42. ^ https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001317780/uhuru-ruto-clash-in-fight-against-graft
  43. ^ https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001357470/state-reopens-2004-ruto-land-fraud-case
  44. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/ruto-denies-allegations-of-corruption-and-land-grabbing/1064-3395904-erdc3y/index.html
  45. ^ https://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/William-Ruto-Allies-Corruption-Suspension-Uhuru-Kenyatta/1950946-2669232-format-xhtml-7c47p7/index.html
  46. ^ https://citizentv.co.ke/news/i-own-weston-hotel-dp-william-ruto-says-87708/
  47. ^ https://www.k24tv.co.ke/news/state-repossesses-1600-acre-land-in-ruai-linked-to-ruto-19919/
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  49. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/1056-209052-lv8bo7z/index.html
  50. ^ https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019-11-18-dp-rutos-daughter-abby-scores-406-marks/
  51. ^ https://www.sde.co.ke/thenairobian/article/2000224690/william-ruto-how-he-rose-from-roadside-kuku-seller-to-multi-billionaire
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  54. ^ "Kenya Deputy President Ruto's home entered by knifeman". BBC News. 29 July 2017.
  55. ^ "More police sent to fight attacker at DP Ruto's home". Daily Nation. 30 July 2017.
  56. ^ "Kenya police kill gunman at Deputy President Ruto's home". Citifm Online. 30 July 2017.

External linksEdit