Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto is making his first stab at the presidency that is however not to say he is a newcomer to Kenya’s politics. He has been part of the country’s politics for 30 years albeit in different roles.
Dr. William Samoei Ruto joined politics in 1992 while still a university student, drumming up support for the then President Daniel Arap Moi under the Youth for Kanu ’92, a youth wing for the then ruling party KANU.
Then in the following elections in 1997, he vied and won a parliamentary seat in his Eldoret home town….in 2002, he supported Uhuru Kenyatta’s bid for the presidency but Kenyatta lost to Mwai Kibaki.
He was later to join hands with Raila Odinga in 2007, in opposing Mwai Kibaki’s re-election bid. Kibaki went on to win in a disputed election that led to the post-election violence in which 1 100 people were killed and thousands displaced.
When the International Criminal Court came calling, Kenyatta and Ruto were charged with committing crimes against humanity but the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence to sustain both cases.
that gave birth to a political marriage of convenience between Ruto and Kenyatta, which saw Kenyatta elected president in 2013 and 2017.
In 2018 , the break up between the two started when Kenyatta reached out to his political rival Raila Odinga for a truce. Ruto told SABC in a press conference in July that Kenyatta told him he wanted to build his legacy with a new team.
“The President asked me he wanted a different team to assist him, he signed an executive order that changed the government I no longer chaired the committees of cabinet, I no longer participated in making crucial decisions so it is just as it is,” said Ruto in the interview with SABC.
A dejected Ruto dug in his heels and launched his presidential bid in March this year.
The 55-year-old leader is ambitious and a go-getter, according to political analyst prof. Gitile Naituli.
“William Ruto is a hardworking Kenyan, he’s an extremely Brilliant Kenyan and I think he is brainy,” says Prof. Naituli.
He is running on a mantra of lifting up the poor – the so called hustlers however he is wealthy and so is his running mate Rigathi Gachagua. His opponent Raila Odinga accuses him of being corrupt Ruto however says he is clean and so are his foot soldiers.
“All they are running the people around me is propaganda and they are trying to intimidate people not to work with me,” adding that allegations of corruption against him are political witchhunt.
The fallout with his boss Uhuru Kenyatta is complete with Kenyatta now fully backing Odinga.
So can Ruto ascend to the presidency on his first attempt? Prof. Naituli believes it is possible.
“He still could win the elections because this is a democracy and I can tell you his hustler narrative can capture the imagination of Kenyans,” concludes Prof. Naituli.
The date with destiny is Tuesday, August 9th.
A look at Deputy President William Ruto’s political career: