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How Ruto rose to be influential personality in Kenyan politics

By - Beauttah Omanga Updated Monday, December 3rd 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3
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Cabinet Minister Sam Ongeri, MP Aden Duale and URP Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo at the TNA-URP pre-poll coalition launch at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, on Sunday.

By Beauttah Omanga

Eldoret North MP William Ruto cut his political teeth working as member of the Kanu Youth League then under the leadership of Prof Julia Ojiambo.

Prof Ojiambo was instrumental in the consolidation and formation of the once powerful Kanu women and youth leagues.

Youth for Kanu 92 (YK 92), whose other members were Cyrus Jirongo and Gerald Bomet, was instrumental in the re-election of president Moi in the first multiparty polls in 1992.

Kanu trounced a powerful but fragmented opposition led by the late Oginga Odinga (Ford Kenya) and Kenneth Matiba (Ford Asili).

But it is the wresting of the position of Uasin Gishu Kanu chairman from former assistant minister Reuben Chesire before and later Eldoret North parliamentary seat from him that marked his entry into the region’s – and by extension – national politics.

He was later appointed Kanu’s Director of Elections, an influential position, which gave him a leading role in shaping of the Moi succession.

He was in charge of the list of delegates who participated in the infamous March 18, 2002, National Delegates Conference at the Kasarani gymnasium.

Change of guard

While presiding over a funds drive in Chris Obure’s Bobasi constituency, Ruto had declared “Kanu is not going to carry out nominations for a flag bearer because a decision had been made” that it will be Uhuru Kenyatta.

During the Kasarani meeting, Uhuru Kenyatta was nominated presidential candidate and party chairman, with Julius Sunkuli taking the secretary general post and Ruto the organising secretary slot.

The change of guard led to disintegration of the alliance between Kanu and Raila Odinga’s National Development Party (NDP).

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