Rachel Ruto, Kenya's new First Lady

President-elect William Ruto with his wife Rachel Ruto during the 51st Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]

Residents from her village in Likuyani, Kakamega County believe their daughter, whom they have known since her early years, will make one of the county's finest first ladies.

Her village mates and Likuyani Primary School classmates as well as her head teacher insist that the trained teacher will make them proud. This is because she has never changed despite her rise from humble beginnings to her current position as wife to Kenya's second most powerful man, now poised to rise a notch higher.

"She has never changed. She still is the same young Rachel she was decades ago when she was in primary school. She is still the same devoted Christian we knew, and we believe that she will not change even when she becomes Kenya's First lady," said Naftali Olasya, her primary school headmaster.

Olasya, 82, who was Ms Rachel's teacher of English, recounted how hardworking and God-fearing his pupil was. He said that after completing her Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) in 1981 and emerging among the top students, Rachel joined Butere Girls High School in Kakamega County before proceeding to Kenyatta University where she trained as a teacher.

Never failed to attend school

He recalled that Rachel would perform extremely well in Mathematics, English and Religious studies.

"Rachel never failed to attend school. Her father, Samuel Kimetto, who was the school's board treasurer was also strict and responsible and he impacted similar virtues in his children," added Olasya.

He recounted that when Rachel completed her primary education, her father had insisted that she join Kessup Girls and not Butere School where she had been admitted.

"After convincing her father, he let her join Butere Girls School, then a provincial school. She did not disappoint us because she performed well in her Ordinary and Advanced level examinations," said the teacher.

Rachel during the signing of the Kenya Kwanza Women chapter. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Wycliffe Wamalwa, a resident, said that community had benefited from Rachel's generosity. "The borehole that the Second Lady helped sink at the school has provided clean water that is used even by members of the community.

"We now have power and she often visits us and helps the students with academic materials whenever she visits. As First Lady I know that she will be able to impact many people's lives," said Wamalwa.

One thing is certain: Rachel, like First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, is unlikely to be caught dead in a wig or some fancy hairdo.

Short hair it is!