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Deputy President William Ruto’s rise to political helm

POLITICS
By - TITUS TOO | September 10th 2013
Deputy President William Ruto with his wife Rachael and Kenyan ambassador to the Netherlands Mrs Makena Muchiri at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam when he arrived for the ICC hearings that begin Tuesday. [PHOTO: DPPS/STANDARD]

By TITUS TOO

KENYA: Deputy President William Kipchirchir Samoei Ruto describes himself as a self-made politician who has risen to the apex of Kenya’s political system. Ruto, 47, has fought many battles on his way to the top, but the ICC trial presents his greatest challenge yet.

Ruto was raised in a humble Christian background and his sheer hard work has seen him occupy the second most powerful position in the Kenya Government- and to become the first Deputy President under the new Constitution.

His journey to the peak began two decades ago. When a group of opinion leaders sought him to take up Eldoret North’s parliamentary seat in the early 1990’s, little did they know they were moulding the next national leader.

The leaders reportedly visited Ruto’s home on two occasions and persuaded him to run for the House seat ahead of the 1997 General Election. His family, however, objected the call to have him make an entry into politics, saying he was still too young for the position proposed for him.

God fearing

When they visited Ruto’s Kamoret village in Kamagut division for the second time, their request to back Ruto for the parliamentary seat was granted by the family.

Ruto’s star started shining when his bid for the Eldoret North House seat in the 1997 polls through a Kanu ticket became a success.

His family says Ruto grew up like any other child and God knew he would one day become a leader.

They also said that his strong belief in God has made him what he is today. As a young boy, he never missed Sunday School at Kamagut African Inland Church (AIC) and as he grew older, his determination, focus and hardwork saw youths at the church elect him as their chairman.

Ruto, the third born in his family, is described as very organised and disciplined in his undertakings.

Agriculture and Higher Education, Science and Technology were the last ministries Ruto headed before the Grand Coalition government relieved him of his duty ahead of the last elections. Stakeholders in the sectors describe him as a hardworking.

Other sources hint that Ruto was the only assistant minister who attended cabinet meetings when he was an assistant minister during retired President Moi’s era, after he was first elected in 1997.

Ruto’s elder brother, 54-year-old Paul Maritim who is a businessman, in a recent interview describes his brother as a hardworking person who interacted with businessmen and successful leaders while in college.

“He made links with leaders and at one time became the Youth for Kanu ‘92 representative for Uasin Gishu County,” says Maritim.

He formed the URP and joined forces with Uhuru’s TNA to win this year’s polls under the Jubilee alliance.

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