William Ruto – who has been declared the winner of Kenya’s closely disputed presidential election – had a childhood that epitomises the lives of many poor Kenyans.
He went to major college barefoot, sporting his first pair of footwear on the age of 15. He additionally offered rooster and groundnuts by the roadside in rural areas of the Rift Valley.
So it got here as no shock that he portrayed himself because the champion of the poor as he vied for the presidency within the 9 August election.
Mr Ruto contested it below the banner of Kenya Kwanza, Swahili for Kenya First, with a promise to develop the economic system.
The official charge of unemployment amongst these aged between 18 and 34 years is almost 40%, and the economic system shouldn’t be creating sufficient jobs to soak up the 800,000 younger individuals becoming a member of the workforce yearly.
He due to this fact coined the phrase “Hustler nation” to check with the younger individuals struggling to make ends meet.
Mr Ruto has promised a bottom-up method to the economic system, saying it should profit the poor who’re bearing the brunt of the price of dwelling disaster that has hit the world following the coronavirus pandemic and the warfare in Ukraine.
This was the 55-year-old’s first try on the presidency, and he confounded his critics by attaining victory – although in a surprising improvement, nearly all of members of the electoral fee have rejected the end result amid claims of rigging and scuffles on the election centre within the capital, Nairobi.
Nevertheless, the chairman of the fee, Wafula Chebukati, stated the election was free and honest, as he declared Mr Ruto the winner with 50.5% of the vote.
Mr Ruto joined politics in 1992, having been mentored, he says, by then-President Daniel arap Moi.
Mr Ruto was a part of the youth wing of Mr Moi’s once-dominant Kanu get together, and was among the many activists tasked with mobilising voters for the nation’s first multi-party elections held in the identical 12 months.
He has the popularity of being a strong orator who drew large crowds at rallies and put up a robust efficiency in media interviews.
He typically begins talking by saying “My buddy”, which helps him strike a rapport with voters and disarm critics.
After holding numerous ministerial posts – together with schooling and agriculture – he rose to the deputy presidency after the 2013 election.
Mr Ruto contested that election because the working mate of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, stunning many Kenyans as they’d been on reverse sides of the political spectrum within the earlier election.
It was an alliance of expediency, as each had been charged by the Worldwide Felony Courtroom (ICC) with crimes towards humanity after being accused of fuelling violence within the aftermath of the closely disputed 2007 election, wherein about 1,200 individuals have been killed.
In that ballot, Mr Ruto had backed opposition candidate Raila Odinga – who has misplaced to him this time spherical – whereas Mr Kenyatta backed then-President Mwai Kibaki in his re-election bid.
Their alliance, dubbed a bromance, paid off as the 2 males swept to energy, placing them in a robust place to stave off the menace posed to them each by the ICC – one thing they achieved when the prosecution dropped costs towards President Kenyatta in 2014 and judges threw out the case towards Mr Ruto in 2016.
Nevertheless, their alliance broke up in 2018 when Mr Kenyatta – in yet one more beautiful about-turn – reconciled with Mr Odinga, dashing Mr Ruto’s hopes that the outgoing president would endorse him as his successor within the present election marketing campaign.
The president’s allies accused Mr Ruto of insubordination, an allegation he denied, however he acknowledged the rift by saying that he and the president “see politics in another way”.
Mr Ruto remained in workplace, nevertheless, courtesy of constitutional provisions that safe the tenure of a deputy president.
Within the present election, Mr Kenyatta campaigned closely for Mr Odinga, saying Mr Ruto was “untrustworthy” and couldn’t occupy the very best workplace of the land.
Mr Ruto hit again, saying Mr Kenyatta wished Mr Odinga to succeed him as a result of he wished a “puppet president”.
All through the marketing campaign, he portrayed himself as a “hustler”, preventing what he thought to be the try by two of Kenya’s dynasties – the Kenyattas and Odingas – to hold on to energy.
Huge landowner and eager farmer
Ethnic loyalties play an enormous function in Kenyan politics and Mr Ruto comes from the third largest ethnic group, the Kalenjin, which has produced just one different president, the late Mr Moi, who was Kenya’s longest-serving ruler. He’s now, unquestionably, the political kingpin of the group.
Mr Ruto is married to Rachael, who he first met at church youth conferences.
They’ve six kids. Their eldest son, Nick, was as soon as blessed by Kalenjin elders, fuelling hypothesis that he was being groomed for a political function, whereas their daughter, June, works within the international affairs ministry.
Mr Ruto has a ardour for agriculture, which has seen him enterprise into maize, dairy and poultry farming.
He owns large parcels of land in western and coastal Kenya and has additionally invested within the hospitality trade.
Mr Ruto has been linked to corruption scandals in authorities and the supply of his wealth is a topic of a lot hypothesis.
In June 2013, the Excessive Courtroom ordered him to give up a 100-acre (40-hectare) farm, and compensate a farmer who had accused him of grabbing the land throughout the 2007 post-election violence.
He denies any wrongdoing, and appealed to voters with a promise to present them alternatives to enhance their lives, simply as he did.