Reputed as a brilliant speaker capable of mesmerizing the masses, Ruto has shown a voracious appetite for business that has made him a billionaire, despite the fact that the origin of his wealth is the subject of constant speculation in Kenya.
The choice of William Ruth as the new president of Kenya has not been exempt from controversy despite the fact that after several convulsive appointments these presidential elections were the first in Kenya to take place without serious incident. A few hours after his victory was announced, his opponent’s supporters Raila Odingatook center stage in the Electoral Committee with allegations of electoral fraud.
Beyond the riots, the figure of Ruto has drawn the attention of the most disadvantaged Kenyans and doors outside the African country for his unusual career. “It may be the son of a nobodybut we want to make Kenya a country for everyone,” said Ruto, who was declared the winner of the general elections on August 9 on Monday, weeks ago in a round of interviews with foreign correspondents in Nairobi. Such a slogan populist as cash that served the already elected president to attract the underprivileged (most of his compatriots) to support his candidacy for head of state at the head of the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First, in Swahili) coalition.
Born on December 21, 1966 in the village of Sambut (west), in the Rift Valley, William Samoei Arap Ruto grew up in a very humble family. “My father bought my first pair of shoes in 1981 of a Mr. Onyango on the street,” Ruto revealed in 2019, who as a child used to sell chickens to truckers on highways to help his family.
After graduating in 1990 with a degree in Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi, he worked as a teacher and in 1992 entered politics as treasurer of the youth wing of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), the party of then Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi. Five years later he won a seat in Parliament for the constituency of Eldoret North (west), catapulting a meteoric trajectory who, after holding ministerial positions, led to the Vice Presidency in the 2013 elections.
From then dates his reputation as an eloquent speaker who attracted thousands of people to meetings and excelled in interviews with the press. The filler “My friend” that he still uses to begin his sentences serves to connect with voters and to disarm the opposition. After several lurches between the two great Kenyan political families, the Odinga and the Kenyattamanaged to win ministerial positions and in 2013 he abandoned Raila Odinga and sealed a strange alliance with Kenyatta that made him his ‘number two’, his vice president.
Reputed as a brilliant speaker capable of mesmerizing the masses, Ruto has shown a voracious appetite for business which has made him a multimillionaire, despite the fact that the origin of his wealth is the subject of constant speculation in Kenya.
The leader of the “hustler nation”, as he himself has once defined given the high rates of youth unemployment in Kenya, owns more than 3,000 hectares of land in tthree counties, five helicopters, two hangars, two hotels, three private residences, a gas company and a poultry farm, among other assets.
Questioned in the presidential debate on July 26 – which he attended alone due to the boycott of Odinga – about what he considers sufficient in the acquisition of land and property, Ruto responded with a smile and “enough is enough”.
The newly elected president has also been implicated in noisy corruption scandals, one of the worst evils to shake Kenya since it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1963.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.