Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, a father of six, cemented himself as a political heavyweight when he became the first holder of the Deputy President’s office in Kenya’s new constitutional dispensation.
Below is a brief profile of Dr Ruto.
BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION
Ruto was born in 1966 at Sambut village, Uasin Gishu County to Daniel and Sarah Cheruiyo.
Dr Ruto, who describes himself as a “son of a peasant” attendend Kamagut Primary School.
DP Ruto went to Wareng’ Secondary School in Eldoret and did his A-Levels at Kapsabet High School in Nandi County.
As a university student, Mr Ruto was a god-fearing Christian who served at one time as the chairman of the University of Nairobi’s choir.
Mr Ruto’s political journey started in KANU’s party politics where he contested various branch positions. He served as an official in the secretariat of the powerful Youth for Kanu lobby group, popularly known as YK’92.
In 1997, Mr Ruto was elected Member of Parliament for Eldoret North Constituency on a KANU ticket.
Former President Daniel Moi appointed Mr Ruto the Home Affairs Assistant Minister in 2002 and in the same year he was re-elected as an MP.
In the 2002 General Election, Mr Ruto was a key campaigner for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first presidential bid but they lost to Mr Mwai Kibaki’s rainbow coalition.
Nonetheless, Mr Ruto remained in KANU rising through the ranks to become the party’s secretary-general in 2005.
During the 2005 proposed constitution, Mr Ruto was in “No” movement that was victorious in the ensuing referendum. The “No” movement comprised Mr Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Joe Nyagah and Najib Balala.
The movement birth the Orange Democratic Movement, where Mr Ruto was among the key figures dubbed the Pentagon.
Emboldened by the successful “No” campaign, ODM emerged as the major opposition party, with KANU and smaller platforms teaming for the 2007 General Election.
The results of the 2007 election were disputed, leading to violence that left left 1,133 people dead and 650,000 displaced.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) came calling as the post-election violence dust settled, with Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta named among six individuals summoned but the charges were later dropped.
Mr Ruto and Kenyatta teamed up for the 2013 General Election in which they emerged victorious under the Jubilee Party.
The Jubilee duo promised to tackle grand corruption in the public service sector, create jobs for Kenya’s unemployed youth, build stadiums, provide every Class One student with laptops and offer free primary and secondary education.
As he eyes the presidency, Mr Ruto’s development record will be on the spotlight as Kenyans take stock of what the Jubilee government has accomplished in the six years the party has been in power.