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Biography: William Ruto - The First Deputy President of Kenya Under the New Constitution

Updated on March 31, 2015

Born on December 21, 1966 in Kamagut, Uasin Gishu, William Ruto was enrolled at Kamagut Primary School and later at Wareng Secondary School. He sat for his ‘O’ level exams in 1994 (Ordinary Level Education) before proceeding to Kapsabet Boys where he sat for ‘A’ level exams (Advanced Level) in 1986.

He attended University of Nairobi for BSc (Botany and Zoology) graduating in 1990. In 2011, he graduated with MSc in Environmental Science and is currently studying PhD in the same field.

After completing his BSc (Botany and Zoology), Ruto taught at two secondary schools, Sirgoi and Kamagut. While still a teacher, Ruto also had another side business, African Venture Tours and Hotels of which he was the founder.

Career in Politics

During the 80s and early 90s when Kenya was ruled with an iron fist, Ruto emerged to the scene of politics as Organizing Secretary of Youth KANU (YK92). This group was founded in order to campaign for President Daniel Moi for another term in the upcoming 1992 General Elections.

What would be different in this election was that it would be the first multiparty election.

President Moi won and was sworn in for another term. Consequently, Ruto was appointed as Assistant Minister for Provincial Administration and later as Minister of Home Affairs.

When President Moi indicated Uhuru Kenyatta would be his preferred candidate (to replace him) for the upcoming 2002 General Elections, Ruto was among the members of KANU who didn’t leave the party as a result of this announcement. He backed Uhuru Kenyatta as KANU’s flag bearer for the 2002 General Elections. KANU was defeated by NARC led by Mwai Kibaki who was declared as the third president of Kenya.

In January 2006, Ruto announced he would stand for presidency during the General Election which would be held on December, 2007. This did not go well with some members of the KANU including President Daniel Moi. He joined Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) seeking to be nominated as its presidential candidate. However, he lost to Raila Odinga who was declared the winner followed by Musalia Mudavadi while he was at the third position when the party held internal election on September 2007 to choose the preferred ODM flag bearer.

The results of the presidential election (December, 2007) when Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner for the second term didn’t go well with some Kenyans and Kibaki’s opponent, Raila Odinga. Raila claimed he was the winner while on the other side Kibaki said he was the rightful winner. As various reports indicated, there were a lot of irregularities during the General Elections as the rigging of votes was broadly manifested.


The country witnessed at the start of January 2008 violence which was about to destabilize the country. Over 1,000 people were killed for the three months starting January 2008, over 350,000 people displaced and millions worth of properties destroyed. The former chairman of United Nations, Kofi Annan and President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete were instrumental in brokering agreement between the two principals, Raila and Kibaki, thereby leading the nation to experience peace.

This led to the formation of a Grand Coalition government whereby Mwai Kibaki would remain as President while Raila Odinga would be the Prime Minister. Ruto was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture after the formation of the grand coalition cabinet.

On April 2010, he was appointed to the higher education ministry while Sally Kosgei who was holding that post was transferred to the ministry of agriculture.

On August 2011, relieved of his ministerial duties although he was still a member of parliament, he entered into a pact with Uhuru Kenyatta leading to formation of Jubilee Alliance in preparation for the 2013 General Elections which was now to be held on March according to the new constitution.

Uhuru was declared the winner, thereby becoming the fourth president of Kenya while Ruto became the Deputy President, a term which wasn’t used before; instead the term that was used was vice-president.

Currently, Ruto is being tried at International Criminal Court (ICC) in regards to the election violence witnessed in Kenya as from January to March 2008. Others who are still being tried are Uhuru Kenyatta and Sang, a former radio presenter.


One-on-one with Deputy President William Samoei Ruto


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