William Ruto: The Village Boy Who Became President in Kenya

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From rags to riches. How often is this phrase used when referring to a political figure? The name William Ruto is a name that turns heads in Kenya. Born to Sarah Cheruiyot and Mzee Daniel Cheruiyot who was a farmer, William Ruto lived in Sambut village in the Uasin Gishu County during the early years of his life.

He taught in Sergoit and Kamagut secondary schools both in Uasin Gishu County during his University holidays and studied Botany and Zoology at the University of Nairobi where he spent his time as an ‘evangelist’ while his wife sang in the choir.

Making much of the fact that he was a chicken seller when he was a youth, Kenya’s  President, Dr. William Ruto won the 2022 Kenyan Presidential elections through his ‘hustler’ ‘dynasty’ slogan. In Kenya, dynasties is used to describe families that are wealthy and have dominated politics and the economy since independence. The word hustlers on the other hand is a moniker to describe those people especially the youth who are struggling to make ends meet in an economy that is no longer favoring them. Most of his political rivals have been put in the former category.

Ruto has talked of how he went to school on barefoot, acquiring his first pair of shoes at the age of 15 an d he is currently championing the “Hustler Nation” slogan. According to him, he is just a village boy, self-made in many aspects.

“When I talk about hustling, I am not joking. In 1978 I was selling chicken. At that time I did not believe that I could be somebody.

Ruto began his political career in KANU (Kenya’s ruling party back in the days) by vying for various positions. He championed a lobby group for, President Daniel Arap Moi “Youth for Kanu”, which was meant to gather support for President Daniel Arap Moi in the 1992 general elections. However, the group  was disbanded right after the elections. This was when he started learning the intricacies of politics. Ruto went ahead to compete for a parliamentary seat in 1997 and surprisingly, he beat the incumbent, Robert Chesire who was Moi’s preferred candidate.

Ruto later gain favor with Moi and was appointed KANU Director of Elections. From there on, he held various positions in the government until January 2006 when he publicly declared his intention to contest for the presidential election December 2007. Moi was not happy with the development; this inspired Ruto to moved on and support Raila Odinga in the elections. However, Raila Odinga lost the election to, Mwai Kibaki.

In 2008, Ruto was appointed as Minister for Agriculture. He also served as Member of Parliament representing Eldoret North from 2008 to March 2013. Ruto joined forces with Uhuru Kenyatta and formed the Jubilee alliance for the 2013 presidential elections which they won. In 2014, Ruto was appointed acting president of Kenya by President Uhuru Kenyatta following his summons to appear before the ICC.

Ruto has made his intentions of running for the 2022 presidential elections known to the public. His ‘hustler nation’ movement has taken the Kenyan politics by storm. He has also been pushing for a bottom-up economic model which will focus on creating jobs and eliminate cartels. Critics have dismissed his idea as full of ‘hackneyed clichés’.

Here are Top 10 quotes of William Ruto

Top 10 quotes of William Ruto

1. A huge threat to our children is the issue of having sexual intercourse at an early age and ending up pregnant without completing their basic education. Older men prey on Children. if you are man enough, there are enough women out there, leave children alone! The women are saying they are here so go and make your case to them

2. The era of making unilateral decision is over, and unless the government changes the way it does the business of the house, you will continue to see more of what you saw today

3. The Government want to kill democracy by registering more parties while it has failed to contained hunger and insecurity

4. The National Assembly voted on the constitutional amendment bill and so will the senate. When the people turn comes they too will vote and we will march on. We should respect democratic outcomes/

5.  We are reminded that our fore-fathers worked hard so that we can have a democratic nation. We can all celebrate the firm foundation of the rule of law not rule of men.

6. Before we discuss how to share power and position, we must first focus on how to improve the livelihoods of the people of Kenya.

7. The government that was elected through democratic process should rule by the law. It is a government inviting the wrath of the people

8. The present and future of this country belong to the youth. It is they who are bearing the heaviest burden of economic challenges and should therefore vote wisely in the next election.

9. We have the chance to make a Kenya where hard work is rewarded regardless of who you are and where you come from.

10. When I talk about hustling, I am not joking. In 1978 I was selling chicken. At that time I did not believe that I could be somebody.

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