Key moments in President-elect William Ruto’s life

President William Ruto at Kasarani International Stadium

President William Ruto at Kasarani International Stadium, Nairobi, on September 13, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

1966:William Samoei Kipchirchir Ruto was born on December 21 in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu, to Daniel and Sarah Cheruiyot. He would later join Kerotet Primary School before proceeding to Wareng Secondary School for his Ordinary Level and Kapsabet Boys High School for his Advanced Level. Here, he led the Christian Union and was the dining hall captain.

1987: Admitted to the University of Nairobi (UoN), graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Botany and Zoology, ranking among the best students in his class. At the university, he was also a member of the Christian Union, where he served as chairman.

1990: After graduation, he is employed as a teacher in the North Rift, serving until 1992. He taught at Sirgoi Secondary and Kamagut Secondary, where he met his wife Rachel Chebet. During the time, he was also the leader of the local African Inland Church choir. He would say a moving prayer during a function attended by President Moi, catching the eye of the second President.

1991: Marries Rachel Chebet and they live in Dagoretti, Nairobi. President Moi would around this time seek to meet Ruto, an encounter that would change his fortunes forever.

1992: At 26, he becomes a co-founder and organising secretary of the infamous Youth for Kanu 1992 (YK92), a lobby that campaigned for President Moi in that year’s General Election.

1997: Runs for parliamentary seat and is elected MP for Eldoret North, beating the incumbent and Uasin Gishu Kanu branch chairman and assistant minister Reuben Chesire, a Moi ally. He would later be appointed Kanu director of elections.

1998: Appointed assistant minister in the Office of the President, serving in the position until 2002, when he was elevated to minister after several ministers resigned to join the opposition.

2002: Appointed minister for Home Affairs following the sacking of Prof George Saitoti by President Moi after disagreements over the 2002 succession. He supports Uhuru Kenyatta in the General Election.

2005: Elected Kanu secretary-general while Kenyatta bags the chairman position. Teams up with Raila Odinga and Kenyatta to oppose a referendum on a new Constitution.

2006: Declares that he will stand for President in the 2007 General Election, drawing condemnation from some of his Kanu colleagues, including former President Moi, after joining the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

2007: Seeks nomination under ODM as its presidential candidate but loses in the party’s delegates voting on September 1 at Kasarani, Nairobi, to Mr Raila Odinga. He garnered a paltry 368 votes against Mr Odinga’s 2,656. He, nonetheless, throws his support behind Mr Odinga.

2007, October: He resigns from his post as Kanu secretary-general.

2008: On April 13, he is named minister for Agriculture in the Grand Coalition government involving President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

2010: Mr Odinga tries to suspend him as Agriculture minister in February over a subsidised maize scandal but President Kibaki vetoes the move. He would in April be transferred to the Higher Education ministry, swapping places with Dr Sally Kosgei.

In October, however, he was relieved of his ministerial duties by President Kibaki to stand trial for his involvement in a 2004 fraud case.

2011: He graduates with a Master of Science degree in environmental sciences from UoN.  The same year, he is named among six individuals who allegedly planned and sponsored the 2007/08 post-election violence in which more than 1,200 people were killed and many others displaced following a disputed presidential election. He would be charged alongside journalist Joshua arap Sang with crimes against humanity.

2012: ICC in January announces that four of the six suspects, including Ruto, Sang, Kenyatta and Francis Muthaura would face trial for committing crimes against humanity during the post-election violence.

2012: Forms the United Republican Party (URP) and would later join hands with Uhuru Kenyatta to form the Jubilee alliance, a coalition of his URP and Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA), as a vehicle for the 2013 elections.

2013: Elected Deputy President and sworn in on April 9 after Jubilee defeats Cord in the March 2013 elections, garnering 50.07 percent against Mr Odinga’s 43.31 percent. The win is challenged in the Supreme Court but the victory is upheld.

2013, June: Ordered by a court to pay Adrian Muteshi, a 2007/08 post-election violence victim, Sh5 million for illegally taking away his 100-acre land after he fled the violence.

2013, September: His and Sang’s trial opens at the ICC over charges of crimes against humanity.

2014: Briefly serves as acting President when President Kenyatta relinquishes power to attend his criminal case at the ICC in The Hague. He was appointed on October 6.

2016: His case at the ICC collapses in April, with the court ruling there was insufficient evidence after crucial witnesses withdrew. In September, with Kenyatta, they change the Jubilee coalition into the Jubilee Party ahead of the 2017 polls. He was Kenyatta’s running mate.

2017: With President Uhuru, they are declared winners in the August elections after garnering 54 per cent of votes against Nasa, led by Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka. The Supreme Court would, however, nullify the election and order a fresh one in October. Nasa boycotted the fresh election and they are declared victors with 98 per cent of the total votes cast. They are sworn in on November 28, 2017.

2018:Graduates with a PhD from UoN. The same year, cracks start to emerge in his political relationship with President Kenyatta after the latter’s March 9 Handshake with Mr Odinga.

2019: Admits the land on which Weston hotel sits had been acquired illegally by the original owners who sold it to him and that he had no knowledge of the matter. He offers to pay the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority for the land, an offer the state agency declines.

2020: In December, the Party of Development and Reforms officially changes its name to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and the move is said to have had the blessings of Dr Ruto as his 2022 political vehicle.

2021: Officially joins UDA as he parts ways with his boss, kissing their political relationship goodbye.

2022: Announces he will contest the presidency on a UDA ticket under the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Aug 15, 2022:Declared President-elect by IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati after garnering 7,176,141, representing 50.49 per cent of valid votes cast, against Azimio presidential candidate Odinga’s 6,942,930 or 48.85 per cent.

Sep 5, 2022: The Supreme Court unanimously affirms his victory after Mr Odinga and his running mate, Ms Martha Karua, challenged the election results.