How Ruto's Presidential Ambitions Ruined His Relationship With The Late Moi
July. 14, 2020
Deputy President William Ruto is a man who has by default, managed to keep Kenyans on track with his presidential ambition his background notwithstanding.
His “hustler” narrative has swooned many, even those who dislike him, into his political camp. His oratory skills, with no much effort, manage to pull a crowd every time. His peers within the political circles have described him as a “go-getter” and one who settles for nothing less.
The self-styled 'hustler' is known for his sheer hard work and aggressive political nature that saw him rally the Rift Valley voting bloc behind President Uhuru Kenyatta to win the 2013 General Election.
“Ruto has a lot of energy, he is a brilliant man and works hard. You will admire his energy. We worked closely and I know him pretty well,” Cyrus Jirongo once said.
In Abraham Mutwol's book, 'The Great Inspiring Life Lesson from William Ruto', the author paints the picture of a man whose rise from obscurity to the pinnacle of Kenyan politics was almost miraculous.
"But the word 'miracle' does not do him justice, especially if you figure out that close to 30 years earlier, he had been peddling groundnuts – in a desperate bid to survive - in the streets of Eldoret," writes Mutwol.
Those who know him well say Ruto entered the realm of politics when he began campaigning for Kanu presidential candidate Daniel arap Moi.
According to the Standard, the 1992 presidential election came at the right time and Ruto was part of the team that founded the Youth for Kanu '92.
The group successfully campaigned for Moi's re-election. However, the "Young Turks" did not "eat big" and therefore began nursing their own political ambitions.
Five years later, Ruto had developed his own wings, but they were only big enough to fly him to the Eldoret North parliamentary seat after he and other vibrant youths became Kanu 'rebels' who ran against Moi's preferred candidate and won.
He surprised many when he floored experienced politicians like the late Reuben Chesire and William Morogo arap Saina to bag the seat on a Kanu ticket.
Fast forward to 2002, and another General Election was knocking on the door. Ruto was still interested in his Eldoret North seat.
However, he was deployed by Moi to execute "Project Uhuru" who was then being helped to capture the presidency. Their endeavours, however, fell flat when Mwai Kibaki won the election.
In 2006, an ambitious Ruto did the unexpected. He declared that he would contest the presidency. This did not go down well with the Kanu camp, including former President Moi, who immediately condemned his decision.
Incensed, Ruto crossed to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party where he attempted to get the party ticket for the presidency.
He contested against Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi but came third. Moi had seen his own man turn against him; his protégé would haunt him in the days to come as he developed his own political clout.
Ruto, who was a Raila ally in the 2007 election, showed his political muscle when he led the ODM wave that swept the Rift Valley and all the seats.
He had delivered a vote for Raila, only for his new fame to be marred by the post-election chaos.
He got the Agriculture and later Higher Education ministry dockets, but in 2010, he was stripped of the 'minister' title when he was accused of corruption.
With the appointment gone, Ruto, who was still the Eldoret North MP, had ample time to lay the ground for greater things.
He broke away from Raila's group in 2011 and formed the United Republican Party, indicating that he would run for the presidency on a ticket from the new party.
It is around this time when he was battling crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Together with President Uhuru Kenyatta, they developed a close relationship and laid thoughts of working together in the capacity they are in now.
The case was dropped on April 5, 2016, when Trial Chamber V (A) decided by majority that the case against him and Joshua Sang should be terminated.
Fast forward to today, Ruto does not see eye to eye with Gideon Moi, a political adversary from Rift Valley. Gideon has also announced his presidential ambitions in 2022.
Before the death of his father in February 2020, Ruto was denied an opportunity to see him at his Kabarak home unlike other leaders who were welcomed.
DP Ruto allies blamed Gideon saying that he barred Ruto from seeing his father.
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