Ruto Declared Winner of Kenya Presidential Election: Live Updates


Credit…Simon Maina/Agence France Presse — Getty Images

SAMBUT, Kenya—William Ruto spent his childhood on a piece of family land along a dirt, narrow road in a quiet village in the Rift Valley, tending cows and helping to till the fields for corn and cabbage.

But today, Mr. Ruto, Kenya’s vice president for nearly a decade, wakes up in a gigantic mansion in a leafy suburb of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, where he holds meetings before flying, as he did recently. on a helicopter parked near an indoor swimming pool.

On Monday, the head of the electoral commission declared Mr Ruto, 55, Kenya’s next president, but a majority of commissioners refused to sign the census, citing a lack of transparency. The campaign of Mr. Ruto, Raila Odinga, claimed the count was “hacked”, indicating that they would challenge the result in court.

The campaign of Mr. Ruto was a repeated appeal to Kenya’s “hustlers” – the youthful fighters who are underworked or unemployed and itching to improve themselves.

His political rise almost came to an end after: the bloody and contentious elections of 2007. The International Criminal Court charged him with crimes against humanity and accused him of fomenting violence that killed more than 1,200 and displaced 600,000 others. The charges include murder, persecution and forcing people to leave their homes.

But the case against him came crashing down in 2016, when the government he served as vice president hindered evidence gathering and engaged in what the court said was “witness interference and political interference.”

Credit…Michael Kooren/Reuters

Mr. Ruto was born in the village of Sambut, a lush backwater about 20 kilometers northwest of the city of Eldoret in Uasin Gishu province. He raised sheep and cows, hunted rabbits with friends and went to school barefoot.

His parents, strict Protestants who were leaders in the local African Inland Church, molded his faith and forced him to participate regularly in church activities and to sing in the choir. From an early age, Mr. Ruto showed his ambition, classmates, neighbors and friends said in interviews. He also stood up for them against bullies from other villages, they said.

Credit…Simon Maina/Agence France Presse — Getty Images

“The group he was in always won the class debate,” says Esther Cherobon, who was his desk mate for four years. When a teacher threatened to fire students for not knowing the answer to a math problem, “William almost always saved us,” she said.

Growing up, Mr. Ruto begged his parents to give him a little piece of their land to plant corn, his friends said. He sold chickens to earn money long after his friends quit, after they finished high school. During his presidential run, Mr. Ruto took advantage of this backstory and presented himself as one of the “hustler” Kenyans born into poverty.

In the late 1980s, Mr. Ruto to study botany and zoology at the University of Nairobi. Friends said they’ve started to notice his focus on politics.

In 1997, he challenged Reuben Chesire for the parliamentary seat of the Eldoret North constituency. Mr. Chesire was a legislator, a powerful leader in the ruling party and a political hero of then President Daniel arap Moi.. But Mr. Ruto took a gamble and gathered his friends to traverse the constituency on his behalf – and won.

Despite all the political success of Mr. Ruto, his native village remains underdeveloped for more than a quarter of a century after he came to power. Many there struggle to make ends meet, trade livestock or work as motorcycle taxi drivers.

Although Mr Ruto has made a number of contributions to a school here or a church fundraiser there, villagers said, roads in the area are largely unpaved and many residents live in mud houses without proper toilets.

mr. Ruto, on the other hand, has built a brick house with a lush garden on his family’s property and mounted a solar panel on the roof.

A lot of mr. Rutos classmates hope his victory will change things.

“He sold chicken and lived like us,” said his close childhood friend and classmate, Clement Kipkoech Kosgei. “Maybe he’ll make a change now.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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