William Samoei Ruto is the First Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya

He was born on December 21st, 1966 in Sambut Village, Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County in the Rift Valley. He is fourth among six children.

He is the first elected Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya. Previously, Kenya had appointed vice-presidents who served entirely at the pleasure of the President.

Mr Ruto attended Kamagut Primary School where he sat for his Certificate of Primary Education in 1982, then proceeded to Wareng’ Secondary School in Eldoret for his secondary schooling.

After his O- Levels, he proceeded to Kapsabet High School in Nandi County for his A –Levels after which he was admitted to University of Nairobi to study Botany and Zoology for his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree.

He graduated top of his class at the University and was offered a scholarship to take up post-graduate studies at the college.

Mr Ruto commenced course work for his Master of Science in 1991, but deferred his research in 1992 when he was employed by the Kenya African National Union in their successful presidential re-election campaign.

In 2008, he graduated with a Masters of Science Degree in Plant Ecology. Mr Ruto is married to Rachel Chebet, a teacher, who he met when they were both undergraduate students at the University of Nairobi. They have six children.

During university holidays Deputy President Ruto taught in Sergoit and Kamagut secondary schools both in Uasin Gishu County as an untrained teacher. At the University, Mr Ruto was a leader of the students' Christian Union.

Political Background

The Deputy President joined mainstream politics in 1997 when he was elected Member of Parliament for Eldoret North constituency on the Kenya African National Union (KANU) ticket. Before then, he had successfully contested various party branch positions.

He established himself as an astute politician and he rose rapidly within the party becoming its secretary general in 2005.

He was appointed Home Affairs Assistant Minister in 2002 and re-elected into Parliament in the General Election later the same year.

Mr Ruto was a key component of President Uhuru Kenyatta's first presidential campaign in that election. However, Mr Kenyatta lost to Mwai Kibaki of the National Rainbow Coalition, NARC. Mr Ruto stood by Mr Kenyatta’s side as he conceded defeat and congratulated the President-elect, becoming the first presidential contender to do so.

Mr Ruto also served as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform in the 9th Parliament and led the process of assembling the team and setting up the structures that put Kenya on the road to a new constitution.

In January 2006, Mr Ruto declared he would join the 2007 presidential race. However, he lost in the party’s nominations.

He was appointed Minister for Agriculture in the Coalition Government that was formed. He served for three years.

His tenure at the Ministry of Agriculture stands out and his achievements are billed as the modern yardstick of performance politics in Kenya.

Mr Ruto revived irrigation schemes and provided cheaper fertilizer to farmers in addition to ensuring the maize, sugarcane, coffee and tea sectors had a bumper harvest and a ready market.

He was transferred to the Ministry of Higher Education where he set up structures to reform the university education system.

Known for his political savvy and drive, Mr Ruto has managed to propel himself from relative insignificance to a position of indisputable import in Kenya’s politics. He is undoubtedly the man to watch as far as succession politics are concerned.