The man who took the ICC head on

December 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – William Samoei Ruto has undoubtedly been the most vocal of the six suspects at crosshairs with the International Criminal Court. He has been to the Hague-based court and back but it remains unclear whether he met the Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo in person.

During the haggle over the 2007 Presidential Election results, he was a strong defender of Prime Minister Raila Odinga whose victory he claimed was stolen. His home area in Eldoret was a hot spot during the violence.

It is in Eldoret that 28 persons including children were burnt to death inside a Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) Church. Areas of Uasin Gichu and Burnt Forest were also major hotspots.

He was the first suspect to speak about speculations that his name was among the secret Waki list that was handed over to Chief Mediator Kofi Annan and later to the ICC.  He has been adversely mentioned in both the Waki Report and that by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights over his role in the violence.

Mr Ruto has accused the two commissions of failing to give him an opportunity to defend himself. He has gone to local courts to have his name expunged from the KNCHR report.

In the recent past, he has accused KNCHR’s Hassan Omar of coaching witnesses to implicate him. Lately he has also dismissed Mr Ocampo for "engaging in politics and hatching a plot to keep him and his associates out of the 2012 presidential elections."

The vibrant Eldoret North MP has been a political student of two of Kenya’s politicians; former President Daniel Moi and Raila Odinga. The sly politician has however disowned his political mentors and chosen his own path.

In 2007 he told off the former President who had backed Mwai Kibaki for the Presidency and instead supported Mr Odinga. He is remembered for telling Mr Moi to go home and rest.

After the formation of the grand coalition government he accused the Premier of short-changing the people of the Rift Valley in the allocation of Cabinet posts and for failing to defend hundreds of youths arrested in the area over accusations of participation in the post election violence.

He has since ditched the ODM leader and said that his "people" will never again be led blindly.

In a recent statement Mr Ruto said "I am my own man."

Mr Ruto started his political career as part of Cyrus Jirongo-led Youth for KANU (YK) ’92, an outfit hastily put together to campaign for Daniel arap Moi’s re-election in that first multiparty election. KANU’s success saw Mr Ruto appointed Assistant Minister for Provincial Administration, and then Minister of Home Affairs.

He was elected to Parliament under KANU as MP for Eldoret North in 1997. He joined the Orange Democratic Movement in 2005 during the referendum campaigns. Later in 2007 he ran for nomination as ODM presidential candidate but was beaten by Raila Odinga.

William Ruto has managed to propel himself from relative insignificance to a position of importance within the Orange Democratic Movement pushing his way to the party deputy leader.

The former University of Nairobi Christian Union Choir Master started off as a teacher at Sirgoi Secondary School and Kamagut Secondary School. He is a businessman with interests in the insurance and hospitality industries.

The 44-year-old Bachelor of Science graduate married Rachel Chebet, a teacher, in 1991.  He is currently suspended from the Cabinet pending the outcome of a corruption case surrounding the illegal sale of land to a State corporation.


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