Kenya Live Updates: William Ruto Is Declared Winner of Presidential Election

Credit…Simon Maina/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Sambut, Kenya — William Ruto spent his childhood on the family land down a dirt, narrow road in a quiet village in the Rift Valley, where he tended cows and helped in the fields growing maize and cabbage.

But these days, Kenya’s Vice President of almost a decade Mr. Ruto wakes up in a sprawling mansion in a leafy suburb of Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, where he holds meetings before taking off, just as he did that morning. On a helicopter parked near a covered pool.

On Monday, Electoral Commission chiefs declared Mr Ruto, 55, Kenya’s next president, but a majority of commissioners refused to sign off on the count, citing a lack of transparency. Mr. The campaign of Ruto’s opponent, Raila Odinga, alleged that the count had been “hacked”, signaling that he would challenge the result in court.

Mr. Ruto’s campaign was a frequent appeal to Kenya’s “hustlers” – young people who find themselves unemployed or underemployed and making themselves better.

His political rise almost ended Bloody and contested 2007 elections. The International Criminal Court indicted him for crimes against humanity and accused him of violence that left more than 1,200 people dead and 600,000 others displaced. The allegations include murder, torture and forcing people to leave their homes.

But hair on him collapsed In 2016, he served as vice president as the government obstructed the collection of evidence and busy The court called it “witness interference and political interference”.

Mr Ruto was born in Sambut village, about 12 miles northwest of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu County. He raised sheep and cows, hunted rabbits with friends and went to school barefoot.

His parents, strict Protestants who were leaders of the local African inland church, shaped his faith, forcing him to regularly participate in church activities and sing in the choir. From the beginning, Mr. Ruto showed his ambition, classmates, neighbors and friends said in interviews. He also stood by them against gangsters from other villages, he said.

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

Growing up, Mr Ruto begged his parents to give him a small piece of land to plant maize, his friends said. After finishing high school, he sold chickens to make money after his friends stopped doing so. In his presidential race, Mr. Ruto used this back story, presenting himself as one of the “hustler” Kenyans born into poverty.

In the late 1980s, Mr Ruto left to study botany and zoology at the University of Nairobi. Friends said his focus was on politics.

In 1997, he challenged Reuben Chesir for the Eldoret North constituency parliamentary seat. Mr. Chesire was a jurist, a powerful leader in the ruling party and a political veteran of the then president. Daniel arap me. But Mr Ruto took a gamble and rallied his friends to cross the constituency on his behalf — and won.

Mr. For all Ruto’s political success, his hometown has remained underdeveloped for more than a quarter of a century since he joined government. Many there struggle to make ends meet, trading livestock or working as motorcycle taxi drivers.

While Mr Ruto has made few contributions to the school or church fundraisers there, villagers say roads in the area are largely unpaved and many residents live in mud houses without proper toilets.

On the contrary Mr. Ruto has built a brick house with a green garden on his family compound and installed solar panels on the roof.

Many of Mr Ruto’s Classmates hope his win will make a difference.

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

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