Intriguing facts about President Ruto’s mom and her influence in his life
President William Ruto owes his meteoric rise in politics to the discipline instilled in him by his mother, Mrs Sarah Cheruiyot.
Dr Ruto is on record saying his mother’s humble and God-fearing nature nurtured his ambition to succeed in the murky world of politics and in the unpredictable business sphere.
“I am who I am today because of my mother. She inspired us to do well in school, to have and go after our dreams,” Dr Ruto said of his mother in a previous interview with this writer about his family and how he was brought up.
He revealed that his mother ensured that all her children prayed before and after every meal, before going to bed and when they woke up in the morning.
“She is the best mother in the world. She disciplined us, took us to school, and instilled in us strong Christian values” President Ruto said.
The President has faithfully followed that path, appearing on Sundays at church religiously with a Bible in hand, and occasionally on Saturday when he joins Seventh-Day Adventists.
In high school and at university, he was a member of the Students’ Christian Union, along with his wife Rachel.
“Dear mom, you are a special gift to me. You will always have a special place in my heart. Through you, allow me to pay special tribute to our mothers on this special Mother’s Day,” Dr Ruto wrote on his Twitter page a year ago.
“Thank you for nurturing me. Thank you for praying for me. You are my strength. Happy Mother’s Day.”
She has said that she used to whip the President like the other children, and that he cried as a result as she insisted that they should follow the straight and narrow route to success.
Dr Ruto’s father, Daniel Cheruiyot, who was a farmer in the now Uasin Gishu County, passed away in 2008. He and Mrs Cheruiyot had six children – three boys and three girls.
Mrs Cheruiyot, popularly known as Mama Sarah, is rarely seen in public, shuns publicity and has granted the media very view interviews.
Basking in the limelight, Mrs Cheruiyot was on Monday morning escorted to the VIP dais at the Kasarani stadium, where she was confronted by a battery of journalists who wanted to know how it felt to be the President’s mother.
“We are grateful to God. It is a great feeling. We thank God for taking care of us and lifting us up to where we are,” Mama Sarah, said in a brief statement before walking to the dais.
She, along with family members, watched in 2013 and 2017 as her son was sworn in as Deputy President at the Kasarani sports complex.
As a proud mother, she walked into the same venue on September 13, two hours ahead of the arrival of her son, who was to take the oath of office, this time as the fifth President of Kenya.
Mrs Cheruiyot was overwhelmed with joy as Dr Ruto took the oath and was subsequently handed the instruments of power from outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, assuming the role of Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
Last week, Mrs Cheruiyot told the media at her rural home in Uasin Gishu that she did not take an active role in the presidential campaigns as his son crisscrossed the country seeking support from voters.
“My only role in the campaigns was to pray. I prayed throughout and I am happy God has answered the prayers …,” Mrs Cheruiyot said.
Mrs Cheruiyot has over the years educated many children using proceeds from her farming enterprise.
She was thrust into the limelight when she was whisked away from the Bomas of Kenya during a chaotic scene ahead of the declaration of the presidential election results by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15.
President Ruto, who wore his first shoes when he was admitted to Form One at Wareng Secondary School aged 15, revealed that his mother who did not have formal education, had memorised the hymn book and knew every word and pages of the songs in the book.
When he was named on the Moreno-Ocampo list of six Kenyans over the 2007-2008 post-election violence, his mother came to his defence, saying he was innocent of the charges brought against him at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
“I can tell you for sure that I know William is innocent and God knows it. He did not participate in the crimes he is being accused of committing,” Mrs Cheruiyot told this writer at her Kamagut home, speaking for the first time about her son’s tribulations.
She said her son was God-fearing and would not hurt anyone, and he was not a warmonger or tribalist as he had been branded.
Ms Cheruiyot also said her son did not leave Nairobi for the entire period of the clashes, as he was with other leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), of which he was a member at the time.
“His tribulations are politically motivated. It is purely politics. He has been framed by his opponents, who want to curtail his achievements in politics in the short period he has been in leadership,” Mrs Cheruiyot said at the time.
Dr Ruto, President Kenyatta, former head of public service Francis Muthaura, former commissioner of police Brig Hussein Ali, former Cabinet minister Henry Koskei and journalist Joshua Sang were eventually discharged from the ICC.
President Kenyatta and Dr Ruto beat the odds to win the 2013 presidential election and have been in power since.