What’s in a name? Some may ask. A name is a unique personal identity. But often times you meet someone who shares a first name or surname. It is interesting to meet a full namesake, someone you share both maiden name and surname.
And what if that namesake is the President? Things can’t get so trickier than this. Yet that is the situation that the Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director finds himself in. Captain William Kipkemboi Ruto is officially known by the name William Ruto, which also happens to be President William Samoei Ruto’s official name.
Well, well…it is not every day that you find a president sharing a name with someone especially in Kenya where past presidents have had somewhat unique names. From Jomo Kenyatta down to Daniel arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta there has been no known public record of a namesake of the president.
At KPA, captain William Ruto must be evoking curious glances when his full name is called out in meeting and other events. As things stand, it is pure coincidence and nothing unusual about it. After all, you can easily get dozens of John Mwangis, Jackson Otienos or James Wafulas. What’s improbable is finding a president with a similar name.
It is not even clear if William Kipkemboi Ruto the MD is related to Dr William Samoei Ruto the President.
So, who is William Kipkemboi Ruto? On 10th March 2023 the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Roads and Transport announced the appointment of Captain William Kipkemboi Ruto as the Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) for a period of three years.
The position had been vacant for the past three years. “It is my belief that his wealth of experience spanning 32 years will be instrumental in ensuring the Authority delivers on its mandate to the people of Kenya and continues to contribute towards the growth of the Kenyan economy,” said Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen.
According to Murkomen, Captain Ruto was selected from a pool of over 75 applicants who sought to occupy the post following a recruitment carried out by the KPA Board of Directors from December 23, 2022. Captain Ruto took over from John Mwangemi, who has held the position in an acting capacity since 2022, and will serve for the next three years. The seat fell vacant in 2020 following the resignation of Daniel Manduku.
Captain William Ruto holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Strategic Management option from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). He is an associate fellow of the Nautical Institute (AFNI) and has been a member of IHMA (International Harbour Master’s Association) since 2018.
He has attained the highest qualification as a Ship Captain (Class 1 Master Mariner) from South Tyneside Marine College in the UK.
Captain Ruto is a seasoned mariner having started his career in 1991 at KPA as a Cadet Marine Deck Officer before rising through the ranks to be a General Manager, Operations, and later a Harbour Master.
Until this appointment, he was the General Manager of the Kisumu Port. His experience spanning 32 years will be instrumental in ensuring Kenya Ports Authority delivers on its mandate to the people of Kenya and continues to contribute towards the growth of the Kenyan economy.
Capt. William K. Ruto has worked both in private and public sector. Under private sector he worked at sea starting his career as a Cadet Marine Deck Officer from 1991 until December 1998 when he joined KPA as a Deck Officer Trainee Pilot.
He has attended various local and international seminars and workshops on shipping, maritime, transport and logistics matters. He has done Port Security course at the University of Maryland (USA), IMO course on Port Management and Operations, in France – Port Le Havre France and several other short courses on port maritime and management.
Captain William Ruto was in the spotlight in August when he was put to task by the National Assembly Public Investments Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy over the alleged undercharging of revenue from storage of containers.
He appeared before the committee led by Pokot-South MP David Pkosing to explain the method used in waiving an estimated Ksh242 million tax on goods held at the port from 2019 to 2020.
Captain Ruto told the Committee that the validation process of tax waivers involves making the requests in writing and was documented in a customer notice highlighting guidelines on the waiver handling procedure.
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