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Dr William Ruto: Unanswered Questions Over President’s PhD

Did someone write PhD thesis for Ruto? Critics say having enrolled while facing charges at the ICC and serving as Deputy President, Ruto was hard-pressed for time to study such an intensive course

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President Dr William Ruto holds the distinction of being among few world leaders to hold the position of president with PhD qualification. He is also the first Kenyan president to graduate from a local university.

His doctorate, which he received in December 2018 while serving as deputy president, added the title ‘Doctor’ to his name after graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Plant Ecology at the University of Nairobi (UoN).

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The DP’s graduation came six years after he enrolled for the course at UoN in August 2012. At the first attempt, he did not make it to the graduation list after he failed to meet the necessary requirements. On Friday, 21st December 21 2018, however, he was finally conferred the title of ‘Dr’ alongside five others, whose names were approved by the UoN Senate, chaired by Vice Chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi.

Dr Ruto’s thesis was titled ‘Influence of human activities on land use changes on environmental quality of riparian ecosystems: A case study of Saiwa Swamp watershed, Western Kenya.’

Earlier, on 24th October 2018, Ruto had defended his PhD thesis at  the School of Biological Sciences. He failed to graduate in 2017 with a Doctorate in Philosophy in Plant Ecology after missing out on what he said were ‘set requirements’. Two months later, he graduated with the PhD, achieving an academic dream that had eluded him for six years.

While he celebrated this milestone, there have been plenty of critics who cast doubts at the academic achievement. Some say having enrolled for the PhD course while facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, and later serving as Deputy president, Dr Ruto was hard-pressed for time to study for a PhD, an intensive course that requires focus and concentration. The course takes up to six years to complete for full time students.

Who wrote the PhD thesis?

There has been speculation that Dr Ruto’s thesis was written by a professor who holds a BSc in Biological Sciences and a Master’s degree in Hydrobiology. Backers of this theory argue that Ruto and the professor, a former PS, come along way, including serving in the same ministry.

During campaigns ahead of the August 2022 elections, Prof Makau Mutua, an ODM backer, threatened to expose the DP’s “dark academic secrets” after Ruto criticised Raila Odinga’s qualifications. “We know many shocking things about Ruto’s supposed PhD that we can bring to light. He’s better advised to shut his mouth,” he said.

But the University of Nairobi is happy about their product. “UoN is proud to have produced the first President to ever graduate from a local University since Kenya attained her independence in 1963,” it says on its website.

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Dr William Ruto is a triple alumnus of the University of Nairobi.  He joined UoN in 1987 and pursued a BSc. in Botany and Zoology (Chiromo Campus) graduating in 1990, he later enrolled for a MSc. in Plant Ecology, graduating in 2011. In 2012, he enrolled for a PhD in Plant Ecology which he successfully completed graduating on 21st December 2018, a ceremony presided over by UoN Chancellor Dr Vijoo Rattansi and witnessed by the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta.

DP Ruto has published his work in two renowned journals – the International Journal of Research in Environmental Science and the Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution – as required by the Commission for University Education (CUE).

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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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