Mukalo Kwayera @kwayeram
It’s triple celebration today as Deputy President William Ruto, aka ‘Hustler’ is conferred with a doctorate degree at the University of Nairobi.
Ruto was born 52 years today and married the love of his life Rachel, on the same day in 1991. It is a worthwhile birthday gift for the ‘Hustler’, as he is conferred with a PhD in Plant Ecology.
The DP is among seven University of Nairobi students lined up for doctorate degrees during the institution’s 60th graduation ceremony.
Other PhD graduands in various disciplines are Samsom Ogallah, Cherono Fancy, Victoria Jacob Kwamina Dodoo, Ameoliza Gioto, Victor Muya Ndambuki and Museleku Erastus Kiita.
For him, it has been a six-year journey of juggling between the rigorous academic environment and high octane politics driven by his 2022 State House ambition.
Last month, the university senate, chaired by Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi and attended by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs Prof Julius Ogeng’o, approved Ruto’s name and those of his fellow graduands.
Apex of academics
Ruto, who enrolled in August 2012, presented a thesis titled: Influence of Human Activities on Land Use Changes on Environmental Quality of Riparian Ecosystems: A case study of Saiwa Swamp watershed, Western Kenya.
In 2016, Ruto failed to make the graduating list owing to the fact that he had not met all the course’s requirements.
He explained that he had not been able to graduate because he did measure up to the set conditions saying only those who merit it should be awarded degrees.
But that was behind him because as he went through the graduation rehearsals yesterday, he already earned his place of honour among academics.
He has published his works in two journals of repute— International Journal of Research in Environmental Science and Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution — as stipulated by the education regulator Commission for University Education (CUE).
Born in Uasin Gishu, Ruto holds a Bachelor’s degree in Botany and Zoology and a Masters in Plant Ecology, both from the University of Nairobi. He attended Kerotet Primary School then joined Wareng Boys’ Secondary School for his ‘O’ Levels education before proceeding to Kapsabet Boys High School in Nandi county for his ‘A’ levels.
The conferment of the PhD takes to the apex his academic journey. A survey carried out by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) indicated that a lecturer with a PhD serves 94 students against 30, the number recommended by higher education experts.
At the moment, Kenya has less than 10,000 doctorate degree holders. Last year, 369 students graduated with PhD degrees. Kenya requires at least 1,000 annually.
Ruto’s graduation comes exactly one week after some prominent Kenyans, among them President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, were awarded honorary (Honoris Causa) doctorate degrees in various universities across the country.
Also awarded honorary doctorate degrees last Friday were Chief Justice David Maraga, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli.
MMUST acting Vice Chancellor Prof Joseph Bosire said the veteran trade unionist was identified because of the role he plays as head of the labour movement in Kenya.
Uhuru’s and Raila’s degrees were awarded by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology for their March 9 ‘Handshake’ while Maraga got his from Daystar University in line with the graduation’s theme: Transforming Africa through Excellence and Servant Leadership.
Prominent Kenyans known to have also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees are retired presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki.