Gachagua: August elections is not my contest with Karua

Left to right: Kenya Kwanza Presidential Running-mate Rigathi Gachagua, Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, Senator Moses Watengula and Governor Hillary Barchok during a UDA prayer rally in Kericho town

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto and his allies on Sunday held prayers and rallies in different towns in the Rift Valley with appeals to the residents to turn up in huge numbers and vote in the upcoming general elections. 

The Kenya Kwanza Coalition, which visited Kapseret, Rongai and Free Area Towns in Nakuru, and Kericho urged residents to rally behind the party’s Presidential flag bearer and Deputy President William Ruto and his running-mate Rigathi Gachagua, emphasizing on the need for economic recovery. 

In Kericho, where Mr Gachagua visited for the first time since he was selected as Mr Ruto’s flag-bearer, the coalition held an interdenominational prayer session for its nominees.

From Left: Senator Moses Wetangula, Kenya Kwanza Presidential running mate Nderitu Gachagua, Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, UDA Gubernatorial candidate Dr Erick Mutai and his wife Mrs Betty Mutai, Bomet Governor Hilary Barchok at a prayer rally at Kericho Moi gardens on May, 22,2022

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation media Group

Mr Gachagua, accompanied by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader Isaac Ruto, Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, his Bomet counterpart Professor Hillary Barchok, Kericho gubernatorial UDA nominee Dr Erick Mutai, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot called on the residence of the region to lock their votes for Dr Ruto.

It was the first time team was holding a rally in the region which is considered a political base for the Deputy President who is set to face off with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has unsettled the political arena by pick Narc leader Ms Martha Karua as a running mate.

Mr Gachagua  sidetracked claims of a political contest between him and Narc Kenya party leader Ms Martha Karua.

While the Mathira MP is Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate, Ms Karua was picked for the same position by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in what seems to have somewhat tilted the political scales across the country.

“I have seen the media running the narrative that the contest in Mount Kenya and the country is between Ms Karua and I, but I want to clarify and set the record straight that the Presidential competition is one of Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga,” said Mr Gachagua during a UDA prayer rally at Moi gardens in Kericho town.

Much as the contest is between the actual Presidential contenders, the choice of their running mates informs the voting pattern as it has the ability to chop off sizable voting blocs or add value to the race.

It was Mr Gachagua’s first tour of the South Rift region after being picked as a running mate, in what came on a day UDA made a multi-pronged campaign approach in the Rift Valley region with Dr Ruto leading a team in Uasin Gishu while Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi.

“I have always wanted to face Mr Odinga in the campaigns, but he has been hiding behind my friend President Uhuru Kenyatta. I am happy President Kenyatta has stepped back, now we can face him in an issues-based contest,” said Mr Gachagua.

The rally marked the beginning of meetings expected to be seen in the region once the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) registers the candidates for the various positions in the impending election.

“We are appealing to the people of Rift Valley to rally behind Dr Ruto for the Presidency in the 2022 general election. We want to ensure that moving forward, we sensitize the people on the need to turn up in large numbers and cast their votes in August, 9 this year,” said Mr Benjamin Langat, a former High Commissioner to Namibia and UDA nominee for the Ainamoi parliamentary seat.

Mr Richard Yegon the UDA parliamentary nominee for Bomet East constituency said the Kenya Kwanza team would unlock the economic challenges that have bedeviled the country.

“We need to move forward together as a team under UDA and ensure we deliver the Presidency in the election so that we can unite the country,” said Mr Yegon.

Mr Joseph Cherorot, the UDA nominee for Kipkelion East constituency said there was a need for voters across the country to ensure that they vote for Kenya Kwanza team so as to fix the economy that has been battered in the last five years.

Deputy President William Ruto and  other  Kenya Kwanza alliance leaders address a crowd at Kampi ya Moto in Rongai , Nakuru City during Nakuru economic forum on May 22 ,2022.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

“The economy of the country has suffered for a very long time and it is time the leadership of this country transits to one that is keen on fixing it so as to create employment opportunities and allow industry to thrive,” said Mr Cherorot.

A number of the MPs said the Kenya Kwanza team will deliver the region for Dr Ruto in the August poll and that other parties should rally behind the team.

“Voters should be left to decide who their Governors, Senators, Woman Representatives, Members of Parliament, Members of County Assembly at the county level, and deliver all their votes to Dr Ruto for the Presidency,” said Emmurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno.

In Eldoret, DP Ruto held prayers at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa Langas in Eldoret before proceeding to Kabarnet Museum grounds for an interdenominational thanksgiving prayer service for Baringo United Democratic Alliance party nominees. Later on, the team converged at Kampi ya Moto in Rongai Nakuru County before making their way to Free-Area in the City.