DP Ruto explains why he settled on Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President William Ruto (left) chats with his running mate Rigathi Gachagua and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa during the burial ceremony of Ririani Gachagua in Hiriga village, Nyeri County on May 17, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto has defended his choice of Rigathi Gachagua to be his running mate, saying the Mathira MP is a “prayerful man” who is concerned about the plight of Kenyans.

The DP, while assuring Kenyans that his coalition was the best suited to transform the country, said Mr Gachagua would play a key role in the transformation of the economy if they win the presidency in the August 9 polls.

“I assure you that Rigathi has a strong personality and I was looking for a strong man. I am comfortable with him because Kenya needs such strong people who can tackle the challenges of our nation,” he said. 

Dr Ruto spoke during the funeral service of a stepbrother to the Mathira legislator Mr Gachagua at Hiriga village. The funeral was attended by more than 20 lawmakers affiliated to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

He said if elected, the Kenya Kwanza government would prioritise economic recovery, as opposed to his competitors in Azimio la Umoja who he said, had the priority of changing the constitution so that leaders can share political seats.

Dr Ruto, who was making his first appearance in Mt Kenya region after naming area MP as his running mate, said Mr Gachagua would help him spearhead the economic recovery.

The DP was trying to explain the reason he did not choose Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, contrary to expectations of many and even after the senator led in opinion polls and a vote conducted  by MPs from Mt Kenya region. 

“I chose Gachagua because he cares about the common person. He is a hard-working man who has always faced challenges head on and I have confidence in him,” he said.

On his part, Mr Gachagua pledged loyalty to the DP and said that contrary to assertion by a section of leaders that he would be troublesome to Dr Ruto if they win, he will be loyal.

“People said that if Ruto picks me as his deputy I will cause trouble but that is not true. If you are brought up in a united family like I was, you cannot change when you are old. I am a man who has been in uniform (referring to his service as a DO) and the language I know is to say Yes Sir to my boss,” Mr Ganchagua said.

ANC party Mr Musalia Mudavadi said Kenyans were suffering because the economy had been run down.

Former Governor William Kabogo claimed that the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition is trying to force a rerun in the forthcoming general election by having Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka run for presidency. 

He urged people from the Mt Kenya region to ensure they come out and vote on August 9 to ensure the Kenya Kwanza Alliance wins within the first round.

"We have not arrived yet and we cannot write off this guy because he is old...he will give us a run for our money. For Rigathi Gachagua to become deputy president, we must come out and vote to attain the 50+1 mark. There is a plan to take us to round two, we must push to ensure we win in the first round," he said.

On the nomination of Martha Karua as the running mate of the Azimio coalition, Kandara Mp Alice Wahome asked women to shun the nomination of one woman to promote leadership.

"We shall not accept the bait of one position. The naming of a woman is meant to mislead women," she said adding that women are not looking for one position but 50 per cent in leadership roles which will be made possible in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. 

She further noted that the choice of a woman from the region will not defer their votes to their opponents.

"As a region, we can't vote in that direction because of the choice of a woman. We will not change the vote choice," she said.

On the other hand, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said they were elated by the choice of Rigathi as deputy president nominee.

"It was not easy as we consulted with a lot of people. He was the best of all the leaders present. All that was considered were able but we all agreed on Rigathi," he said.

He criticised the Azimio coalition saying its a regrouping of people who have been in government from the 70s to the present time whereas their nominee has the people's plight at heart - the farmers, youth, downtrodden and businessmen. 

"We know who Raila is... he has a record of stone throwing, demonstrations and treason but you can't put cherry on a cake made with sand to make people vote for him," he said.

Kiharu Mp Ndindi Nyiri said a win for Rigathi is a win for the entire Mt Kenya region.

"He is a firm and intelligent leader. The mountain is safe in the hands of these two. Our agenda is to change the livelihood of people," he said.

Other leaders present included Governor Mutahi Kahiga, Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, Nandi Senator Cheruiyot, Nominated Wilson Sossion, Kiambu Woman Rep Gathoni Wamuchomba, nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, Laikipia Woman Rep Cate Waruguru, Nyandarua Woman Rep Faith Gitau, Naivasha Mp Jane Kihara, nominated Senator Cecily Mbarire, Mp Charles Njagua, Mp Didmus Baraza, Dagoretti Mp Kiarie among other leaders and UDA aspirants.

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