Kate Waruguru
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‘I am a villager’: Local versus national politics and the making of big rift in Ruto, Gachagua cold war

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 Former Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru is among leaders spreading the ‘village’ slogan.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

There is a new slogan in town, ‘I am a villager,’ that has taken social media by storm despite attempts to counter it with other catchphrases like “My Village is Kenya.”

The social media platforms have been abuzz with posts and pictures in reference to the purported rift between President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua with the sub-plot of Mt Kenya supremacy battles.

At the centre of the “village” controversy is a remark made by National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah on the floor of the House on Thursday during the morning sitting when MPs were debating the State Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill, 2023.

In a thinly veiled salvo seemingly directed at the Deputy President, Mr Ichung’wah said no one can build a kingdom if he still craves for attention from the village.

“You can’t build a kingdom with someone who still wants the attention from the village. We will not build our nation, if we still want attention from our villages. Let us build a nation where we need and seek the attention of the nation of Kenya, not the attention of your villagers,” Mr Ichung’wah said.

Politicians coalescing around Mr Gachagua hope to latch and ride on the “villager” remarks to create a movement that could propel Mr Gachagua into political popularity as the relationship with the President continues to get worse.

Mr Gachagua has been seen to be frantically trying to consolidate the Mt Kenya region around him with his clarion call of one man, one shillings as the cold war with his boss escalates.

Former Laikipia woman representative Cate Waruguru later Friday posted on her account in X, a social media site, “I am a villager”.

The tweet was accompanied by a poster with photos of some women with a fist punching the air and a hashtag at the bottom of it reading #villgersmovement.

Manyatta MP John Mukunji also said in his X account that he was a “proud villager” as many other social media users chimed in on the hash tag that eventually found its way into WhatsApp groups.

Photos of white caps and T-shirts with the inscription “I am a villager” also littered social media as Kenya’s notoriously quick entrepreneurs started cashing in with various products.

Others went as far as crafting the logo of a prospective political party known as United Villagers Alliance with the catch phrase ‘To the city with Hope’

 On Wednesday, Mt Gachagua challenged MPs who are opposed to his push for the unity of Mt Kenya to cease opposing it in western Region but instead do it in the Central region.

Could this mirror Dr Ruto’s embrace — when he was deputy president — of the seemingly negative references like ‘Tangatanga’ and ‘hustler’ that he successfully turned into potent political slogans ahead of the 2022 elections? Only time will tell as creativity continues around the ‘village’.