It's official: William Ruto names Rigathi Gachagua as running mate

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, a key point man of the DP in Mt Kenya region.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President and Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential candidate William Ruto has named Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate in the 2022 presidential election.

While naming his deputy on Sunday, Dr Ruto said that Kenya Kwanza had harmonised the agenda of different parties to conform to the economic blueprint of Kenya Kwanza after a 17-hour meeting.

William Ruto names Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate

The naming of Mr Gachagua as the person who will deputise Dr Ruto, if he wins the August 9 presidential election, ends the guessing game which has persisted for months.

On Saturday, the much awaited unveiling of Dr Ruto’s running mate almost ran into headwinds amid reports of a major standoff.

By 5.30pm on Saturday, Members of Parliament allied to Dr Ruto were reportedly divided over the choice of Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki and  Mr Gachagua.

Those who were being considered for the Kenya Kwanza running mate were Ndindi Nyoro, Wahome Alice, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, and Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru.

At 5pm, Prof Kindiki and Mr Gachagua drove out of the meeting, pointing to a possible standoff. They, however, returned to Dr Ruto's Karen residence later.

Other legislators including Kenya Kwanza Alliance principals, were said to be still going on with negotiations. Communication sent on Friday had indicated that the unveiling  of Dr Ruto's running mate would be done at 10am Saturday.

But when lawmakers allied to Kenya Kwanza arrived at Dr Ruto’s Karen residence, a major stalemate emerged, forcing the team to convene a crisis meeting.

There was tension between MPs who were rooting for  Senator Kithure Kindiki against a handful in support of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.

 As that went on, protests were reported in Mathira constituency, Mr Gachagua’s backyard, with his supporters demanding that he be given the slot.

Dr Ruto is reported to have settled on Mr Gachagua but a majority of MPs from Mt Kenya were opposed to this.

Amani National Congress of Musalia Mudavadi  was also said to be opposed to Mr Rigathi’s selection. Dr Ruto had earlier in the week described the process of picking a running mate as the easiest thing that does not deny him sleep.

At about 3pm, there were signs that the team was about to call in the Press to reveal the chosen candidate but it turned into yet another false start. Journalists had been camping at the gate since Saturday morning.    

In a brief press briefing at 12.50am Sunday, Deputy President’s Head of Communications Hussein Mohamed assured Kenyans that the process of picking Dr Ruto’s running mate had been finalised and would be announced later in the day.