All eyes on Gachagua as he tours Murang’a

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses wananchi in Nyeri town on June 15, 2024.


What you need to know:

  • Gachagua’s revenue allocation agenda has not found favour with Ruto's allies.
  • The DP has not relented in his push and taken on the President’s allies head-on.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua will visit Murang'a County on Saturday as the country reels under the protests that forced President William Ruto withdraw the Finance Bill 2024.

Mr Gachagua is expected to attend Catholic Church's Kaharate branch in Murang'a South where he will be hosted by Maragua MP, Mary wa Maua.

Mr Gachagua's visit also comes at time the political fault lines between him and President Ruto have widened further.

This week, the DP demanded that the President should fire the National Intelligence Service (NIS) boss Noordin Haji for allegedly failing to inform the President about the magnitude of the protests.

In Murang'a, it will be interesting to see how he will manouvre the politics around the recent protests and which leaders from the Mt Kenya region will show up.

The area MP has been categorical that the DP's tour will purely for helping the church.

The visit will also come a day after Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria received hostile reception at a church in Kandara Constituency for engaging in politics.

Mr Gachagua and Mr Kuria have in the recent past clashed over the "one man, one vote, one shilling" revenue allocation formula that the DP is championing.

While attending the burial ceremony of Rwathia Distributor's Chairman, Gerald Gikonyo, in Wanjerere village, Mr Gachagua said he would not relent on pushing for its implementation.

In response, Mr Kuria dismissed Mr Gachagua over what he termed as divisive politics.

Similarly, Mr Gachagua’s revenue allocation agenda has not found favour with Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki. The CS is on record for challenging the Deputy President to drop the idea.

Kikuyu MP and Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung'wah has also be a vocal critic of the Deputy President.

"We need an alternative leader who will preach peace instead of beating drums of war and portraying the President as an enemy of the people," Ichung'wah said this week in reference to Mr Gachagua.

The Deputy President, on his part, has not relented in his push but instead taken on the President’s allies head-on.

It is worth noting that Mr Gachagua’s allies in the area Kieni MP, Wainaina Chieni, and Mathira MP, Eric Wamumbi, were targeted by the constituents during this week’s protests.

Mr Ichung'wah as well as Molo MP, Kimani Kuria, were similarly targeted by their angry constituents for supporting the Finance Bill.

Mr Gachagua’s detractors have questioned his loyalty to the President amid speculations that he is marshalling his base in Mt Kenya ahead of 2027 General Election.

Yet, many agree that Gachagua's rise to the top has been phenomenal, becoming the Deputy President after just one term as Mathira MP.

"In my long administrative career that has seen me serve all the pre-independent government in Kenya till 2020, I had not expected Gachagua to rise that abruptly. Give it to him, that was smart on his part," said retired provincial administrator Joseph Kaguthi.

"Gachagua came into office carrying the hope of Mt Kenya. When he was tasked to oversee the rejuvenation of coffee, tea and dairy sectors, there was renewed economic optimism for the people of Mt Kenya," Mr Kaguthi said.

Mr Kaguthi said Mr Gachagua appears to have too much love for the mountain and too much gusto in serving it to a point has forgotten, or neglected, his broader national calling.

Political analyst Prof Ngugi Njoroge describes Gachagua evolution from a first term MP to Deputy President as a cross whose weight troubled his shoulders.

"From the darling of the mountain, he morphed into a national punching bag over too much regionalism and conflict-laden proclamations before he struck a new note that appears to target becoming Mt Kenya lynchpin at the expense of his constitutionally defined national mandate," Prof Njoroge said.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture Technology lecturer Charles Mwangi said it is now clear that given two options of either leading Kenya or Mt Kenya, Gachagua most likely will pick the latter.

But this is a notion Mr Gachagua dismissed on Saturday while in Murang'a County.

"My primary interest as a villager of the Mountain is to unite my own people so that we can move together to the national platform to unite Kenyans," he said.

"Everyone has where he comes from. I, for instance come from the mountain, and we cannot talk of a nation before we have exhausted the debate about our families, villages, counties,” he said.

To his credit, Mr Gachagua’s “one man, one vote, one shilling” has found favour with several leaders in Mt Kenya, including former Laikipia County Woman Rep Ms Cate Waruguru.

“People from the mountain have received the biblical second touch and are no longer seeing blurred political visions… we are now nearly unanimous as a region that Mr Gachagua is now the voice of our people, especially about our pet subject - one man, one vote, one shilling formulae,” she told the Nation.

Former Gatanga MP Mr Nduati Ngugi said Mr Gachagua’s villager moniker has also resonated well with the people of Mt Kenya region.

Mr Ngugi believes that the villager moniker, if well managed, could hugely boost Gachagua’s political ambitious in a much bigger way than the ‘hustler’ ideology did for President Ruto.