Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and his Mt Kenya political rival Ndindi Nyoro on Saturday signalled political camaraderie as they pushed for the unity of the vote-rich region.
The rivalry between the two leaders had heightened political temperatures in Kenya Kwanza and threatened to split it into camps when they met for a harambee in Kigumo, Murang'a County.
The duo exchanged pleasantries, calming their supporters, as speakers at the event vouched for unity and support of President Ruto's administration.
Mr Gachagua had termed the succession debate pitting him and the Kiharu MP as immature as he rekindled memories of his involvement in successive governments.
In a bare-knuckle attack on his opponents, Mr Gachagua said he was more experienced in politics having worked with the three former Presidents Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta adding that the debate should end.
MPs allied to Mr Nyoro had sparked the debate by calling for Gachagua's replacement as Dr Ruto's running mate in 2027 polls with the Kiharu MP touted as the best to replace him.
But on Saturday, the DP, who has been working to consolidate Kenya Kwanza support in Mt Kenya region and be the region's political kingpin following the retirement of Mr Kenyatta, said he was ready to mentor young leaders to take over once his leadership with Ruto was over.
"When my time comes, I will not leave you the way Uhuru left us. I will nurture leaders carefully and intelligently. When it's my time to exit, we will have prepared enough leaders and you can choose who to vote for among them. Uhuru did not prepare us. I sprung up from nowhere like a mushroom," Mr Gachagua said.
The DP was at Kinyona in Kigumo Constituency for a memorial service for nominated MP Sabina Chege's mother Suzanne Wanjiru and fundraising for Bishop Gatimu Kinyona Girls Secondary.
When Mr Nyoro spoke, he pledged unconditional support for Mr Gachagua and President Ruto.
"We offer the President and his deputy unconditional support as they serve Kenyans. To the Deputy President, we offer you support and pray that you succeed in the tea, coffee and milk agricultural sub-sector reforms. We love you and support you as our leaders," said Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro.
The DP called for Rift Valley and Mt Kenya unity as the more than 100 MPs from both Kenya Kwanza and Jubilee Party in attendance backed the push.
Several MPs also criticised Mr Nyoro for causing division in the region.
The Deputy President cautioned youthful political leaders against engaging in divisive and succession politics, stating that the same was insensitive to the critical Kenyans who have just come out of an election.
"Let us be united. This is not the time to talk about succession. It is insensitive to talk about succession slightly over one year after the elections. We should first work and focus on helping President William Ruto achieve his mission to transform this country. The President and I will continue mentoring and nurturing youth leaders. We will nurture leaders carefully and intelligently. By the time we leave office, we will have prepared enough leaders. Let us not divide Kenyans," said the Deputy President.
He also asked the leaders to shun intra-county politics and focus on socioeconomic development describing that form of politics as retrogressive.
"Some people get excited and start engaging the people with trivialities and in the process causing divisions. We must have a vision and work on it, but also be careful. Divisive politics brought us problems in the past. We have a responsibility to help the President in keeping our backyard in order. I appeal to the leaders, please let us do everything to unite our people. Our unity is our relevance in national political discourse," said the DP.
The leaders, drawn from different parts of the country, accompanied the Deputy President for the fundsdrive event held at Bishop Gatimu Kinyona Girls School, Kigumo Murang'a county.
Addressing the MPs at Thika Greens after the meeting, the DP described the massive turnout of the leaders-117- as sending a strong message of unity.
MP Edward Muriu, from Gatanga, said "We are committed behind Deputy President Gachagua and President Ruto. We will continue supporting them and we are grateful that the Jubilee Party joined the government".
National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah praised the Deputy President for embracing the leaders of the Jubilee Party and others aligned with the Azimio opposition party.
"We thank Sabina Chege (Jubilee acting party leader), Kanini Kega (Jubilee Party Secretary-General) and Deputy President for uniting us. We must all unite in pursuit of the greater good for Kenya. The Deputy President is a great leader as he does not discriminate against leaders and embraces all people from the political divide," said Mr Ichung'wa.
Eldas MP Adan Keynan and Ms Chege said their party (Jubilee) will work with the Kenya Kwanza administration.