What you need to know:
- President Ruto maintains that his administration will not discriminate against any part of the country because of voting patterns.
- DP Gachagua says he has no apologies to make, insisting plum jobs will go to regions with highest shares.
The simmering rift between President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua seems to be escalating with the two Kenya Kwanza leaders appearing to be reading from different scripts.
While the President has maintained that his administration will not discriminate against any part of the country because of political differences, his deputy has, however, been unapologetic that the interests of those who voted for the ruling alliance come first.
The two leaders have recently been engaged in a back and forth over the “shareholding” remark with neither willing to cede ground, pointing to a possible cold war within the nascent administration.
Speaking during his four-day of Luo Nyanza region, President Ruto differed with his deputy over the latter’s stance on sharing of national resources, saying no region deserves to be discriminated against based on their voting patterns during the last General Election.
He said all Kenyans deserve to be served equally and that he will ensure he visits every corner of the country to commission development projects.
The Head of State, who was speaking in Urenga, Siaya County, on the first day of his tour of Luo Nyanza, pledged to work with all regions and ensure that all taxpayers benefit from their taxes and national resources.
“Let nobody tell you that you are out of this government. You pay taxes and you are Kenyans. This is your government. I will not allow any part of Kenya to be discriminated against in terms of development on the basis of political affiliation,” President Ruto said.
“It is primitive and backward for anybody to imagine that any region of Kenya cannot get development on account of how they voted. That is not correct,” he added.
Yesterday, the President reiterated that his administration will be all-inclusive by ensuring every citizen benefits from his government.
“I am the President of Kenya, you are citizens of Kenya, so this is your government,” he told Migori residents.
The remarks by Dr Ruto come against a backdrop of renewed push by DP Gachagua to fight for interests of Mt Kenya, insisting that he will make sure that the region’s shareholding increases from 47 to 60 per cent.
The DP, while speaking in Tigania East on Saturday, said many people are uncomfortable about Mt Kenya’s shareholding in government but they have no apologies to make for investing in President Ruto’s government.
While speaking in Kapsabet, Nandi County, yesterday, the DP insisted that only Kenya Kwanza loyalists will land plum jobs in government, telling those who joined the government as an afterthought not to ‘expect great things’.
“Those who joined us late should not expect much at the expense of Kenya Kwanza loyalists. We will continue giving good jobs to those who stood with us from the beginning. The Head of Civil Service is one of our loyalists who has secured a big and influential job in the government,” said Mr Gachagua.
The DP said he would not apologise for stating that those who voted for the Kenya Kwanza government should be given a lion's share of all key public appointments.
“Those who did not support us should not expect much from us. Let them wait until 2027,” he said.
However, six lawmakers from Mt Kenya who accompanied the President in his Nyanza tour criticised Mr Gachagua over his ‘shareholders’ remarks.
MPs Patrick Munene (Chuka), Moses Kirima (Imenti Central), Wambugu Wainaina (Othaya), Rahab Mukami (Nyeri Woman Rep), Karungo wa Thang’wa (Kiambu senator) and John Kiarie (Dagoretti South) were speaking in Migori yesterday.
“You are the President of the entire country…. and your biggest work is to build the institution called Kenya. All previous elections held in our country denied us Kenya, and left us divided into regions such as Mt Kenya, Rift Valley, Nyanza, Coast and North Eastern. Your biggest job as a President is to bring back our country called Kenya,” said Mr Munene.
“The fact that someone voted for Mr Odinga does not mean they do not pay taxes. When we increased taxes, even this Awendo people got affected. It is their right to get development,” said the lawmaker.
Ms Mukami said Migori people will also benefit from the Kenya Kwanza government.
Mr Kiarie said he supports President Ruto in his development plan.
The recent outburst by the DP comes after the President reshuffled his Cabinet, giving Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi more responsibilities, where he will now double as Foreign and Diaspora Affairs CS.
The elevation of Mr Mudavadi, according to some political pundits, is grooming the former deputy premier as Mr Gachagua’s checkmate in government, with suggestions that he could well be the President's running mate in 2027.
The DP has also been opposed to the ongoing bipartisan talks, terming the exercise a waste of time.
He recently also said he is opposed to any handshake between the President and Azimio leader Raila Odinga, warning of a political rethink from Mt Kenya should that happen.
However, he dismissed talk of a rift between him and his boss, saying Kenyans should not expect a political fallout between them since they are on good talking terms.
The DP denied there was bad blood between them, saying their critics are creating imaginary divisions and unnecessary tension.
He told ‘those imagining a political fallout’ that they are daydreamers as he and President Ruto talk daily and agree on how the country’s affairs should run.
For instance, he said, they had agreed that the President should visit Nyanza and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) strongholds and also chair a Cabinet meeting in Kisumu City, Mr Odinga’s backyard.
“There is no division between President Ruto and I. It is the creation of the media and enemies of the government who are still living in denial after we defeated their preferred candidate of Azimio,” said Mr Gachagua.
He accused opposition leaders of scheming to bring down President Ruto’s government, telling them they would fail in their efforts.
He cited recent attacks on him and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, saying it was simply because they are working round the clock to ensure the President succeeds in fixing the economy and uniting the country.
“Some leaders in the opposition are working on a plot to bring down President Ruto’s government because they have never accepted him as the President, but they will not succeed,” he said without mentioning any names.
Despite the denials, ‘Nation’ has learnt of the emergence of factions within Kenya Kwanza administration, with some politicians perceived to be leaning towards President Ruto appearing to brazenly take on his deputy.
In Mt Kenya region, some Kenya Kwanza politicians have been shunning Mr Gachagua’s functions.
The infighting in the one-year-old administration has been exacerbated by the Wednesday night reshuffle that saw some Cabinet secretaries demoted and others given additional roles. Some of the demoted CSs have blamed their enemies within the government for their tribulations.
Senate Majority Leader Boni Khalwale told ‘Nation’ that the political unrest and jostling for influence in Mt Kenya was no longer a secret.
“It is no longer in doubt that there is unrest in Mt Kenya. But I want to tell the leaders from the region that they better learn from us (Western). We used to belittle Kijana Wamalwa (former Vice President) until he died and we have remained disjointed for 20 years,” said Mr Khalwale.
The President’s Council of Economic Advisers chairperson, Dr David Ndii, uncharacteristically took on Mr Gachagua openly and accused him of having a District Officer (DO) mentality.
Dr Ndii made the remarks when responding to a tweet that accused Mr Gachagua of double speak when he reprimanded Dr Ndii and Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria for engaging in reckless talks. “Factory settings – chairman Nyeri District University Students Association (NDUSA), Oyugi Special DO, Uhuru PA etc,” Dr Ndii posted on X (formerly Twitter).
He later fired a series of posts stating that he is ready for any consequences that may come by stepping on big toes.
“We were elected on the platform of issue politics, economic issues in particular, and specifically against tribal and personality cult politics. I owe it to myself to hold the line, no matter the size of toes that need to be stepped on, or consequences.”
Mr Gachagua has been rallying Mt Kenya region and its leaders around him as he seeks to establish himself as its undisputed kingpin for purposes of succession politics.
Mr Gachagua was recently engaged in a public spat with Mr Kuria. In a tweet that Mr Kuria deleted moments later, he said: “Inferiority complex and misplaced insecurities will kill you nani. Relax!”
On Thursday last week, hours after he was reshuffled, Mr Kuria said his transfer was occasioned by his enemies, whom he did not mention by name.
“Kuria is implying that it is Gachagua who engineered his transfer from the Trade ministry... The bottom line is that Ruto’s government is disorganised and people are speaking at cross-purpose. He has to put his house in order if he is interested in delivering on his promises,” said Prof Macharia Munene, a professor of History and International Relations.
Apart from the power struggle between Mr Gachagua and Mr Kuria, there is yet another simmering supremacy battle between the DP and Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro.
Apart from Mr Kuria, National Assembly Majority Leader Sylvanus Osoro hit out at unnamed officials in government over the ‘shareholders’ narrative.
“This thing about your shares should end. You remain with your shares but all that we know is that we all pay taxes and are in the government. The day when we used to come here and stand before you as Kenya Kwanza and start chest-thumping on how we defeated them is over,” Mr Osoro said recently.
- Reporting by Collins Omulo, Moses Nyamori, Titus Ominde, Tom Matoke and Ruth Mbula