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Gachagua: All is not well between me and my boss William Ruto

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President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during the National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on May 30, 2024. 

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has given the strongest indication yet that all is not well between him and his boss – President William Ruto.

Mr Gachagua, however, says the issues between him and the president will be addressed in the spirit of development, unity and democracy.

The fall-out in Kenya Kwanza administration, he said on Sunday, was being fuelled by people who recently joined the government and were now dictating on how those who have stood with Dr Ruto in good and bad times should relate with him.

An indicator that the two top political guns in the country have a frosty relationship, Mr Gachagua said he would engage the youth (Generation Z) on the issues they had raised on governance, in a process outside the one set up by Dr Ruto.

“I have no doubt in my mind the president and I are good friends and we cannot allow anyone to come in between us. We will sort any emerging issues between us. We are calling on leaders to tone down,” Mr Gachagua said.

The DP also alluded to the fact that some people in the Kenya Kwanza coalition did not respect him and the office he holds.

Speak the truth

“Even if you do not like the person in the Office of the Deputy President, respect the office because one day if God blesses you to be there, you will want to be respected,” Mr Gachagua said at Deliverance Church International at Kaplong in Bomet County during a fund-raiser.

The DP said he would continue assisting the president by telling him the truth on issues affecting Kenyans.

“A few people in the government are uncomfortable with the truth and some people around the President do not want me to speak the truth. But, we cannot pretend all is well and look for scapegoats. Let us address the issue the people have raised,” Mr Gachagua said.

The recent outbursts by the DP against National Intelligence Services (NIS) Director General Noordin Haji on lack of proper intelligence briefs to the President on the backdrop of rejection of Finance Bill, 2024, has been interpreted as an indirect attack on Dr Ruto.

The statement was seen to draw attention to the fact that the President might have been briefed on the actual situation on the ground and how the Bill was unpopular among Kenyans of all walks of life, but he ignored it and went on to marshal MPs to vote in support of it.

Mr Gachagua appeared in the tail end of the push for its passage, to waver and did not come out to drum up support for it especially after the backlash over his “one man, one shilling” policy, with MPs and senior government officers appearing to go for his political jugular.

Mr Gachagua has been seen to gravitate towards the political corner of former President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mt Kenya politics and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the past few weeks in what has kept tongues wagging about the fate of his position in 2027 General Election and in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party.

Mr Gachagua has lately been denied military helicopters and those operated by government agencies, forcing him to lease private ones in what has been viewed as accelerated fall out with the President.

He has twice missed out in receiving the President at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival from foreign trips and missed key government meetings chaired by the President.

Mr Gachagua has openly hit out at Cabinet Secretaries, senior civil servants and politicians of undermining him.

He spoke at a function where all the elected MPs in Bomet County who should have played host, kept off. Only Governor Hillary Barchok, his deputy Shadrack Rotich, Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno, Kajiado Senator Seki Lenku and Kangema MP Peter Irungu were in attendance.

He claimed on Sunday that the political undercurrents in Kenya Kwanza were being fueled by people who opposed Dr Ruto in the last general election, mobilized resources against his candidature, but had joined the government and taken the role of criticizing those who stood by the President through a turbulent time.

“They are the ones criticizing us and telling us how we should relate with the President. It is important for us to take care of the people we have in our corner as we reach out to those who did not believe in us in the first place,” Mr Gachagua claimed.

Professor Barchok threw the DP's and congregation’s attention for the failure by all area MPs to attend the church function and wondered whether they had been instructed to keep off.

“As you can see, all the local MPs have kept off this function. We do not know whether or not they have been directed to keep off. But I want it known that it is only the woman representative Linet Chepkorir Toto who sent an apology and her contribution” Professor Barchok said.

Bomet Senator Hillary Sigei, nominated Senator Joyce Korir, Sotik MP Francis Sigei, Mr Richard Kilel (Bomet Central), Mr Richard Yegon (Bomet East), Mr Victor Koech (Chepalungu), Mr Brighton Yegon (Konoin) did not attend the church service cum fundraiser.

The DP said MPs and senior government officials should listen to the issues raised by the people on the socio-economic and political development in the country.

He stated that the people are at the centre of governance issues which leaders were seeking to address with the current political upheavals in the country.

“Let's not vomit on the people who elected us. Do not display opulence and arrogance on those who elected us in the last general election for the simple reason that you have money and power" Mr Gachagua said.

"Our leaders should know that you can put out a strong message respectfully. Let us address the voters with humility and dignity as they are an understanding people,” Mr Gachagua said.

Mr Gachagua said the MPs who voted YES for the Finance Bill, 2024 which Dr Ruto has rejected and returned to parliament, should visit their constituencies and apologize to the people who have displayed a lot of anger against them for their action.

“The President has listened to the young people, Kenyans at large and has opened the door for consultation. He has already met church leaders in the ongoing process that is meant to heal the rift and unite the people” Mr Gachagua said.

The DP said it was incumbent upon those in government to listen to the divergent views that Kenyans hold on policies and programs being rolled out, which directly affect them.

“I will engage the youths (Gen Z) to hear their problems outside the framework which the President has created. We want to know what the youths know that we do not (know), what is it that they are seeing that we do not see. In the process, will help the President to address the issues affecting Kenyans” Mr Gachagua said.

“Let us not ignore the youthful generation on the issues affecting the people as the future belongs to them,” Mr Gchagua said.

The DP said there was a lot of backlash against the MPs across the country for backing the Finance Bill, 2024.

“I will no longer carry the burden of MPs as the people do not want to hear anything to do with them wherever I have toured in the last one week. They should face the electorate directly and address the issues being raised” Mr Gachagua said.

Professor Barchok said the disrespect to the Presidency, especially the office of the Deputy President, had fueled the revolt against the government by the people.

"Politicians should carry themselves with humility and stop being arrogant. Let us play our rightful role without overstepping our mandate. How will we unite the country if we are united ourselves,” Professor Barchok wondered.

"The people are disappointed with me and all of us, especially politicians surrounding the President, Deputy President, Governors, Members of Parliament and Members of County Assembly” Professor Barchok said.

Political currents

Professor Barchok said, "The Finance Bill, 2024 has only triggered the underlying political currents in the country with a display of arrogance, display of opulence in the midst of poverty that risks dividing the country. It is clear we have to weigh our words before speaking or give quiet altogether"

Mr Ngeno called on members of the public to allow MPs to return home and undertake their development agenda to the benefit of the people.

“I am pleading with you voters to tone down, allow MPs to return home, apologize if they must over their position on the Finance Bill, 2024 and embark on development” Mr Ngeno said.

Senator Seki said, "We are looking up to President William Ruto and Mr Gachagua to provide us leadership and tell us the direction we will take. We need to go back to the people to apologise.