Gachagua comes out swinging as he explains his 7-day absence

Gachagua pending bills

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in a past event.

Photo credit: File

What you need to know:

  • Mr Gachagua’s allies led by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga have spoken of a plot to dismantle him politically with unconfirmed reports that he had been barred from using military choppers to attend to various events. On Tuesday, the DP travelled to Kirinyaga by road.
  • The DP who spoke during the funeral of the late Ndumbi at Ngungu Primary School grounds in Gichugu explained why he had reached out to opposition leaders for the unity of Mt Kenya. 

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Tuesday came out breathing fire over alleged attempts to undermine him and curtail his political ambitions and dismissed such people as dreamers.

Speaking in Kirinyaga, the home of one of his critics, Council of Governors chair Ann Waiguru, a tough talking Mr Gachagua revealed that he took a one-week absence from public glare to seek divine intervention in Mt Kenya.

The absence saw the DP miss key presidential events, sparking speculation over his relations with President William Ruto and allegations were bandied about of his isolation by the Kenya Kwanza regime.

But on Tuesday, a bold and straight-talking Mr Gachagua who often switched between English to Agikuyu said he would soon name the faces those from Mt Kenya region that were undermining him.

“Let those dreaming of removing me do so since there’s no harm in dreaming,” Mr Gachagua said.

Mr Gachagua championed Mt Kenya unity, recalling the years they were relegated to the opposition after they fielded multiple presidential candidates. He insisted that the mountain voting bloc should not be taken for granted when discussing the country’s political dispensation.

He insisted the region’s residents will neither be fooled nor swayed into taking the wrong direction politically.

“It is too early to start fighting over the 2027 and 2032 polls. Leadership comes from God. Let us [first] work for the people for if it is about positions, relax and God will give them to you. As the English saying goes, every dog has its day,” Mr Gachagua said.

He added: “What is the [obsession] problem? We were not born with these positions. Were we not eating and drinking before we got these seats? We should avoid stressing ourselves and enduring sleepless nights about 2027 and 2032 politics since only God knows our fate.”

'Prayer and reflection'

Mr Gachagua said he had retreated without a cellphone for prayer and reflection at the heart of Mt Kenya for seven days last week, resulting in the murmurs over his whereabouts. 

He said his sojourn in the mountain was only disrupted by his wife, Dorcas, to give him news of the death of his former principal and mentor, career-educationist Julius Kano Ndumbi.

“I had taken seven days away at the heart of Mt Kenya for prayer, fasting and meditation,” Mr Gachagua said.

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua prays while facing Mount Kenya on January 8, 2023. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote l DPCS

Mr Gachagua’s allies led by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga have spoken of a plot to dismantle him politically with unconfirmed reports that he had been barred from using military choppers to attend to various events. On Tuesday, the DP travelled to Kirinyaga by road.

Mt Kenya unity

The DP who spoke during the funeral of the late Ndumbi at Ngungu Primary School grounds in Gichugu explained why he had reached out to opposition leaders for the unity of Mt Kenya. 

“We have learnt our lessons. Other regions are not fighting while our region has a history of traitors and betrayers since colonial times. Nonetheless, our people are hardworking and know their destiny despite what some people think of us,” the DP said.

He dismissed a group of Mt Kenya leaders opposed to proposals on allocation of resources based on population as traitors.

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

In a bare-knuckle attack, Mr Gachagua stressed that such leaders have no business to lead.

He said the opponents were being used by outsiders to reject what is good for the residents.

“We are advocating for one man-one vote-one shilling [formula] but some of our leaders are not for it. These are traitors who are being used by outsiders to divide us,” he said.

The DP likened such leaders to colonial home guards who made it hard for the country to attain independence fast.

“We have had traitors from this region for long. Even before independence we had them and they have been making us to suffer,” he said.

'Divisive leaders'

Speaking in his native Kikuyu. Mr Gachagua asked the residents to be wary of few leaders out to divide them.

“We have a history of traitors from this region but we are watching them. We are not fools. But luckily more often, out of ten traitors we have from this region, we have one million patriotic people,” he said.

He dismissed those opposed to allocation of resources on population as selfish leaders who have no interest of residents at heart.

“The opponents from this region are leaders who only mind about their stomachs, they don’t care about the welfare of our people,” he said.

He pleaded with the residents to be united if they want to go far in terms of development and political leadership.

“Our unity will be our strength, the moment we allow us to be divided then we are doomed,” he stated.

He vowed to continue pushing for the unity of the region whether his critics from the area liked it or not.

“Some outsiders are plotting to weaken us and they are using some of our people. Let us be wise lest we suffer forever,” he said.

At same time Mr Gachagua hit out at leaders who have embarked on early campaigns, accusing them of disrespecting Kenyans who voted for them.

He reminded them that it was time to work for Kenyans who need development more than anything else but not for politics.

“It is not seeking elective positions, it is not electioneering period and these leaders should cool down political temperatures,” he said.

Swipe at politicians

Mr Gachagua said political seats come and go and leaders should first serve Kenyans and leave a good legacy.

“How can you start thinking about what political position you will hold in 2027?” he asked.

Mr Gachagua said it was ridiculous for leaders to plunge the country into campaign mood when they have not even commenced on their pre-election pledges.

“Coffee debts will be written off the same way sugarcane debts were waived,” Mr Gachagua assured farmers.

He said coffee debts will be discussed by the Cabinet and waived so that farmers be relieved of such a big burden and continue with their farming.

He said the tea sector had registered positive growth and will be even better once farmers elect their directors.

Maragwa MP Mary Wa Maua set the ball rolling by rallying behind Mr Gachagua as Mt Kenya’s topmost leader.

“Be firm in whatever you do. You are a national leader. Look forward don’t get distracted by haters. Your detractors want you to underperform. Leave us to deal with the noise makers  for they were nowhere when you were fighting for Ruto. They just joined us after forming government,” Ms Wa Maua said.

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua in Nyeri

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua share a light moment during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally at Karatina town on May 21, 2022. 


Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

Ms Wa Maua and a number of other speakers hit out at MP Mwangi Kiunjuri over his attacks on Mr Gachagua.

Nominated Senator Veronica Maina said: “I know for a fact we have one President and one Deputy President in this country. You were ordained before God. We are fully behind you.”

“Don’t pay heed to the detractors. It is the people who elect the President and the Deputy President.  We are praying for you,” Ms Maina, a former UDA Secretary General said as she remembered her journey with Mr Gachagua from Jubilee to UDA.

Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari told Mr Gachagua to stick to his lane adding that “we will deal with the people who are bringing you down.”

Kirinyaga Woman Rep Njeri Maina said President Ruto and Mr Gachagua stood and were elected on same ticket and that divisions in Mt Kenya portrayed a bad image.

“We should all stand behind Riggy G. Those dreaming should continue to do so as we face DP Gachagua’s detractors head on so that he continues working for Kenyans. We will continue praying for the Deputy President,” Ms Maina said.

Senator Kamau Murango took issue with Mt Kenya leaders for giving DP Gachagua sleepless nights.

He said Kirinyaga residents where one of Gachagua’s critics Anne Waiguru hails from supported the DP.

“As the local Senator I am like the man of the house. The governor is Waiguru and Woman Rep Njeri. I will ensure our house is in order. We are fully behind you. If you say we should change direction, we will follow you,” Mr Murango said.

Ms Waiguru posted a coded message on her Facebook page that is likely to complicate Gachagua’s efforts to be President Ruto’s running mate in 2027 and succeed him in 2032 if he wins a second term.

The Kirinyaga Governor is among top leaders perceived to be battling for the control of Mt Kenya votes following former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s retirement.

On Monday, the second term Kirinyaga Governor lambasted Mr Gachagua, indirectly suggesting that he was hindering her political aspirations. 

She advised Mr Gachagua not to personalise the Deputy President’s office and instead encourage young people to aspire to reach such positions. She reminded the Deputy President that in Kenya’s democracy, leaders were entrusted with offices, and not ownership.

“While we acknowledge the significance of the Deputy President’s office, and all other leadership positions, a progressive democracy requires that we do not monopolise public offices to the extent of discouraging others from aspiring to them,” Ms Waiguru said.

She lamented that many aspiring politicians in Kenya are discouraged by senior leaders instead of being nurtured.

“Everyone has the right to dream and pursue their ambitions, just as current leaders once did, with the support of millions of youth and women. They also deserve encouragement, not opposition,” Waiguru added.

But on Tuesday, Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi, a close ally of Mr Gachagua hit back at Ms Waiguru.

“To my friend Governor Ann Waiguru. A story is told of porcupines, they lived together in a very cold corner, even though they could harm each other with their sharp spikes, but their warmth kept them alive. One day they separated, and they died one by one because of the extreme cold. Since a candle does not go out by lighting another, your star will not dim for supporting the DP. It will actually shine more. We must all of us agree that Rigathi Gachagua is the Deputy President and accord him maximum respect. We can only have one Deputy President at a time,” he posted on his Facebook page.

Mr Gachagua has been facing opposition from a section of Mt Kenya leaders allied to Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro who want him to be Ruto’s running mate in 2027 polls.

The former Mathira MP has further faced attacks from Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, MP Mwangi Kiunjuri and the opposition brigade led by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua. 

In larger Kenya Kwanza, there has been unease between Mr Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi over who was seniormost in government.

On Tuesday, Kabare MCA Dr Isaiah Mureithi said Mr Gachagua is the Mt Kenya political kingpin and should not be threatened by anyone. 

Speaker Julius Murimi said locals firmly back Mr Gachagua’s political ambitions and efforts to unite Mt Kenya region.

“You are our father and we are firmly behind you so that the mountain does not become a laughing stock like leaders often pushing for Luhya unity.

“We want the next President of Kenya to be you, a Kianyaga High [School] alumnus,” the Speaker said.