Gachagua delivers Sagana 'mchele nyama' promise as Ruto tours restive Mt Kenya

Gachagua delivers 'mchele nyama' promise at Sagana State Lodge

On Sunday, the internet was awash with pictures of Mt Kenya farmers feasting on mounds of rice and beef stew at Sagana State Lodge in fulfillment of Mr Gachagua's pre-election promise.

President William Ruto's Mt Kenya tour, which started on Saturday, August 5 and ends on Wednesday, seems to be continuing on his pattern of using prayer and food to penetrate the pulse of the region has also featured prominently in his public speeches so far.

Addressing the public in Kiambu, Murang'a, Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties, Mr Gachagua declared that "we did not ask for anything from this man (Ruto) because we knew he was a good man, a man of his word and who we believed in unlike what Mr Kenyatta asked us to trust Mr Odinga".

Dr Ruto and his brigade had chosen the Church as their bosom friend in the 2022 presidential campaigns that led to his victory in the August 9 general election, prompting mainstream faiths such as the Catholic and Presbyterian Churches to issue directives banning pulpit campaigning.

The visit has left local pundits wondering what happened to the big pre-election promises of ‘one man - one shilling - one vote’, tackling crop and cattle theft, increasing returns to farmers and tackling killer brews and narcotics.

"It now emerges that this man Gachagua, whom you trusted to take you to your desired promised land, did not enter into any written agreement with President Ruto. He has publicly confessed that he did not enter into any development memorandum and you are now at the mercy of fate," said Usawa kwa Wote party leader Mwangi wa Iria.

Mr wa Iria said "it is now urgent that the Mountain gets its alternative chief lobbyist for its interests because the one you've chosen has been compromised".

Wananchi enjoy breakfast at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri

Wananchi enjoy a meal at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri ahead of a thanksgiving service on August 6, 2023. President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua graced the event.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni could not hide his dismay either, declaring that "as a region, we are sunk".

He said the first campaigns had been launched barely a year into power and with no development project attached to this Kenya Kwanza regime.

"We have to tell these stories of betrayal. You cannot give people mchele na nyama as a development project and start asking them to give you their votes in 2027 five years in advance," he said.

Mr Kioni said Mr Gachagua needed to be called out for the great betrayal he had become.

"They are not even talking about the economic charters that they said they would use as launch pads for the rapid development of the area," he said.

While Maragua MP Mary wa Maua remained optimistic that "we should give our president time to implement his agenda when he comes to check on us", she also expressed the need for development promises to be kept.

"Mr President, you know that I worry too much about development for my people. This is the reason why I have been reluctant to join your team in the 2022 campaigns. I had to submit myself to the Kenyatta team to get the development you are starting here. We need water in Maragua...we need roads...we need development," she said.

Kirinyaga Senator Kamau Murango said the President had made a good start by issuing cheap fertiliser to reduce the cost of living.

But the general cry of the Mt Kenya hustlers could not be stifled as they sometimes remained lukewarm to the slogans thrown at them by the president's entourage.

Wananchi enjoy breakfast at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri

Wananchi enjoy a meal at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri ahead of a thanksgiving service on August 6, 2023. President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua graced the event. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

"In the run-up to the August 9 General Election, Dr Ruto went around Mt Kenya counties taking recommendations on how to rejuvenate wealth creation through entrepreneurship and announced them as economic charters. What has happened to them since we were told that their implementation would be reviewed every six months? His administration is almost a year old and there has been no single review," wondered David Muriithi, chairman of the Mt Kenya Small Scale Plantations Union.

The Ruto administration will be a year old in a month's time.

Mt Kenya Counties had submitted the Small and Medium Enterprises sector as needing structured reforms that would reduce the cost of doing business and increase profit margins.

The region had also put forward the elimination of middlemen, the introduction of subsidies and value addition in the agribusiness sector and the creation of a business development fund.

During the recent Embu County Mega Business Expo, salient issues emerged that require urgent attention in fulfilling the charters.

Some of those who attended the expo lobbied for the application of the bottom-up economic model in their business ventures, saying the wait was getting longer than expected.

The event was graced by Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) CS, Simon Chelugui.

Mt Kenya Matatu Owners and Crew Association secretary-general Dishon Njagi said they wanted the government to ask traffic police officers to slow down corruption.

"On average, every matatu on the road spends about Sh500 bribing traffic police officers. That is Sh182,500 per year per matatu. This is wealth that does not help investors or the government," said Mr Njagi.