Gachagua, Moses Kuria clash over Mt Kenya unity, ‘one man, one shilling’ call

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (left) and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

Photo credit: Joiseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria clashed publicly on Saturday, June 22, over Mt Kenya unity and the one-man, one-vote, one-shilling resource allocation push during the burial of billionaire investor Gerald Gikonyo in Murang'a County.

Mr Gikonyo died at the age of 110, marking the end of a pioneering group of investors from Rwathia village in Murang'a County who moved to Nairobi in the 1950s and after independence pooled their resources to invest in real estate, divested in the entertainment sector and also embraced modern business aspects of tendering with the government.

 An auditor with the Rwathia Group of Companies, Mr Kanene Kabiru, said the company is the longest-surviving business in Kenya, having survived 67 years and still going strong, clarifying that contrary to the widely held belief that Mzee Gikonyo was the owner of the famous Joy Sabina Joy in Nairobi.

“That establishment is owned by a different group investment company whose founder chairman was the late Maina Kimere from Nyandarua County but with his roots from Murang’a County,” he said.

With four wives — Lucy Muthoni (1918-1994), Wambui Gikonyo (1924-1982), Sarah Nyambura (1926-200) and the only alive Mary Wangari who was born in 1930, the late Gikonyo saw 19 great-great-grandchildren, 227 great-grandchildren, 123 grandchildren and 23 children—one adopted.  He married his wives in 1934, 1938, 1944 and 1952 respectively. 

Crying wolf

While DP Gachagua maintained that he would not relent in pushing the two issues for the benefit of Mt Kenya people, Mr Kuria accused him of being a crybaby instead of using the position and resources at his disposal to help the community achieve its aspirations.

 Mr Kuria said “I cannot be party to a narrative of crying wolf where there is none and instead of promoting the culture of hard work, resilience and working smart, we are teaching them on how to feel demeaned, trashed and befitting pity”.

 Mr Gachagua said “one who is here to attend the burial of such a big family held together by a successful investor must know that it was possible because he united his wives, children and business partners hence know why we are demanding unity and our tycoons be spared spite”.

 Mr Gachagua said “this region must cease its traditional jealousy where instead of building one of their own, they only scheme on bringing down those on the rise.”  

 “Some are known for posting silly social media posts whose agenda is promoting divisions in this community,” he added.

He said “my call of community unity is being fought even by some of our own who we must subject to prayers” saying “you have heard them here and out there opposing my call of one-man-one vote one shilling mantra”.

 He added that “history is repeating itself where we had betrayers of the common cause of the community…a Cabinet secretary from this community was recently in Nyahururu where he had assembled and offered them food and Sh20, 000 each, another one had a gathering where he was giving them Sh100, 000 each to recruit them in fighting my cause of unity and self-entitlement to the national cake even when it is obvious we need it”.

Mr Gachagua said “there is yet another CS who has been given a house in Nairobi to launch a coordination centre of dividing the Mt Kenya region and has been fully facilitated by our enemies.”

Mr Gachagua promised to counter that tide. “I am listening to our people who are stuck together as though cemented and my voice is their voice,” he said.

 He said, “some of our people who have been appointed into government have been overfed by our detractors and are now vomiting on us, some even after we are saying we don’t have money in the economy are walking around carrying money in sacks to advance narratives that will do us no good”.

 “This community has become home to boisterous leaders with no care for the common good and are busy seeking rent from our enemies but worry not…when time comes we will name them by their names…and they will come to realise they know very little about the house of Mumbi,” he added.

 This came as Mr Gachagua’s allies declared a 2027 to capture capital City leadership saying Mt Kenya residents are getting a raw deal from Governor Johnson Sakaja’s administration.

Embakasi North MP James Gakuya warned that “we are being pushed to third-rate residency because of our lack of seriousness in bidding for the seat of power leadership.” Mr Gachagua said, “Nairobi properties must be protected by one who knows the pain of investing and by those from investing families.”

Mr Gakuya said Mt Kenya people have more than 1.2 million registered voters but once elections are called, only half of them turn out and allows themselves to be divided into different camps instead of dying for their own”.

He also accused descendants of pioneer investors of commencing a spree of selling off their patriarchs’ properties to foreigners instead of selling them if it must be so, to their community’s tycoons.

 “We now have a situation where the current Nairobi leadership is receiving orders from above without involving Mr Gachagua, to demolish even our properties. We must change that narrative going forward,” Mr Gakuya said.

Hard work

Mr Gakuya’s sentiments were supported by Naivasha MP Jane Kihara who said: “Had we known that he will end up turning against us, we would have supported Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party’s Polycarp Igathe…but all is not lost, we shall revisit”.

Mr Kuria said: “But the very same people who opposed Igathe are the ones who are today deceptively crying wolf when they had the opportunity to vote for him in the full knowledge they had prior information that he was from their tribe”.

Gikonyo’s family eulogised him as “a true family man who despite having no formal education ensured his children acquired quality education, taught us the fear of God, hard work, savings and investments”.  

Former Equity Boss Chairman Peter Munga said Gikonyo was the pioneer investor from Murang’a who loved buildings and land as the hiding place of his wealth.

“We will remember him as a man who inculcated a culture of unity in saving and investing to the point he inspired the birth of Equity Bank. He represented the trademark of resilience, honesty, generosity and compassion. We mourn a fallen mountain of investment,” he said.

 Mr Munga took issue with today’s youth “who easily lose faith and purpose in life, choose jobs and won't remain in one job for long ... .The late Gikonyo became an orphan at the age of nine years, and rose to become a billionaire”.

Mr Munga advised the youths to ensure they at all times handle employment as a platform to plan for the future, deny themselves the trappings of the good life and instead sacrifice for investments that will make them rich and empower others by offering them livelihoods.

“If a man who had no formal education achieved all the economic milestones that are being recited in his death, then you can imagine what you can achieve with your education, technological minds and many mentors around,” he said.