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Gachagua’s four options in fresh storm

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DP Rigathi Gachagua speaks during a Special Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council consultative meeting at his Karen residence in Nairobi on Friday. 

Photo credit: DPCS

The political storm surrounding Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua will require a strategic counterattack to avoid traps that could dim his political star, politicians and analysts say.

Though he has all along insisted that all is well, indications by his close allies are that he is under siege.

“The relationship between me and the President is okay…The only problem we have are some traitors and collaborators amongst ourselves here in the mountain — those are the elements scheming about 2027 and 2032 but we will deal with them,” Mr Gachagua said on Tuesday when he addressed his supporters in Kirinyaga County.

Nevertheless, the Deputy President’s perceived woes have become fodder in Mt Kenya politics.

Former Gatanga Member of Parliament Nduati Ngugi says the DP appears to have been cornered and has four options.

Undermining the DP

He could stay put and fight on until the 2027 or 2032 General Election; play hardball and demand removal of his foes from government, bolt out and start an opposition movement or launch opposition while still in office. Any of these choices have monumental ramifications.

Mr Ngugi said there is a problem in the Kenya Kwanza administration with Mt Kenya at the centre of it “and the pressure is coming out through undermining Gachagua".

Mr Ngugi suggests that Mr Gachagua should do what it takes to unite Mt Kenya “including the option of submitting himself to former President Uhuru Kenyatta who is more experienced, has broader networks and the ability to take President William Ruto head on”.

Outspoken politicians like Githunguri MP Gathoni wa Muchomba and former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu want Mr Gachagua to declare his interest in the top seat.

“In 2027 Mt Kenya must field a presidential candidate. The problems he is facing are linked to a scheme to divide us (Mt Kenya). We should unite behind one of our own and face the schemers at the ballot if they’ll not respect our 47 percent contribution to the government,” Mr Waititu said.

Ms Wamuchomba said: “The person to get the mantle of kingpin should be one to run for the presidency in 2027. Our elders should take note of that”.

Kaguthi’s advice

Long-serving provincial administrator Joseph Kaguthi says the options given to Mr Gachagua should be considered carefully.

He says: “He is assured of remaining in office up to 2027 when the Ruto administration will go back to ballot. That is one of his major constitutional strengths from which he should craft his survival plan”.

Mr Kaguthi says Kenya Kwanza Alliance, being a coalition of principles, Mr Gachagua should demand total loyalty from all those who were appointed to senior positions through his joint ticket with the President.

But the loyalty of some senior Mt Kenya politicians perceived to have landed positions on the DP’s endorsement, appears shaky. Others have previously claimed direct links with the President.

“The biggest problem is that the same people being mentioned are the President's friends and loyalists who need not pass through Mr Gachagua to engage with the Head of State,” says Mr Kaguthi.

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

Perhaps that is the import of recent comments by Mr Gachagua’s chief trouble-shooter — Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga.

“We shouldn’t beat around the bush. Let’s state the facts as they are. President Ruto must realise that Mt Kenya shielded him from being undermined by his boss, (Uhuru) Kenyatta. We expect him to do the same and protect our own Gachagua with the full knowledge that his is a government made in Mt Kenya where our stake is 47 percent,” he said.

Others urge Mr Gachagua to apply wisdom since it is not clear where the button to undermine him is being controlled.

“What is not clear is whether his competitors from Mt Kenya are entirely behind his problems or if the scheme is from elsewhere by bigger actors. But he is in problems,” says former presidential aspirant Peter Kenneth.

“We can’t deny the fact that Mr Gachagua is seriously being fought and the results are being felt in form of a divided mountain. It is high time the DP rolled out his survival action plan,” Mr Kenneth told Sunday Nation.

On the other hand, Nandi Senator Mr Samson Cherargei delivered a message of goodwill, purportedly to give assurances that Dr Ruto and the Rift Valley have no problem with Mr Gachagua.

“I come in peace to deliver a message of goodwill to you that we value our partnership. The problems facing Mr Gachagua are coming from some of you in Mt Kenya,” he said last Tuesday in Gichugu Constituency.

But Embakasi North MP James Gakuya has been blunt.

Divide region

“All is not well and the fights being directed at the DP are being sponsored from Rift Valley. The strategy of fighting the DP is intended to divide the region, take away lucrative State business deals and remove the mountain’s influence in 2027,” he says.

And Kajiado North MP Onesmus Ngogoyo cryptically said: “We are aware that there is a mischievous lot in this power formation which has formed an opinion that we as Gachagua loyalists are pushovers. We want to make it clear that we have our limits…we are not carrying children on our backs.”

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara, a close ally of Mr Gachagua, said she was among a small group of people from Mt Kenya who came to Dr Ruto’s aid (when he was DP and under siege from President Kenyatta. She claimed they forged the “defiance narrative” against Mr Kenyatta in the Mt Kenya region and assured Dr Ruto they would never betray him.

“I now watch in disbelief as a high gear is engaged to undermine the DP. This is our government, we put it in power,” she said.

Kikuyu Council of Elders Patron Mr Kung’u Muigai says it is a tall order for Gachagua to submit to Mr Kenyatta for a united front ahead of 2027.

“The crocodile lives with the hippo in the deep waters and either can report on the wellbeing of the other. When we meet Gachagua and he tells us that there is no fight between him and the President. We should believe him,” Mr Muigai said.

“The problem is Mr Kenyatta is supposed to play the role of advisor and Mr Gachagua should be our general in political wars while all others submit behind him”.

He said the regional unity problem is because Mr Kenyatta is also playing roles supposed to be played by Mr Gachagua.

Mr Muigai added: “We saw some of the disunity projects to undermine Gachagua being rolled out on May 17, 2024 and dubbed Limuru III, this being a direct onslaught against our unity”.