William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua 
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How Ruto shielded Gachagua from attack by Kenya Kwanza MPs

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President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during the National Prayer Breakfast on May 31, 2024 at Safari Park Hotel.

Photo credit: PCS

President William Ruto reportedly shot down attempts by a section of Kenya Kwanza MPs to discuss the conduct of his deputy, Mr Rigathi Gachagua, during the ruling alliance’s parliamentary group meeting at State House yesterday.

Multiple sources confided in the Nation that President Ruto stopped the MPs from discussing Mr Gachagua, who is under fire for allegedly whipping up ethnic emotions for political gain.

MPs who attended the meeting told the Nation two of their colleagues, one from Laikipia and the other from Muranga, wanted Dr Ruto to lead them in laying into Mr Gachagua, whom they accused of going around Mt Kenya region calling them traitors.

The two MPs did not mention Mr Gachagua by name, but made reference to his recent remarks accusing Mt Kenya lawmakers of betraying their constituents.

“We have been called names. In Parliament, fellow MPs have been calling us names whose meaning we cannot understand. Komerera and Tukunia. We want to know why we are being labelled,” one of the MPs is reported to have said during the meeting that was chaired by Dr Ruto.

Another MP reportedly questioned Mr Gachagua’s loyalty to the President and the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

“I want to know whether all of us are in the same government because what we are saying here is not what we are portraying out there,” the MP reportedly said. 

But President Ruto reportedly steered the discussion away, telling the MPs that the PG was purposely convened to discuss the Finance Bill, 2024.

He said there would be another forum for such issues. Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa told the Nation the complaints should serve as a warning shot for the DP to slow down attacks on his political opponents.

Embu Governor and UDA national chairperson Cecil Mbarire told the MPs that the internal strife in the ruling alliance risks denying President Ruto a second term in 2027.

She said it would be difficult for UDA politicians to face voters, for whom President Ruto promised to create millions of jobs, prioritise the needs of low-income earners and bring down the cost of living.

“The expectations out there are very high. If we start losing focus now, I don’t know how we will face Kenyans in 2027. I personally want to stay focused on what I promised the Meru people. I believe that each of you wants to focus on the things you promised people in your constituencies,” said Ms Mbarire.

“If we don’t deliver, those hustlers will send us out of power. They will send us with vengeance. Let’s tone down on politics. It is not healthy. It is the wrong time. 2032 is very far. What is important for now is to ensure our team leader gets a second term,” she added.

She said Dr Ruto can only get a second term if he delivers on the promises made to Kenyans.

“Once he gets his second term,” the governor said while directing her remarks at Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot: “If you want bigger positions, let's engage then.” 

Mr Gachagua last week dared his critics from the region to address residents directly.

“If you think talks of [Mt Kenya] unity are not good, do not talk in Rift Valley or Western, come here and call for a gathering and tell the people why unity is not good. Come and speak from here,” Mr Gachagua said last Wednesday.

“I want to advise our leaders with tremendous respect, please our leaders, all politics is local, listen to your people, listen to the ground. Align your thinking and your utterances with the people, that is what I do all the time. I listen to the ground,” said the DP.

Last weekend, he also accused Dr Ruto’s close associates of trying to “order him around”.

“There are some people who are friends with the President who want to be my boss. Just because you are the President's friend you want to become my boss. PAs [personal assistants] want to order me on how to work. Is that possible? Even [President Ruto’s] bloggers want to tell me what to do ,” the DP lamented.

At the PG, Dr Ruto reportedly told the MPs not to engage in the politics of ethnicity.

“The President downplayed the talks about the DP. He told people not to be distracted and wait for the right time to politic.”

At the press briefing after the meeting yesterday, only Mr Kimani and Mr Ichung’wah addressed journalists while flanked by Dr Ruto, Mr Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and other leaders. 

President Ruto and Mr Mudavadi took time chatting with the MPs before the briefing even as the DP, whose allies have been opposed to the Finance Bill 2024, maintained a studious silence.