Kindiki's 2022 ghosts return to haunt Gachagua

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, DP Rigathi Gachagua and Interior CS Kithure Kindiki.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, DP Rigathi Gachagua and Interior CS Kithure Kindiki.

Photo credit: File

As a section of Mount Kenya West politicians argue that Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro should replace Deputy President Rigathi Gachagu as President William Ruto's running mate in the 2027 elections, voices have emerged in Mount Kenya East reminding their counterparts that "the position Gachagua occupied was meant for Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki".

The leaders, who include professional groups, have said that while they do not want to drag Prof Kindiki into the ongoing battle for political supremacy in Mt Kenya West, if Gachagua was to be dropped in 2027, the CS is the right person to replace him.

They also argue that President Ruto should consider supporting Prof Kindiki for the country's top job in 2032.

The infighting in Mt Kenya West has split President Ruto's supporters into two factions: one allied to Mr Gachagua and the other to Mr Nyoro.

Speaking recently during the burial of Prof Kindiki's father-in-law at Mukothima in Tharaka constituency, MPs from Meru, Embu and Tharaka Nithi counties led by Tigania East's Mpuru Aburi said the CS was best suited to replace Dr Ruto.

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu

Mr Aburi hailed Prof Kindiki as a great leader who has performed very well throughout his political career and as CS and is the right person to take over the leadership of the country from Ruto.

"We have our regional leader, CS Prof Kindiki, whom I want to prophesy today that he will be the President of this country after Ruto completes his 10 years," said Mr Aburi.

Chuka/Igambang'ombe MP Patrick Munene asked the people of the region to pray for Prof Kindiki so that he can continue to climb the leadership ladder because he is the hope of the region.

"It is God who has helped Kindiki to move from Tharaka Nithi Senator to the current position of CS and that is how he will become President of this country," said Mr Munene.

Last Saturday at Tharaka University, members of the Ameru Professionals Association led by Tharaka University Vice Chancellor and the group's outgoing chairman Kinyua Muriungi joined the politicians in praising Prof Kindiki's performance and asked President Ruto to support him after his 10 years.

"Ameru region professionals are happy with Prof Kindiki's performance and we believe that Ruto will leave the country in the hands of the CS," said Prof Muriungi.

Most sober

The professionals hailed Prof Kindiki as the most sober and hardworking leader in the Mt Kenya region.

President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua

President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during the launch of the Emgwen affordable housing project in Kapsabet town, Nandi County on January 16, 2024.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Speaking during a church service in Tharaka North Sub-county on Sunday, local leaders led by Mr Sabastian Mwangangi, who unsuccessfully contested for Tharaka MP, also insisted that if Dr Ruto is to pick a new running mate as he seeks a second term, Prof Kindiki would be his best option.

Mr James Mutegi claimed that the political disagreements in Mt Kenya West are an indicator that Mr Gachagua was unable to solidly rally all Kikuyu voters behind President Ruto and they could lose a large chunk of the Mt Kenya region votes if they seek re-election together.

"We are watching what our brothers in Mt Kenya West are saying and in case of any change, Ruto should pick Kindiki and endorse him for the top seat in 2032 when he retires," said Mr Mutegi.

In Meru County, a group of youth politicians held a press conference last week and said while it was too early to discuss 2027 election politics, Prof Kindiki was the best choice for President Ruto's running mate when he seeks re-election.

They faulted Mt Kenya West politicians allied to Mr Nyoro, claiming they were being self-centred in suggesting he replace Mr Gachagua when they are from the same community.

Mwea MP Mary Maingi also recently said that should there be a change of deputy presidential candidate in 2027, Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru, who is serving her second term, was the best person for the job.

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru at the council’s offices in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 22.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

In the last election, Prof Kindiki narrowly missed out on the running mate position to Mr Gachagua after Dr Ruto was left with a choice between the two.

Politicians involved in helping Dr Ruto choose the better of the two said almost the entire United Democratic Alliance party camp preferred Prof Kindiki but the Head of State chose Mr Gachagua, a move that almost split the camp at a critical time.

Prof Kindiki, however, agreed with the decision and participated in the elections as Dr Ruto's chief agent, later defending his boss's victory in the Supreme Court.

Prof Kindiki has on several occasions been rated the best performing CS in Ruto's cabinet by research firms, beating his colleagues by a wide margin.

While Prof Kindiki has shown no interest in replacing Mr Gachagua, Mr Nyoro has been touring the country preaching unity among different communities.

Mr Nyoro - a close ally of President William Ruto and a fast-rising political star within the Kenya Kwanza coalition - was the chief guest at the annual Education and Awards Day in Mwingi West, Kitui County on Monday.

The Mwingi event, where Mr Nyoro was hosted by two Wiper MPs - the area's Charles Nguna and Kitui Women's representative Dr Irene Kasalu at Kiomo Secondary School, was the fourth in a series of similar educational tours he has attended in recent weeks.

 MP Ndindi Nyoro and DP Gachagua

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro addresses wananchi at Mukurweini town in Nyeri County during Kenya Kwanza campaign rally that was led by Mr Rigathi Gachagua on June 7, 2022. The two are now in a supremacy battle over Mt Kenya leadership ahead of 2032 General Election. 

Photo credit: File

In the wake of a political row with DP Gachagua over control of the Mount Kenya region, Mr Nyoro said he was engaging leaders across the political divide to build a more cohesive and united Kenya.

"My role as the chair of the Budget Committee in the National Assembly demands a thorough understanding of the people's needs and I'll champion the economic inclusion of every corner of this country without any bias" said Mr Ndindi in Mwingi, a region that voted overwhelmingly for the Opposition Azimio coalition. 

Since launching the Masomo Bora programme in his constituency on January 11, the MP has travelled to Kiambaa Constituency in Kiambu County, where he was the chief guest at the Kiambaa Education Day at the invitation of the area MP, John Njuguna Wanjiku.

The week before, he hosted 13 MPs and their respective constituency delegations at a forum to share ideas on how best to manage the Community Development Fund (CDF).

He then travelled to North Horr Constituency in Marsabit County on January 13, where he presided over an education day at Chalbi High School, hosted by the area's MP, Wario Guyo Adhe.

Last week, Mr Nyoro was the chief guest at Olkalou Catholic Parish in Nyandarua County for a family day celebration hosted by Olkalou MP David Kiaraho.

All the tours, which the second-term MP has vowed to continue, are hosted by members of the Young Parliamentarians Association - a group of MPs who are Mr Nyoro's peers.

The tours are seen as an attempt to raise his political profile at the national level and build a wider network for future political ambitions.

On each tour, Mr Nyoro has handed out goodies to the locals, notably contributing to school fees for needy students and donating cash for school projects.

Mr Nguna, the Mwingi West MP, praised Mr Nyoro for rising above tribal and party lines to work with other elected leaders.

"We belong to different political parties but we're friends and as colleagues, we are faced with the same common social and economic problems facing our different regions, and therefore we close ranks easily for the sake of the country " he said.

Mr Nguna's remarks were echoed by Kitui Woman Representative Dr Irene Kasalu, who said all leaders have a duty to fight tribalism and reconcile the country.

Mr Nyoro brought several goodies, including Sh2.5 million for the construction of a science laboratory at Kiomo Secondary School - which he said was provided by President Ruto.

He also made a personal donation of Sh200,000 to renovate two classrooms at the same school and Sh100,000 to provide a special meal for students and teachers at local schools.

In a telling gesture of his growing influence within the Kenya Kwanza government, Mr Nyoro gave a firm commitment to revive the Kibwezi-Kitui road, one of several stalled projects in Kitui County.

"I want to assure the people of Kitui that in the next supplementary budget, we'll allocate enough funds to complete that road, and the contractor will be on site before the end of March" Mr Nyoro said amid cheers from the audience. 

The Kiharu lawmaker also commissioned a new school bus during the event.

Mr Nyoro's tours come in the wake of a spat with DP Gachagua after a group of 15 United Democratic Alliance (UDA) MPs from different parts of the country endorsed him as their preferred presidential candidate in 2032.

The leaders also backed Mr Nyoro as President Ruto's running mate in the 2027 polls.

Led by Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu and Gatanga MP Edward Muriu, these leaders claimed that President Ruto's re-election prospects could be challenged if he retains Mr Gachagua as his deputy.

Senator Nyutu emphasised the importance of Murang'a's recognition in national politics and backed Ndindi Nyoro as a better choice than Mr Gachagua.

The surprise move has angered allies of the DP in the Mount Kenya region who are eyeing his successor.

The DP camp believes there's more to Mr Nyoro's bold move to challenge him to a political duel.