Ignore Sakaja and stay put, DP Gachagua tells matatu, club owners

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses traders moments after the launching of a public hotspot in Nyeri town on December 19, 2022. He asked Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja to stop 'persecuting' Mt Kenya businessmen.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has asked matatu operators and other businesspeople to remain put and continue with their businesses assuring them of government protection.

This comes after a war of words raged on between leaders after the DP cautioned Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja against removing public service vehicles from the CBD in a move to decongest the city.

DP Gachagua was speaking in Nyeri when he advised the governor not to rush in making decisions that will hurt people from the Mt Kenya region insisting that helped in making him county boss.

Speaking during an interview with Inooro Television on Sunday, the DP said removing Matatus from the CBD is locking out a lot of people and businesses noting that people making noise on the congestion of Nairobi do not set foot in town but rather live in the outskirts of the city in Runda and Karen.

“Those who come to town are not complaining of congestion because that is where they source their daily bread... furthermore, when those planning to evict Matatus from the CBD will bring trains. We shall accept that they remove Matatus but for now there are no trains or buses,” he added.

The DP noted that the Matatu industry supported hundreds of other small and medium enterprises that it will be difficult for those people to cover long distances with their luggage.

“I do not have any problems with anyone… but anyone who feels that there should be a change or shift in status quo, they should first consider how it shall change the lives of Kenyans and have a dialogue about it before making any decisions,” he said.

In addition, on closure of clubs within residential areas in Nairobi, the DP noted that it would be inconsiderate to allow noise pollution, however, owners of such premises should be allowed time to fit their business with soundproof walls to minimize noise and allow co-existence.

“You are the same people who have issued these businessmen and women with licenses to operate clubs within the residential areas. You cannot wake up one day and decide to close their business, yet they have invested their money there, rather invite them for a dialogue with an ultimatum,” he said.

He further noted that businesspeople need to be treated with decorum and with the dignity that they deserve.

“I want to tell people this, keep on with your business. The government under the stewardship of President Willim Ruto has you covered and protected. Our government will not allow you to be anyone, regardless of who they call themselves to ruin your businesses,” he said.

DP Gachagua also told off critics who accused him of being a tribal leader whose only focus is presenting the interests of the Kikuyu community, noting that those calling him tribal are “disrespectful.”

“We are not tribal, and I am definitely not tribal… When Governor Johnson Sakaja was being elected, there was Margaret Wanjiru whom I asked to shelf her ambitions for the young man. Was that tribal? There was Igathe whom I rally people against, was I tribal?” he asked, adding that there was a group of people who had mooted to discredit him on tribal lines.

“Whenever anyone from the Kikuyu community speaks or they gather somewhere, they are accused of tribalism, but they turn the other way when members from another community do the same,” he said.

He vowed to speak on behalf of the Kikuyu community whenever need arises, noting that he will not be cowed to silence.

“I have spoken and as a leader I do not have to repeat myself, people should carry on with their business in every part of the country and this is not just for the Kikuyu community. Our government is pro-business people- to protect and grow these businesses,” he added.

He encouraged elected leaders to tread carefully and not upset the same people who put them in positions of power.

“We will not engage in double speak that on one hand we are promising Kenyans we are in support of their hustle and on the other hand we introduce barriers to their business. I want to urge all business people to carry on with their businesses assured of government’s protection,” he said.

DP Gachagua also noted that there was no supremacy battle between him and the Prime cabinet secretary Musalia Mudavadi.

“This is plainly about Matatus. Musalia is my friend. He is a good man. Let us not involve communities in this. It is all about Matatus and there is no politics here. It is all about business,” he noted.