He was a first-term MP for Mathira Constituency and after his selection as Dr Ruto’s running mate on May 15, 2022, many painted him as “illiterate” until he attended the deputy presidential debate and outwitted his rivals.
He has oftentimes acknowledged that prior to the debate, “certain quarters viewed me as primitive and unlearned”.
Their subsequent election changed his status. He was among key allies of Dr Ruto charged in court. Other than increased influence, fame and political following, his election also came with a rapid change of fortunes, including victories in courts.
The latest sign of his changing fortunes and luck is the case where the Asset Recovery Agency has disowned evidence by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), which was used to nail the DP and his Sh200 million, which was forfeited to the state seven months ago. Now, ARA says the money was a legitimately acquired income, and not proceeds of crime as had been presented in court, which led to the ruling.
On the political front, Mr Gachagua has since garnered support of at least 85 members of Parliament from his Mt Kenya region backyard.
As a pointer that he was little known before his election as Deputy President, Mr Gachagua was Google’s most searched-about personality in Kenya in 2022, according to Google Trends Report.
Most Kenyans and internet users sought to find more about him, their interest on the search engine hitting an all-time high during the electioneering period, especially between August 14 and 20.
When he tours the Central region, the DP has on multiple occasions acknowledged that were it not for the support by voters in the region, he would be fighting court cases planted on him by the Jubilee administration.
He reminds them of the honour they brought to themselves “for keeping the promise made in 2013 of electing Dr Ruto to the presidency”.
“From my heart, I am grateful for electing Dr Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. The previous regime had given me troubles. They used to arrest me on Fridays and I got detained the entire weekend. I will neither forget nor forsake you,” Mr Gachagua has repeatedly told members of his Kikuyu community.
He emotionally keeps thanking the voters when narrating his run-ins with the former administration.
Various religious, business, and political leaders in the region have since pledged their support for Mr Gachagua and declared him as their kingpin.
The Political Science and Literature graduate also acknowledges that were it not for the change of government, he would still be in court fighting the false accusations of corruption. He would also be in court struggling to defend his ownership of a Sh1.5 billion land situated near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), to which a retired civil servant had laid claim.
His election and that of Dr Ruto saw him witness rapid change of fortunes, as police investigators came out confessing how he was falsely incriminated by the DCI.
Relating to the land case, officials at the Ministry of Lands have since told court that Mr Gachagua is the legitimate owner. After the Supreme Court upheld the election of Dr Ruto and Mr Gachagua and dismissed a petition filed by former President Kenyatta’s preferred successor Raila Odinga, the DP started winning court cases that were believed to be damning.
During the election campaigns, Azimio politicians and persons opposed to Mr Gachagua’s candidature were using the court cases to dissuade his supporters although he had all through maintained that the cases were politically motivated.
He had also insisted that the cases were part of a scheme by the previous administration to arm-twist him into withdrawing his support for Dr Ruto’s presidential bid.
So dirty were the campaigns that on July 30, 2022, a giant billboard bearing Mr Gachagua’s caricature was erected on Thika Road near Safari Park Hotel, highlighting one of the court cases lodged against him. It was nine days to the polls and the political scene was heating up.