Rigathi Gachagua downplays Ruto succession talk

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua during an interdenominational service at Iten Stadium in Elgeyo Marakwet County on January 14, 2024.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Monday dismissed as premature succession politics in Kenya Kwanza Alliance that has led to some politicians from his Central Kenya backyard demanding that he be dropped in the 2027 poll.

Mr Gachagua reiterated his commitment to serve as the principal assistant to President William Ruto, emphasising that he will not engage in unnecessary succession politics.

Last week, some Kenya Kwanza MPs proposed Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro as the possible replacement of Mr Gachagua in the 2027 General Election, sparking conflict within the ruling UDA party.

But Mr Gachagua on Monday told his critics that he is focused on delivering on his mandate as the Deputy President and does not mix issues.

The DP said that the people engaging in the succession debate were being disrespectful to both the President and himself because they are fully aware of their responsibilities and goals.

He also dismissed calls to convene a meeting with MPs opposing his leadership.

DP Rigathi Gachagua

DP Rigathi Gachagua (second right) condoles with Bomet Senator Hillary Sigei and his family during the burial of the senator’s father, Philip Tunoi, in Kapsio, Chepalungu Constituency, Bomet County on Monday, January 15.

Photo credit: Courtesy | DPCS

“I was sworn in as the principal assistant to the President, and I will do just that. I will not be dissuaded into engaging in unnecessary and uncalled for succession politics. What they (politicians) do not seem to understand is that I do not mix issues and I always remain focused on one item and ensure I deliver on it. For now, it is delivering as the Deputy President. Nothing else,” Mr Gachagua said.

He spoke in Kapsio village in Bomet County during the burial of Philip Tonui, father of Bomet Senator Hillary Sigei. Mzee Tonui died of cancer at Tenwek Hospital a week ago.

The DP criticised the politicians engaged in succession debates yet the President has only been in office for a short period.

Mr Gachagua said leaders need to focus on service delivery and the economic challenges that Kenyans are facing.

“The President (Dr Ruto) and I are not fools. We know where we came from, where we are going, what is happening and what we are doing,” Mr Gachagua said.

“I will focus on assisting the President to succeed in his agenda for Kenyans.”

At the same time, the DP defended Cabinet Secretaries against attacks by Members of Parliament. He said that by doing so, they were ultimately questioning the President as the appointing authority.

Cabinet Secretaries Kipchumba Murkomen (Roads and Public Works), Florence Bore (Labour and Social Protection), and Davis Chirchir (Energy), who were present at the function, backed Mr Gachagua.

“In Rift Valley, we know you as a dependable pillar of President Ruto. Your good work will be rewarded,” Mr Murkomen said.

Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherarkey said: “We do not take it for granted that you stood with Dr Ruto.y. We will stand with you to the end.”

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot and a host of other leaders were present.