Rigathi Gachagua: My pick as running mate has divided Mt Kenya

Rigathi Gachagua

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua during interview at his home in Nairobi on March 9, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua on Tuesday conceded that his selection by the coalition’s presidential aspirant William Ruto has divided Mt Kenya leaders.

"I had led these people for four years and we were okay then ... we differed when this seat came up for grabs," he said.

Speaking on Inooro FM, Mr Gachagua said they related like brothers and sisters "until, as is normal in families when there is a favour up for grabs, the time to pick a running mate presented itself".

He said picking a running mate is like deciding who to marry.

"It is a personal decision by the presidential aspirant ... sought is someone well known, compatible, who shares the same ideals, with proven value for friendship ... that is how I defeated them," he said.

Mr Gachagua admitted that the process drove a wedge between his side and Mt Kenya leaders who appeared to favour Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, who garnered 24 votes from the 30 leaders present.

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua acknowledge greetings from wananchi at Karatina town during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally on May 21, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Prof Kindiki has confirmed that he was the hot favourite to win the slot through popular endorsement by Mt Kenya leaders.

"But I want it to be very clear that I am [content] with the outcome ... since when other considerations ideal for a running mate were tabled and articulated by our presidential aspirant, I saw the sense of Mr Gachagua being picked," he told Citizen TV on May 18.

Mr Gachagua said he is now busy uniting the leaders "and they have accepted me as their deputy team leader and the ultimate Mt Kenya team captain".

Mr Gachagua dismissed the perception that he is abrasive, crude and dictatorial, saying "what I know I have in abundance is a stand".

He said people need not be afraid that if Dr Ruto wins the presidency he will unleash his traits to limit who gets closer to the President's ear.

"Ours will be an open-door-policy presidency where all will access the President. We have no intention to limit access to the seat of power," he said.

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua acknowledge greetings from wananchi at Karatina town during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally on May 21, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

But Mr Gachagua warned that "our government will not be idle to give room to casual visits to State House”.

"We cannot be in the rush to remove 14 million Kenyans from Credit Reference Bureaus (CRB) as well as generating taxes to pay the reckless national debts that we are in now...and still find time to be seeking pastime engagements," he said.

He said leaders would be busy in the field implementing the development charters that Dr Ruto is signing with all counties.

"After every six months, we will be reviewing whether we have achieved the term targets. We have a binding contract with the counties and that will be the core business of the Kenya Kwanza government," he said.

Mr Gachagua said there would be ample time to interact and chat with Dr Ruto on the field where the theatre of work will be.

He trashed the notion that Kenya Kwanza is composed of integrity-deficient actors.

"Don't fall for the politically instigated propaganda and misuse of security institutions to paint government dissenters as corrupt. Confront us with judicial convictions to legally brand us as criminals," he said.

Mr Gachagua warned security bosses about being "used to deflate Kenya Kwanza supporters by arresting them and charging them with crimes not supported by compiled evidence".

He said the cases would collapse and "we will institute criminal charges against the security officers who were manipulated to play politics with their offices, starting with Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) director George Kinoti".

He accused Mr Kinoti "of surrendering his professional soul to political hooliganism where he has single-handedly collapsed businesses, made thousands lose jobs in the companies that he closed in the name of cracking down on corruption and made the national economy lose taxes in the business and job closures".

He said politically instigated closures of companies and poor policies impoverished Kenyans more than claimed corruption.

Mr Kinoti told Nation.Africa last month that politics would not prevent him from doing his job.

He was speaking at a memorial service for his parents-in-law in Kiamwingo village, Meru County.

Mr Gachagua reiterated that State lodges will be opened to Kenyans.

"People must interact with their President and their government. When you visit your friends, you are treated to some food and drinks ... when we visit our President and government, we will be treated to the same feasting," he said.

Regarding fringe parties’ claim that he is trashing and campaigning against them, Mr Gachagua accused them of joyriding.

"You do not expect to come to a political rally organised by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), where our aspirants have spent money to mobilise attendance, and expect to be well embraced," he said.

He told aspirants that "politics is not a church or a wedding where all are given free entry".

He said he gauges the mood of a rally before endorsing aspirants.

"If these people in fringe parties want to be taken seriously, let them actively participate in mobilising attendance in rallies. Let them be seen spending money to grace our rallies. Let their followers ululate for them prominently in a manner that will force us to take them seriously," he said.

He said the Kenya Kwanza team will be in Kirinyaga County on Sunday "and they should take this five-day advance announcement to organise themselves and actively participate in planning so that we can accommodate them".


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