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Shunned in Kenya Kwanza, Gachagua now courts Uhuru Kenyatta

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Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Photo credit: Pool

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has once more reached out to retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in his efforts to unite the Mt Kenya region and consolidate his support base amid sustained criticism from a section of local leaders.

Mr Gachagua, who made stopovers in Kagio and Kianyaga in Kirinyaga County to address residents on his way to and from the burial of career educationist Julius Kano Ndumbi pleaded with Mr Kenyatta to join him in efforts to unite the vote-rich region.

“As the senior-most leader in this region, my work is to unite all leaders, including those who supported Azimio,” the DP said, alluding to opposition outfit Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, of which Mr Kenyatta is chairman of the council.

“We should put politics aside, forgive one another and unite. Even our son Uhuru Kenyatta is welcome,” Mr Gachagua said in Kianyaga.

Speaking in his native Kikuyu, Mr Gachagua said the electioneering period was over and called on leaders to quit endless politicking.

Remain relevant

“Our unity will be our strength ... [Mt Kenya] should not be taken for granted in the country’s political dispensation,” he said.

Political analyst Nyaga Kindiki said that, to remain relevant in politics, the DP has been left with no choice but to look for Mr Kenyatta after facing isolation in the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

“He, however, might not succeed as the Kenya Kwanza train has already left the station and could proceed without him in 2027,” the Moi University lecturer said.

“The DP shot himself in the foot by being arrogant and likening the government to a shareholding company. He also sought to dictate to the President on where and how to meet with opposition leader Raila Odinga by insisting that he must be part of such negotiations. Even the President might not be comfortable with him,” the International Education and Policy professor said.

And with President Ruto vouching for Mr Odinga to be African Union Commission chairman, Gachagua has to turn to Mr Kenyatta, who was hailed as the undisputed leader of the Agikuyu at a meeting convened by a section of Mt Kenya leaders and dubbed ‘Limuru Three Conference’.

Enjoys huge influence

Prof Nyaga said Mr Kenyatta still enjoys huge influence in Mt Kenya region. On Wednesday, Mr Gachagua struck a conciliatory tone, welcoming Mt Kenya leaders who are in the Opposition to work with him for the sake of the unity of the region.

The DP has been making attempts to meet and reconcile with the retired President, stating that he had no problem with Mr Kenyatta as they were long-time friends before political differences arising from the 2022 elections soured their relationship.

Mr Gachagua pleaded with Mt Kenya residents to remain united for political and economic prosperity of the region. Political office, the Deputy President said, waxing philosophical, come and go but the country will remain, as he urged elected leaders to work for their constituents and leave a good legacy.

Mr Gachagua vowed to continue pushing for the unity of the region and warned residents to be wary of a few leaders whom he claimed were out to divide them.

The second in command further castigated leaders who have embarked on early campaigns for the 2027 General Election, accusing them of disrespecting Kenyans who voted for them.

“I made a decision, as the senior-most elected leader in Mt Kenya region, to unite everyone irrespective of political affiliation. I am happy that the ordinary people at the grassroots are united. Only a few leader are trying to divide the region, but they will not succeed,” he said.

Leaders accompanying the Deputy President commend his decision to work with and embrace all leaders irrespective of their political affiliations.

“We urge the DP to remain focused and not to be distracted by political noise-makers; they do not want him to perform his duties. The DP has already succeeded in reforming key agriculture sub-sectors, eradicating illicit brews and drug abuse and helping President Ruto in running the national government,” said Maragua MP Mary Wamaua.

“As Mt Kenya leaders, we are behind the Deputy President and President Ruto. We would like to request the DP to not to pay his detractors any attention,” Mr Gitari said. Jubilee politician Muriithi wa Kang’ara commended the Deputy President for standing firm and working with all leaders including those allied to the Opposition.

“The Deputy President is a hero and leader of the Mt Kenya community. We urge him to continue uniting the region and working with all leaders. As an elder, I will join him in that endeavour,” said Mr Kang’ara.

Mr Gachagua has been facing a revolt instigated by a section of Mt Kenya leaders allied to Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who is being fronted as the best choice for Dr Ruto as a running mate in the 2027 presidential race.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is also among senior leaders in the Mt Kenya region who are said to be angling to take over from Mr Kenyatta as the new political supremo following the former President’s retirement.

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, on May 20, Ms Waiguru said public officers such as those holding the position of Deputy President should not personalise their offices.

In an indirect attack on Mr Gachagua and his allies, Ms Waiguru said it was wrong to make it appear taboo for anyone else to aspire to be the Deputy President.

“While we respect the office of the Deputy President, and indeed any other office of leadership, a progressive democracy does not allow us as occupiers of public leadership offices to personalise them to an extent where it becomes taboo for anyone else to nurture and express ambition to occupy them. We hold these offices in trust, not as owners,”Ms Waiguru said.

The second-term governor, who analysts say might be eyeing the DP position in 2027, said every Kenyan, including women and youths, has a right to pursue their dream of holding any office in the country.

Her sentiments come a day after Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga warned politicians against any plans to undermine the DP. Speaking in Nyeri last Sunday, Mr Kahiga hinted at a fallout between President Ruto and Mr Gachagua.

He said the people of Mt Kenya region will not allow Mr Gachagua to be mistreated, as was done to Dr Ruto when he was Mr Kenyatta’s deputy.