5 little-known things about Rigathi Gachagua
On Sunday, May 15, 2022, Deputy President William Ruto named Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.
Gachagua 'floored' the likes of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who were also eying the same position.
In case Ruto wins the August polls, Gachagua will be the second Deputy President for Kenya under the 2010 Constitution.
Here are five little-known things about Gachagua;
- He served as President Uhuru Kenyatta's personal assistant
Gachagua served as the Personal Assistant for President Uhuru Kenyatta between 2001 and 2006 when the latter was the Minister for Local Governments.
Gachagua moved to be President Kenyatta's PA in 2001, leaving his job as a District Officer after the end of KANU's 40-year rule in the country.
Gachagua's move was seen as a career gamble, joining a man who had been in politics for less than five years, having won no political seat before.
2. He was a Moi-era District Officer
Gachagua has been a public servant for the better part of his life, having started as an assistant secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage in 1989, before being promoted to become a District Officer.
In the 1990s, he served as District Officer One in charge of Kakamega District before being moved to Ng’arua Division in Laikipia District in 1997.
3. He was a brother to late Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua
Apart from being a brother to the first governor of Nyeri Nderitu Gachagua, Rigathi served him as a personal assistant and was at one point accused of running the show in county affairs while the former was sick. He was accused of doing business with the county, amounting to a conflict of interest.
However, in a recent interview, he refuted the claims daring his accusers to "bring it on" if they had evidence.
“We never did any business with Nyeri county, we were never going to do it, and I want people to stop pursuing my brother when he is resting, let him rest in peace. Anyone who has evidence that we did business with the county, bring it on,” the first time MP said.
4. He is facing a Ksh12 billion money laundering case
The first-time legislator has been on the radar of investigative agencies over allegations that his web of companies received tenders worth Ksh12 billion between 2013 and 2017.
As of 2021, detectives were probing five counties, government parastatals, and his own National Government Constituency Development Fund, where he is suspected of fraudulently winning tenders using 22 companies.
On July 26, 2022, Gachagua was charged with six counts of corruption and released on a cash bail of ksh12 million or a bond of Ksh25 million.
In a subsequent post, the MP however alleged that his troubles were politically motivated, for supporting DP Ruto, who has fallen out with President Kenyatta.
"In the fullness of time, my innocence Will be pronounced. I am not cowed or intimidated. I remain principled and consistent. My support for William Ruto remains steadfast and unshaken. The Darkest hour is just before dawn," he wrote.
The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) informed the High Court the lawmaker received more than Ksh12.5 billion through three accounts in Rafiki Micro Finance Bank, in seven years, payments that have been labelled suspicious.
The agency told the court that it traced Ksh 7.3 billion withdrawals through bank statements in accounts that were left with a balance of Sh200 million.
But the agency says there are no bank statements to show how the balance of Sh 5.1 billion was withdrawn from the fixed deposit account in what it has termed “a complex scheme of money laundering”.
5. He studied political science
Gachagua went through Kabiruini Primary School for his primary education before proceeding to Kianyaga High School for his secondary school education.
Unknown to many, Gachagua studied Political Science at the Marine Corps University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Literature from the University of Nairobi.