Gachagua not going anywhere, get used to him

Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 08:00 | By
Rigathi Gachagua in Church in Kieni. PHOTO/Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO/@rigathi/X
Rigathi Gachagua in Church in Kieni. PHOTO/Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. PHOTO/@rigathi/X

On more than one occasion since assuming power, President William Ruto has stated that at no time would he allow his deputy to be subjected to ridicule, mockery, isolation and all manner of indignities and frustrations as he himself was in the second term under President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Well, that was then. More said than done. Only 18 months into office, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is wailing loudly. A pricked Gachagua told the world last Sunday that “a few individuals from this (Rift Valley) region with proximity to the President” have politically gone off the track and are now engaged in a mission to rearrange the politics of his Mt Kenya backyard.

Gachagua’s alarm bells came ringing after his usual but deafeningly noticeable absence from the political scene. He had gone missing from public view for one week, causing national concern and seamy speculation. His uncharacteristic silence became the subject of banner headlines for a whole week, during which his boss was visiting the United States.

The DP resurfaced two Sundays ago at a church service in Endarasha, Nyeri county, where he could only afford to say that he is “a man of few words.” The following day, he was in Gichugu constituency in Kirinyaga county to attend the funeral of his former headmaster at Kianyaga Boys High School. There, he disclosed that he had taken a one week off to rest in Mt Kenya forest and reflect on the status of the Kenyan nation. 

Notably, on both days, he did not allude to the existence of friction between him and Ruto. However, his surrogates at both events were loud enough to send the message that their own son and leader was going through some kind of trials and tribulations.

Indeed, in Gichugu, Gachagua stated - though without elaborating - that the Mt Kenya region has a history of having “traitors and betrayers” right from the days of Mau Mau in the colonial era. 

I doubt, as has been widely speculated in media circles, that there is a rift between Ruto and his deputy. I find that a bit far-fetched. Because the chemistry between the two leaders - right from their body language to verbal communication - is too magnetic to be questioned. 

What is more, Gachagua is too loyal to Ruto to a fault. He vigorously defends his boss without blinking and sings his praises even where not necessary. He has sufficient experience to execute that responsibility. Having been a provincial administrator and a personal assistant to several prominent people, including presidents Daniel Moi and Uhuru Kenyatta, the former Mathira MP is streetwise enough to fully understand the levers and workings of power, raw and donated.

In fact, it was Gachagua’s closeness to Moi that would later deny him promotion in the provincial administration from District Officer when former Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruiyot was promoted Permanent Secretary for Internal Security. Gachagua’s fate in the civil service was sealed. He had to quit. 

It goes without saying that Gachagua would, therefore, be the last person to undermine Ruto.  

Gachagua has, in the ebb and tide of time, rubbed many people the wrong way and endeared himself to many others, especially in his Mt Kenya backyard, where he has demonstrated that he is an unapologetic and brazen Kikuyu nationalist. He has proved that he can disturb the comfort of many people. Which could be one of the reasons he is not popular among some of his Mt Kenya kindred.

Gachagua is a rabid mobliser and grassroots fighter. We have to get used to him and his way of doing things. Itabidi tumzoee.

 —  The writer is the Revise Editor, People Daily ; [email protected]

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