Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addressing the Catholic faithful during church service and a fundraiser at Sacred Heart Endarasha Catholic Church in Kieni, Nyeri County on May 19, 2024. [DPCS, Standard]

The emerging rift between President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua fuelled by their allies has exposed Kenya's chameleonic political nature.

Most politicians who defended President Ruto while he was deputy president in former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration are the ones leading a not-so-secret crusade against Gachagua.

The leaders who have formed a political battalion to attack the DP, seeking his replacement as President Ruto’s running mate in 2027 as others push for Gachagua's resignation hit at Uhuru for what they termed undermining his deputy. They blamed Uhuru for transferring his deputy's roles to Cabinet Secretaries and some "other junior staff" in the Jubilee administration.

The politicians also accused Uhuru of isolating Ruto after the March 2018 handshake with Opposition chief Raila Odinga, claiming Ruto was left out in key government meetings. They vowed to defend him to teach Uhuru a lesson.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who today is being touted as Gachagua’s possible replacement in 2027, is touring church fundraisers carrying donations he claims emanate from the President and flanked by elected leaders.

Although he has not directly attacked Gachagua, the leaders accompanying him, claim 2027 will be ‘Muranga’s time' to produce a deputy president while others have cited generational change to present Nyoro as the best-suited leader to replace Gachagua.

MPs who support Nyoro believe 2027 will be Murang'a’s time since Kiambu and Nyeri that have produced a Prime Minister, presidents and now Gachagua as Deputy President.

In Uhuru’s administration, Nyoro earned popularity for standing with DP Ruto. He was among the loudest accusing Uhuru of overseeing the humiliation of his deputy.

On January 13, 2020, the Kiharu MP said; “Despite the humiliation, state harassment and isolation the Deputy President has faced, God willing he will make the best President Kenya has ever had”.

“Ruto will be the greatest President that God ever created. This country belongs to all of us, not just to a handful of billionaires. Deputy President William Ruto is the principal assistant to Uhuru Kenyatta. Long gone is the era of Presidents mistreating their VPs. Uhuru must respect Ruto, he should not be misled by some imbeciles and power brokers,” he said.

In January this year, Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu said it was time for Murang'a's recognition in national politics saying the President may be forgiven by the electorate if he chose Nyoro as his running mate as opposed to ‘Gachagua’s divisive agenda’.

“Mt Kenya can’t afford to be in the hands of a condescending leader who goes about disparaging leaders’ names to higher authorities," Nyutu claimed.

He even claimed the running mate position should be subject to a nomination process without the President appointing his favourite.

Gatanga MP Edward Muriu said; “Women of Murang’a also give birth to leaders, and Nyoro is qualified enough to deputise Ruto and become a leader."

Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru immediately after having her 'Damascus moment' shifting political camp from Uhuru to Ruto on March 29 2022, asked Uhuru to make peace with Ruto before he retires to defuse tension. 

She said the cold war between the two was bad for the country even as she accused Jubilee leaders of creating a wedge between the two leaders.  The same Waiguru has now changed tune and is accusing Gachagua of personalising the Deputy President’s office and making it look like a taboo for anyone to nurture ambitions.

“Let us recognise the right of all, especially our women and our youth to aspire to high office. Let us hold their hands in mentorship on political and socioeconomic leadership. Everyone has a right to dream and pursue their dreams like those in current leadership dreamt and their dreams actualised by the support of millions of youth and women...," she wrote on X.

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa who seems to be standing on the fence in the Mt Kenya supremacy battle, was a staunch supporter of Ruto in the former administration and on August 30, 2021, faulted a section of Jubilee members for targeting members allied to Ruto.

“The President and his Deputy told us we could create a national party, and we believed that. Now they are saying we should kick out some people from the party so that people resort to tribal parties. I want to assure all Kenyans that we can create a new Kenya under DP Ruto’s Presidency,” the Kikuyu MP said then.

While this has been happening, leaders from Rift Valley joined their Mt Kenya colleagues to defend Ruto with Roads Cabinet Secretary then Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen saying then “UhuRuto are conjoined twins currently facing the challenge of managing a captured opposition with us the members of Jubilee having a divergent opinion about it. There are no corners and no shortcuts. Anyone unhappy with Ruto being the Deputy President can as well quickly resign from the Jubilee government. Period.”

However, the leaders have remained silent as the divisions in Mt Kenya unfold and the President himself is yet to pronounce himself over the wrangles.