Ruto allies accuse Gachagua of sabotaging the government

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses residents in Karatina Town on his way to Nyeri on June 15, 2024. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

The rift in the ruling United Democratic Alliance has deepened over the weekend after key allies of President William Ruto’s branded Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, an enemy of the people and accused him of sabotaging the government.

The anti-Gachagua campaign led by the National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa took an interesting twist when a group of MPs on one hand and Interior Cabinet Secretaries Kithure Kindiki and his Defense counterpart Aden Duale intensified attacks. These attacks crystalised into allegations that the second in command was out to destabilize the government to make Ruto a one-term president.

Yesterday, Gachagua attempted to explain some of the causes of the animosity he was facing saying that people who hang around the President because they are his friends were creating a wedge between him and his boss.

 Said Gachagua, “Some of the President’s friends want to be my bosses. Because someone is the President’s Personal Assistant and blogger, they also want me to take directives from them.”

Gachagua vowed never to succumb to such pressure declaring " I only have two bosses, the people of Kenya and the President and I have done what the President has directed me to do. If you are President’s friend, you can keep your friendship but you will not order me around,” he said in his political tour in Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties.

On Friday, Ichungwa, who was accompanied by senior government and party officials at Gichuru Memorial High School in his Kikuyu Constituency for a fundraiser, accused Gachagua of holding late-night meetings where he had allegedly been telling his supporters that Ruto was a one-term President.

 “Stop telling people at night that William Ruto is a one-term president and you will marshal your community to undermine and sabotage the government of President William Ruto so that he fails and you become president,” Ichungwa charged

The MP warned Gachagua against self-serving sabotage, challenging him to focus on delivering for Kenyans claiming he was sabotaging the government for his selfish ends.

“Work in the position you have been given today to deliver to the people of Kenya and when your time comes, they will see leadership in you. But if you seek to sabotage the government of Kenya for your own selfish ends, my brother, you will go nowhere,” he cautioned.

 Duale said while they were not against Gachagua, they were against ethnic mobilization and ethnic politics.

“We are not against anybody, but we are against ethnic politics and ethnic mobilization and dividing our people.  If you visit our homes, you will find that we have employed people from different ethnic communities and I can speak as security Minister we have a lot of challenges."

He added, " We are fighting Al-Shabaab, drug dealers, and you have seen that in our neighboring countries, they have issues because of ethnicity. While Somalia is one community, clannism is one of their worst matters. The war-torn South Sudan, the ethnic war in Ethiopia, our neighbors are burning because of ethnicity,” Duale said.

National Assembly Chief Whip Sylvanus Osoro said that the mountain region occupies 50% of the government and had Ichungwa as the majority leader and hence the region needed to stop tribal-based politics

 “You people from the mountain region occupy 50% of the government in which you have Kimani Ichungwa as the majority leader. Please stop tribal politics. These tensions you are seeing are only meant to make you confused.” Osoro said.

Kindiki too has been active on social media warning on his X handle: "The mobilisation and incitement of ethnic communities against each other is a barbaric, cruel and dangerous political misadventure that poses grave danger to our Country's future.

 He added, " Kenya's ugly past experience with ethnically brewed violence should jolt all of us, whatever tongue we speak and whichever part of the Country we come from, to resist and to name and shame the propagators of ethnic hate and the "us" versus "them" narrative that nearly destroyed Kenya in December and January of 2007-2008." 

 Gachagua’s allies have not taken the criticism lying down and now want Ichungwa dethroned from the position he occupies as majority leader, claiming that he does not hold the loci stadi to hold the position as ‘he was a divisive figure’

Speaking during the commissioning of new classrooms funded by NG-CDF at Highway-Manyatta Primary School in Ruai, Kasarani Constituency, in an event attended by Gachagua on Friday, lashed out at junior leaders for disrespecting and undermining Gachagua.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei called for Ichungwa’s ouster motion in Parliament even as he criticized the National Assembly Speaker for allowing MPs to discuss the person of the Deputy President.

“Ichung’wa no longer has the locus standi to be the majority leader. He has become a divisive figure in the National Assembly, in Parliament, and Kenya. I urge members of the National Assembly to take the necessary steps to relieve him of his seat,” the Senator said.

 Embakasi North MP James Gakuya, a strong ally of Gachagua, also warned Ichungwa and other anti-Gachagua crusaders in the government against using their positions to undermine the Deputy President.

 "They come to Parliament to abuse the deputy president in the name of positions which I saw him give them, and I want to tell them in broad daylight that in 2027 we will send them home,” Gakuya cautioned.

He also urged the President to tame his allies saying ‘We feel pain when the MPs who you have given the positions of the Majority Leader, Finance and budget committees who after satisfying their bellies have resorted to undermining Gachagua."

"I ask the President to whip the youthful MPs to stop the contempt against Gachagua.  He should not continue with his silence as his house rages in fire. That will attract shame. Don’t allow the leaders to soil your deputy and if there is no respect we shall come up with a counter strategy but we want to remain in the fold otherwise we shall have a secret weapon,” Gakuya said.

Gachagua lashed out at his critics, asserting that he is merely voicing the concerns of ordinary Kenyans while maintaining that his recent political positions are driven by public concerns rather than personal ambition.

“I have no voice in this Kenya. I only listen to the people. If you hear me say something, know that is what the people want. I speak on behalf of the people,” Gachagua stressed.