Raila and Gachagua meet face-to-face in Ramaphosa event

Azimio leader Raila Odinga is welcomed by DP Rigathi Gachagua as he arrives for the Africa Climate Summit held at the KICC, Nairobi, in September 2023. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

After sparring for months trading politically loaded jabs, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Opposition leader Raila Odinga had to share a platform during yesterday’s inauguration of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria.

Gachagua was to deliver the congratulatory message following Ramaphosa’s re-election victory for the second term on behalf of President William Ruto.

“We continue cultivating, nurturing and growing bilateral and diplomatic relations with the Republic of South Africa from strength to strength for socio-economic gain of the people of our two nations,” Gachagua said.

Raila was also present in the event held at Union Buildings, and independently congratulated the South African president over his re-election, just days after representing President Ruto in Malawi during the funeral service of Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilim.

“Congratulations, President Cyril Ramaphosa, on your re-election! Your commitment to promoting positive change and unity in South Africa and across the continent is admirable. I wish you great success in the coming term. Well done,” Raila said.

Gachagua has made a career out of disparaging Raila dating back to Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency. He has been accusing Raila of wrecking successive administrations by accessing power through the back door.

The strange bedfellows, who are bitter foes, rarely find themselves on the same official platform and despite differing on a wide range of issues, they now seem to have a common ground as far as sharing of national resources is concerned.

They are now both proponents of the one-man, one-vote one-shilling model, with Raila saying that the issue has been misconstrued to mean that it will disadvantage some parts of the country.

Saying he is aware that the model is not popular in some quarters, Raila said that this should be considered as a basis for dialogue among Kenyans.

“It is not a question of discrimination. We want to ensure each and every Kenyan gets a fair share of our resources. It cannot be right that some children get more money as bursaries than other children in some parts of the country. This is a conversation that, if we have it openly we will be able to convince a majority of our people the right way to go… and that is why we are saying we talk to agree on the phrase ‘one man, one vote one shilling, I agree totally with this,” Raila recently said.

He said that he is working with everybody including Gachagua, who is a member of the government.

“As you know, the government pledged that it will support my bid for the African Union Commission and I thank them. He has seen the light, he is a Saul who has now become Paul,” Raila added.

Gachagua, on the other hand, has lately been a strong supporter of the formula, ignoring his detractors.  

The DP has maintained a hard-line stance saying he should not be branded a tribalist for supporting the call for the one-man-one-vote one-shilling formula in sharing resources

“There is nothing wrong when I say resources should be shared based on population, the most populated areas should get the biggest cake. When I say that resources should be distributed according to population. Some people attack me. I will not be silenced, I will continue to speak the truth whether my critics like it or not,” Gachagua has constantly affirmed

Gachagua has been accused of not welcoming Raila’s African Union Commission (AUC) bid.

This comes in the backdrop of the heightened campaign by the government, including Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi, who has been urging countries to support Kenya on this course.

Earlier this month, Mudavadi and Raila jointly unveiled the roadmap for AUC Chairman bid and highlighted Kenya’s strategic approach and strong commitment to advancing African unity and progress on the continental stage.

“Raila is a staunch pan-Africanist who inherently upholds the ‘Think Africa above all’ principle, central to the AU Commission’s mandate. His extensive experience and leadership ethos are in perfect alignment with the AU Commission’s values of efficiency, professionalism, and respect for diversity,” said Mudavadi.

Last weekend, Gachagua added that since his boss, President Ruto had embraced Raila to a point of campaigning for candidature at the AU, then he saw no reason why he(Gachagua) should not reach out to former President Uhuru Kenyatta.