Azimio vows to block any attempts to impeach Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua with Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka during the Consecration of Bishop-Elect Benson Gathugu Kamau at Jesus Compassion Ministry Church in Ruiru Constituency, Kiambu County on June 21, 2024. [DPCS]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Azimio co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday triggered a fresh unity debate after they met during a church service and spoke of defending each other and a shared political destiny. 

When the two leaders met on Friday at the consecration of comedian-cum-cleric Benson Gathungu in Ruiru, Kiambu County, their supporters set the pace leading to a declaration by the Azimio leader that he would mobilise opposition MPs to defend Gachagua in the event of an impeachment motion is tabled against him.

And in reciprocation, Gachagua said he had consulted some elders who had counseled him to look for friends and Kalonzo fitted this category.

Earlier, Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) leader Eugene Wamalwa told Gachagua and the Mt Kenya region not to be intimidated as they could enter into an alliance with Western Kenya region as it happened between Mwai Kbaki and Wamalwa Kijana ahead of the 2002 election.

The former Cabinet Secretary in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government supported Gachagua’s one man, one vote, one-shilling campaign, as well as his call for unity of the Mt Kenya region.

“If they try to impeach Gachagua, we shall reject and say no. We can only impeach both Gachagua and Ruto. Gachagua should not worry. He should leave the work for us so that we tell them that there is a nation to look after,” said Kalonzo who is the Wiper Party leader.

New approach

The former vice-president also praised Gachagua for his defence of Mt Kenya region people saying “I really don’t know much about you. I admire your spirit and ability to fight. You are welcome in the club of courageous people. Be brave because of Kenya and the Mt Kenya region.”

In response, Gachagua said he will look for Kalonzo in the near future, saying he had changed his political approach from abrasiveness to reconciliation.

“I have sat down with elders and, as you have seen, my way of politics has changed. I have been advised to look for friends in the whole country. The Kamba and our people are the same people; they are our cousins. We will look for each other in the near future,” Gachagua said.

The Deputy President, who has been a harsh critic of Opposition leader Raila Odinga, disclosed that he met him while in South Africa during the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa and that he campaigned for his (Raila’s) African Union Commission chairmanship bid.

“In this region we are used to going into elections to fight an enemy. We have decided that we have no enemy in Mt. Kenya. We will look for friends and that is going to be our philosophy, taking into consideration that our people are everywhere in the country,” he said.

The rare agreement between Azimio leaders and the DP came even as the latter’s allies called for Gachagua-Kalonzo alliance, saying President William Ruto’s administration had fallen short of its promises.

“Our people supported the Finance Bill 2023 on the promise of affordable houses but I have not seen them in Juja. That is why I rejected this year’s bill. We want you (Gachagua) to join Kalonzo so that we can put our votes in one basket,” Juja MP George Koimburi said.

Githunguri MP Gathoni Wa Muchomba expressed her support for Gachagua saying he was not appointed Deputy President because of his ‘handsomeness’ but because he represented the people of Mt Kenya region.

Former Laikipia East MP Cate Waruguru said: “We encourage you to look for friends outside Mt. Kenya after uniting our region.”

National Democratic Party leader Thuo Mathenge told the region to speak in one voice and craft an alliance with Kalonzo and Wamalwa.

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinard Waititu accused Ruto of betraying Mt Kenya, saying the region will not support his re-election in 2027. He also vowed to protect Gachagua from “mistreatment and disrespect”.

“You are our leader and we don’t want you being mistreated and being disrespected because your respect represents Mt Kenya. We want to unite and have one presidential candidate before we can seek negotiation with other leaders such as Kalonzo,” said Waititu.

Gachagua dismissed claims that he was out to unite the people of Mt Kenya with the intention of driving them out of government.

“Those who claim that my call for unity is leading this region out of government should know that this is our government. We put our 47 per cent in this government,” he said.

He added: “If there is anybody who wants to leave he can leave. We want to make sure that we are respected in this government.”

“We are uniting so that we can organise ourselves. It is incumbent on Kalonzo to unite his people, Raila and President Ruto should organise their people so that we can later unite the country,” said the DP.

Wamalwa defended Gachagua’s revenue-sharing proposal based on population, saying it was not a Mt Kenya region affair.

“Raila, Kalonzo and I have been advocating for the one man, one vote, one-shilling formula. Why is it that when Gachagua calls for it, he is labeled a tribalist? They should not trivialise the issue and seek to isolate an individual,” said the former Defence Cabinet Secretary.