Business as usual for DP Rigathi Gachagua hours after goons looted and burned

DP Rigathi Gachagua arrives in office on March 27, 2023. [Twitter]

For the last two days that Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has woken up as the highest authority in the country, he has made a spectacle of his arrival in office.

In what was arguably a statement of who was calling the shots while his boss President William Ruto was away, Mr Gachagua posted on his social media pages his dawn arrival at the Office of the President on Monday morning.

Monday morning was no ordinary day with Azimio leaders having planned countrywide demos to protest the high cost of living, among other grievances. The previous day, Gachagua's Kenya Kwanza leadership drawn from his Central backyard had assembled in Thika to affirm their vow to defend their businesses from Azimio aggression.

"Time Check earlier today, 5.15am, Harambee House Annex, Nairobi. Do the much you can every single day to make Kenya better. The hard work and resilience of the Kenyan people to make this nation great again is indefatigable," he posted on his pages.

The post had photos and videos that showed Gachagua walking into his office with aides in tow as photographers rushed ahead for better shots.

And as police battled Azimio supporters with teargas, water and occasionally live bullets, Gachagua continued with State business. This included meeting with new Chief Administrative Secretaries posted to his office, in defiance of a court order that stopped them from taking up their posts.

"The CASs bring to the Office of the Deputy President the much-needed diverse experience, professional expertise, energy and focus, which are critical in effective and efficient execution of the duties they are about to undertake. I am grateful to President William Ruto for appointing these men and woman to lead in the execution of the broad functions of the Office of the Deputy President," he said.

All the while, goons who appeared to enjoy State facilitation attacked a Ruiru farm belonging to former President Uhuru Kenyatta, cutting down trees, carting away sheep and lighting fires in full glare of the cameras and members of public.

Neither President Ruto, who is away in Germany, nor Gachagua issued a statement on both the Azimio demos and Ruiru land invasion. By close of day, there was no word either from Interior Security Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome.

Tuesday, March 27 morning, Gachagua repeated the spectactle of arrival, posting a video and photos. He described the day as a "beautiful day to strive and make our nation better". But during the night, a mosque and two churches in Kibra had been burnt down in a senseless orgy of violence.

"It was gratifying to see tens of Kenyans up as early as 5am as I headed to work this morning. We have great work ahead of us. We have a nation to build. Have a blessed day ahead. God Bless Kenya," he signalled his start to the day.

By 3:54pm on Tuesday, when President Ruto issued a message from Germany condemning impunity in his country and vowing to protect private property, his deputy in Nairobi had not spoken a word publicly on the chaos in the city.

"We have deliberately offered the police operational and financial independence to work. It is their duty to ensure that everyone adheres to the rule of law," Ruto said, adding that it was upon Mr Koome to decide on how to secure Kenya.

Essentially, the President had washed both his hands and those of his deputy off the matter, leaving Koome to account for the police handling of Monday's chaos. In the course of yesterday, the police boss issued a statement commending his officers for their exemplary conduct, condemning the chaos, and announcing the start of investigations.

Ruto is on a four-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Belgium and is expected back tomorrow or Friday. A few hours after seeing off the president at the airport, Gachagua had held a high-level meeting with top security officers.

Among those who attended included Koome, Interior and Coordination of Government Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo and Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei, alongside two other senior officers. Sources indicate the meeting centred on Monday and Thursday's handling of street protests.

After the meeting, a tough-talking Koome warned that he would deal with any lawbreakers during the demonstrations and declare that picketing was illegal. He proceeded to affirm this in a public pronouncement the same day.

The police boss warned that anyone taking part in the protests would face the wrath of the law.

"As the Inspector General, I have not given a nod to any demonstration whatsoever. Anyone who will take part, found with weapons or stones that will threaten others or destroy people's property, we shall deal with them according to the law," he said.

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