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Tracing the roots: Where Martha Karua, Rigathi Gachagua grew up

Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential running mate Martha Karua (left) and Kenya Kwanza Alliance's Rigathi Gachagua. [File, Standard]

Two constituencies in Mt Kenya were looking forward to a feat that has not happened in the area for the last 24 years. 

At the conclusion of the presidential tallying exercise, either Mathira Constituency in Nyeri or Gichugu in Kirinyaga County was to play a role held last by Othaya in Nyeri where the last number two from Mt Kenya hailed from - Mwai Kibaki in 1988.

Former university don Dr Josephat Njuguna Karanja, who was the MP for Mathare in Nairobi would later serve for just over a year as vice president, leaving ignominiously after parliament passed a vote of no confidence in 1989.

Martha Karua hails from Kathande in Kimunye, Kabare ward and her white-washed mansion in the tea-growing village stands next to her parent's bungalow surrounded by a rush tea farm and a concrete perimeter wall.

By the look of things, if she were to be Number Two, she would need to expand this compound or think of an alternative..

Martha Karua's white-washed mansion next to her parent's bungalow. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

A paved drive connects the home to a circuit of tarmac roads that cross minor streams circuiting the village protectively towards Kimunye market which has two branches of different rural banking Saccos

Two constituencies away in Nyeri, Rigathi Gachagua's home in Hiriga, Mathira, is a spacious bungalow with a guard post and paved driveways, garages and servant quarters at the back and a generous front garden recently planted with a lush lawn.

The home also has a concrete perimeter wall and is on an earth road that takes you 500 metres to the nearest tarmac at Hiriga shopping centre. The tattered tarmac takes you three kilometres to Sagana State Lodge.

Hiriga village which nestles beside the Mt Kenya forest is also a tea-growing village but the Gachaguas are more into horticulture cultivating onions, cabbages, carrots and the like.

Unlike in the earlier dispensation, under Constitution 2010, neither Karua nor Gachagua will be MPs representing their constituencies in parliament. They will neither be leaders of government nor sit on the front benches but they will still have leverage in other areas.

This will be the home constituency of the man only a heartbeat from the presidency.

It will also be the constituency of the perceived Mt Kenya regional kingpin. Delegations will visit the kingpin at their home regularly. Technocrats will ensure the projects in the backyard are well accomplished.

DP-elect Rigathi Gachagua. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

"Since the veep is always the principal deputy of the president, it works best if he has a mood working relationship with his boss," said Essau Kioni, the Democratic Party of Kenya chairman who had been a close security confidant of late president Mwai Kibaki since his vice president's days.

Kioni added that the vice president's home area can expect to reap some fruits as long as the relationship with the president is cordial.

"There is also name recognition. The area becomes known all over the country. Even globally," said Kioni. He said the number two position was a privileged post with the holder sitting prominently at the national cake sharing table.