Holding hands is an American custom, not for Kenyan husbands- Gachagua

President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel (first row), Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, and his wife Dorcas during the 21st National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on May 30, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

During President William Ruto and First Lady Mama Rachel's three-day State visit to the US, their affectionate gesture of holding hands did not go unnoticed.

Unlike before, the two often walked hand in hand, with Ruto slowing his pace to accommodate his spouse.

President William Ruto and First Lady Mama Rachael during their three-day State visit to the US. [File, Standard]

This display, however, sparked discussions in many Kenyan households, including that of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Now an online joke, wives, inspired by the First Lady, began demanding the same treatment from their husbands.

“There was a little problem rising from your trip to most of us here. All Kenyans were monitoring what you were doing in the States and there was something that created a problem for many husbands across the country. When you were holding the hand of the First Lady, it put a lot of pressure on us. Our spouses, led by mine, Pastor Dorcas were demanding that we emulate you and hold their hands wherever we went,” said Gachagua.

The DP, cracking up the crowd, reassured that the gesture was simply, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," noting that the hand-holding ceased upon their return to Kenya.

A viral photo on social media platforms showed the First Lady absent as President Ruto disembarked from the plane upon their return last week, which netizens humorously dubbed a "factory reset."

Gachagua claimed that holding hands is an American tradition that should not be imposed on African husbands, particularly at home.

He added that he, too, would hold his wife’s hand, but only when they travel to the US.

“I knew the President would resolve the problem once he returned. And this morning, he did just that. As we welcomed you from the car, you walked quickly with me, while Mama Rachel tried to catch up. So, the matter is sorted—it was just an American thing,” said Gachagua

But to the bemusement of many, both Ruto and Gachagua would later be captured holding their spouse’s hands as they stepped off the podium at Safari Park, after being gifted.