Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is a man with great potential, yet he has refused to embrace his newly minted political path.
It seems he is yet to accept that he is the Deputy President of Kenya and no longer Mathira MP or Mt Kenya kingpin wannabe. His office has great capacity for national leadership; and which he should now tap into to create a new profile for himself beyond Mt Kenya.
In his long career in public service, Rigathi has served as a District Officer, Assistant Secretary, Personal Assistant and Member of Parliament. He has also undergone training at the then Administration Police Institute and later Kenya School of Government. These are key to his journey in leadership, if he decides to. However, it seems his dedication is towards ‘watu wa Mlima’.
Why for instance would he be so brazen in defence of businesses run by people from a particular region in Nairobi? Nairobi is the capital city and has businesses run by even people from neighbouring countries.
One of the many things the current administration managed to do throughout the lengthy campaign period was ride on issues rather than tribe and regions. Led by President William Ruto, the former Tanga tanga movement morphed into UDA and later Kenya Kwanza, which successfully created a new tribe called the ‘Hustler’. This must not remain as a campaign slogan, but a reality in the next five years. Hustlers are not limited to a tribe or region.
Rigathi can defend matatu operators or nightclub owners without attributing his agitation to tribe. Many times, he makes a lot of sense, but which gets lost in the petty fights on behalf of ‘watu wa Mlima’.
Kenya has many issues that need the person and character of Rigathi Rachagua. His outspokenness, honesty and abrasiveness can be an asset. For example, his latest assignment is to lead reforms in the coffee sub-sector.
The key motivation for his appointment is the region he comes from, where coffee farming is a big deal. However, Mt Kenya is not the only region looking forward to coffee reforms. Other major coffee-growing regions include Nyanza, Bungoma, Nakuru, Kericho, Machakos and Makueni.
The DP is likely to take on his new assignment to advance his ambitions in Mt Kenya.
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If he successfully puts in place satisfactory reforms, he will score big in a region that largely determines the political direction of the country. Nothing wrong with that. However, beyond the opportunity to be the new Mt Kenya kingpin, he has a chance to reach out to the rest of the country through regions that grow coffee. Will he?
-The writer is anchor at Radio Maisha