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Kithure Kindiki: Why I missed Ruto's unveiling of running mate Rigathi Gachagua

By Brian Okoth | May 18th 2022 | 3 min read
Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki addressing journalists at Tamarind Hotel in Nairobi on May 16, 2022. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki has revealed why he was absent when Deputy President William Ruto unveiled Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.

The DP announced at his Karen residence in Nairobi on Sunday, May 15 that he had picked Rigathi as his running mate after several hours of impasse over who between Kindiki and Rigathi should deputise him.

Ruto was supposed to unveil his running mate on May 14 at 9am, but ended up postponing the exercise to the following day.

Kindiki said he led in opinion poll ratings and got more votes from Mt. Kenya MPs in the selection process, suggesting that there was more faith in his candidature than Rigathi’s.

The senator, however, said that the two factors were not the only ones that Ruto considered while picking his running mate.

When the impasse persisted late into the night, Kindiki said he and Rigathi left it to the deputy president to solely pick his running mate.

He said the crisis talks lasted for several hours – from Saturday through Sunday, and that he and Rigathi left Ruto’s Karen residence at 3:30am on Sunday.

“We agreed on two things: that whatever decision he (Ruto) makes, now that the stalemate had persisted, either Rigathi or I would have to accept it,” Kindiki said on Citizen Television on Tuesday, May 17.

When Ruto was announcing his running mate at his Karen home on Sunday mid-morning, Kindiki was absent. The senator said there was “miscommunication” on when the announcement ought to have been made.

“There was a miscommunication. When we left Karen at 3:30am, we had agreed that the announcement would be done after church. So, on Sunday morning I went to my regular place of worship. The deputy president also attended church service at his residence.

“The timing [of the announcement] is what I didn’t get correct.

Deputy President William Ruto congratulates Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua after announcing him as his running mate in Karen, Nairobi, on May 15, 2022. [David Njaaga, Standard]

“My church service delayed a bit. When I was in church, some of my colleagues (MPs) who were supporting me, texted and told me: ‘the announcement [on Ruto’s running mate] has just started. Where are you?’.

 “I thought we said the announcement would be made after church service. When I left the church, even before the service was over, I saw a missed call from the deputy president. I called him, but he didn’t pick. Then I went online and found he had started speaking.

“I then texted him, saying: ‘boss, I’m sorry I’m late, but it would look untidy of me to drive all the way from the NPC Valley Road to Karen, and arrive late’.

“I already knew what his decision was; he had already told me. He is a gentleman, and he couldn’t surprise me or Rigathi.

“I asked for his permission to be away [because I was already late to the event]. I told the deputy president: ‘proceed [with the announcement], and I’ll do the concession my way’. If I came late [given I was one of the two key frontrunners], that in itself would have been the news other than what brought us there. I am a disciplined Kenyan. I don’t believe when our presidential candidate is talking, and has an event that has started, I should show up,” said Kindiki.

The senator said he thought Ruto would make the announcement at around 1pm.

“After church, for me, was 12:30pm or 1pm after leaving Valley Road. The church service that the deputy president attended ended at around 10am; by 11am, they had started assembling and by 12 noon the process had started.”

Kindiki said he’d made peace with Ruto’s choice for a running mate, and that he’ll fully support the presidential ticket before, during and after the August 9 General Election.

Rigathi Gachagua, who appeared on Citizen Television last Sunday, said Ruto settled on him because of his grassroots mobilisation skills, industriousness and ability to connect with the larger Mt. Kenya electorate.

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