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Thanks for keeping away from the campaign trail, Rigathi to Uhuru

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua (pictured) is Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in the August 9, 2022 General Election. [File, Standard]

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua says he is happy that President Uhuru Kenyatta has, of late, kept away from the campaign trail.

It’s public knowledge that President Kenyatta supports the presidential bid of Raila Odinga, who is Deputy President William Ruto’s key challenger in the August 9 General Election.

Gachagua is Ruto’s running mate.

The Kenya Kwanza deputy president aspirant spoke in Murang’a County on Saturday, May 21 during a consultative forum.

“Is Raila Odinga foreign to you, or he is the same person you’ve known over the years? If someone paints him with a new colour, or puts a wig on his head, would you fail to identify him? He is the same person who we rejected in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017,” Gachagua said at Gakoigo Stadium in Maragua Constituency.

“Have the reasons that made us reject him changed? He’s been hiding behind President Kenyatta’s political figure. Whenever we take an aim at him (Raila), we see he’s being shielded by Uhuru Kenyatta, who is our leader and son from Mt. Kenya. We’re, therefore, forced to step back.”

Early this week, Jubilee Party vice-chairperson David Murathe said President Uhuru Kenyatta will slow down on campaigns to allow Raila Odinga chart his own campaign path. This is after Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza labelled Odinga a “State project”.

“Our president has now done something that is worth commending; he has taken a backseat in the campaigns. We thank him because we used to feel ashamed that we’d be forced to criticise him (Uhuru) should he remain active on the campaign trail,” said Gachagua.

“Raila has now taken Martha Karua as his running mate. He’s also hiding behind her. We’ll look for a way to aim at him without harming our sister, Martha,” said the Mathira lawmaker, adding: “Raila is the one who destroyed our party, Jubilee.”

Others who spoke at the event include Deputy President William Ruto, ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, Starehe MP Charles Kanyi alias Jaguar, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.

Ruto said Karua’s “only task in Azimio la Umoja” is to ensure that “Raila Odinga accepts election outcome in August”.

In his speech, Ndindi Nyoro exuded confidence that Ruto will win the presidency by getting 60 per cent of the total votes cast.

“After Kalonzo Musyoka’s exit from Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, our path to victory is now clearer,” he said.

Jaguar, on his part, said a Martha Karua choice for running mate in Azimio la Umoja won’t excite the entire country, but only a section.

“They settled on Martha Karua as Raila Odinga’s running mate. They did so to hoodwink women and the Mt. Kenya voters. Let me tell them that Kenyans do not need only one woman, but all the women. We should strive to help all the women,” said Jaguar.

On her part, Aisha Jumwa said a Martha Karua deputy president candidature “allows Azimio la Umoja to have a sober mind that will convince Raila Odinga to accept election outcome”.

Musalia Mudavadi, in his address, said that opinion polls placing Raila Odinga ahead of William Ruto are sponsored to lay ground for rigging. He further alleged that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is working closely with the ICT ministry to ensure Odinga “fraudulently” wins the presidential election.