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Rigathi Gachagua: I defeated Martha Karua in debate

UDA deputy presidential candidate Rigathi Gachagua addressing a political rally at Kitengela, Kajiado County on July 23, 2022. [Standard]

Rigathi Gachagua has claimed he was the winner of the deputy presidential debate held on Tuesday, July 19.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) deputy presidential candidate said he surprised those who thought Martha Karua of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya would have an easy ride in the televised face-off.

Speaking during campaigns in Kitengela, Kajiado County on Saturday, July 23, Gachagua said: “The other day, I debated against Martha Karua. Tulimnyorosha, hatukumnyorosha (Didn’t we defeat her?)

“This coming Tuesday (July 26), the deputy president will face off against Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja in the presidential debate. I understand that Raila has panicked. Speaking for 90 minutes while standing is not easy. The debate wants someone who is mentally and physically fit. I hear the Azimio team wants Raila to be given a chair during the debate. I’m sure hustler (Ruto) will outshine him completely,” said Gachagua.

In the lead-up to the deputy presidential debate held on July 19, a section of social media users, especially on Twitter, feared that Gachagua would say inappropriate things that would cause UDA a loss of votes.

The debate came on the back of utterances by the Mathira Member of Parliament that rubbed a section of Kenyans the wrong way.

For instance, he’d previously said that the blue police uniform was ugly, and should he and Deputy President William Ruto secure victory on August 9, they will “return the ugly blue uniform to members of PCEA Woman’s Guild”.

The picture that many had of Gachagua, was that of a ruthless politician, who spoke what came to mind without a shred of empathy.

In the debate, however, a more polished and composed Gachagua was unveiled.

Despite spending a significant part of his time attacking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s leadership, Gachagua came out as someone who understood UDA’s agenda.

Martha Karua, on the other hand, remained composed, and tried as much as possible not to attack the character of Gachagua’s principal, Deputy President William Ruto.

She articulated Azimio’s manifesto with composure and ease, but was often forced on the defensive by an aggressive and resilient Gachagua.

At the end of the day, Gachagua reiterated UDA’s manifesto, pledging to prioritise health reforms and uplift low-income earners.

Azimio’s Karua, on the other hand, pledged Sh6,000 social protection funds and a graft-free government.