The ghosts of the election past constantly haunt Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. Everywhere he goes, he sees former competitors and the remnants of vanquished foes or people that did not support them.
Even in victory, the former Mathira MP is still waging his war. Long after the August General Election, Gachagua has been seen as constantly in a campaign mood.
But Gachagua’s bitter outbursts, it seems, are bothering other members of Kenya Kwanza.
Tellingly, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi last week called for an end to the blame game between the government and the opposition at an event in Machakos county, arguing that the blame games would make the government ineffective.
“The elections are done and we need to put politics aside. The people have given authority to the people in different positions. So now we must put the blame game behind us because if we engage in a blame game, sooner or later the currency of the blame game will end,” said Mudavadi.
The comments have, however, been taken as criticism of Rigathi who has been the most outspoken member of the administration. It remains to be seen if his outbursts will continue as members of Kenya Kwanza begin to feel unease.
He takes advantage of every opportunity to tear into Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga and retired president Uhuru Kenyatta, or smugly reminding voters that they had not actually voted for him and Ruto.
Gachagua was always abrasive from the outset. His combative nature put him head and shoulders above his peers in Kenya Kwanza and arguably contributed to his being named as President William Ruto’s running mate.
The Kenya Kwanza campaign was built on criticising and denigrating the Jubilee administration, specifically the handshake between Uhuru and Raila. While it proved a winning strategy, managing to appeal to the sections of the voters who wanted a change from the administration, Gachagua’s ongoing war with Azimio la Umoja long after the August General Election is causing jitters within the administration.
Initially part of the team throwing salvos at his competitors, President Ruto seems to have mellowed down, instead favouring a more conciliatory approach.
Not so much Gachagua.
During the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Annual General Meeting in Nairobi on Thursday, the former Mathira MP lashed out at business leaders for supporting Azimio la Umoja.
“I am asking you, even though you believed that we are useless the way you had been told, those who told you, the alternative that they were giving you, would they have woken up early to attend this meeting? You failed us,” Gachagua told the business owners.
It was not an isolated statement, but one that has quickly become a pattern for the Deputy President. Gachagua’s speech during their inauguration on September 13 where he hit out at the outgoing administration has become a standard that he has adopted.
During the launch of the 2022 examination calendar, Gachagua could not resist the opportunity to hit at Kenyatta, saying that his administration had misused national government officers.
“I felt bad when you were being misused. The previous administration used them negatively to campaign for Azimio and to harass teachers. That is not your work,” Gachagua said.