Ruto cautions UDA MPs over succession plot in Mt Kenya region

President William Ruto has been sucked into squabbles by a section of his lieutenants in Mt Kenya region which has caused rift in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

On Tuesday, the Head of State uncharacteristically fired a warning shot to restless youthful leaders who have been challenging the supremacy of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in Mt Kenya.

Speaking in Nakuru, Ruto said “Gachagua and I agreed to provide mentorship to the youthful leadership but they should not push us to the corner as that will alter the plan.”

“I ask young leaders in the UDA and Kenya Kwanza coalition that we work together so that we deliver to the people of Kenya because we have an assignment to deliver,” the Head of State implored the youthful leaders.

Ruto’s remarks came just hours after his deputy Gachagua hit out at some critics whom he accused of trying to divide Mt Kenya.

The DP was meeting MCAs from Nyandarua at his Karen residence in Nairobi before he joined the President in Nakuru.

In Nakuru, Gachagua weighed in the Mt Kenya succession debate: “We do not want a person who divides us along county lines that so and so is from Murang’a while so and so is from Nyeri. We want united people so that we have a united country. In 2002 and 2007, we voted man to man for Mwai Kibaki. In 2013 and 2017, we voted for Uhuru Kenyatta and in 2022 we vote for Ruto. We want to remain united so that we shall vote for Ruto.” 

The president’s remarks were calculated to bring an end the electioneering mood in Mt Kenya region which was occasioned by a section of Murang’a leaders who endorsed Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro to replace Gachagua in 2027 as Ruto’s running mate. 

The leaders led by Murang’a Senator Joe Nyutu and Gatanga MP Edward Muriu claimed that Kiambu and Nyeri had shortchanged Murang’a county as much as producing the president and the deputy debate was concerned. 

“Kiambu has produced two presidents, a prime minister and a deputy prime minister while Nyeri has produced a president for two terms, a vice-president and a deputy president. It is our time to lead the country,” Muriu said.

The Gatanga MP said that Mt Kenya can’t afford to be in the hands of a condescending leader who goes about disparaging leaders’ names to higher authorities.

He claimed that the running mate position should be subjected to nomination instead of the president appointing his favourite candidate.

Earlier at his official residence, Gachagua had started solidifying his base which has been besieged by Nyoro, deepening the clamour for the ultimate leadership of Mt Kenya region.

The DP hosted members of Nyandarua County Assembly where the Mt Kenya succession politics featured prominently.

This was happening days after succession battles pitting Gachagua and Nyoro erupted in public, with two groups of MPs supporting each camp pronouncing their intentions of winning the political battle of wits and for the soul of Mt Kenya region.

The DP lauded the MCAs for passing a Bill to regulate production, sale, distribution and consumption of alcoholic drinks within Nyandarua County.

Gachagua hit out at the promoters of succession politics, stating that Kenyans are fresh from an election and what they want is service.

In a meeting with the MCAs who led by Speaker Wachira Waiganjo, the DP argued that there would be no people to lead if the young generation dies from alcohol.

“Those who want to lead, if these young men die, whom are you going to lead? Let’s first save this generation and you can start strategising with them in the future,” said Gachagua.

He called on the leaders to support President Ruto by focusing on service delivery. The Nyandarua leadership pledged to support Gachagua, dismissing other leaders from the region “who were out to be used in a bid to divide the region”.

“The train has left the station, our driver is President Ruto and his co-driver is Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. The aim of those who want to change could be probably to render our president to be a one-term president and we will not be a party to that,” Nyandarua County Assembly Deputy Speaker Chege Gathirimu said.

Minority Leader Mwangi Gichuki accused a section of Mt Kenya leaders of being part of a wider scheme being used by the external forces to divide the region and vowed to call them out.

In a separate interview, former Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri argued that going by the votes he garnered from Mt Kenya, President Ruto is the region’s kingpin and should weigh in on the issue and state that the DP has earned his position.

He said that it is too early to start succession politics and advised Nyoro and those propping him as the next DP to wait till 2027.