Intrigues that saw Nyoro and allies drop scheme to replace Gachagua

DP Rigathi Gachagua flanked by Governor Irungu Kangata, MPs Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Edward Muriu (Gatanga), and Sabina Chege (Nominated), among others, at a fundraiser in Kigumo, Murang'a on February 10, 2024. [DPCS, Standard]

Details have emerged on how Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and his team were politically subdued to abandon their push to have him replace Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in 2027.

In a campaign that now seems to have been built on quicksand, Nyoro’s team led by Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu and Gatanga MP Edward Muriu crumbled when President William Ruto read a riot act to the leaders under the Kenya Kwanza administration, especially the youthful ones, asking them to focus on service delivery and avoid politics.

A day after the president’s rallying call, Nyoro affirmed his unconditional support to Gachagua, describing himself as an errand boy for Ruto and Gachagua.

“We, the Kenya Kwanza leaders, accord our President and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua total and unconditional support as they lead our nation. As they lead us in the front, the rest of us, including Ndindi Nyoro, are their errand boys and our work is to support them because there is an aim, agenda and plan to take our country forward and when Kenya succeeds, Kenyans will rejoice,” he said.

On Saturday, last week, Nyoro, for the first time since the Kenya Kwanza administration formed the government, shared a podium with Gachagua reiterating his unconditional support to the DP.

"We offer the president and his deputy unconditional support as they serve Kenyans. To the deputy president, we offer you support and pray that you succeed in the tea, coffee and milk agricultural sub-sector reforms. We love you and support you as our leaders," said the Kiharu lawmaker. 

Gatanga MP Muriu, who has been presenting Nyoro as the best-suited candidate to replace Gachagua in 2027, also publicly registered his allegiance to Gachagua. Senator Nyutu was, however, conspicuously missing in the Saturday event in Murang'a that was attended by over 115 elected leaders.

Among the leaders who accompanied Gachagua were over 50 elected leaders from Rift Valley who were categorical that they were behind the DP for supporting the president through thick and thin.

Led by Eldama Ravine MP Musa Sirma, the leaders, who included Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruioyot, cautioned Mt Kenya region, urging the leaders to rally behind Gachagua.

“We have come from far with Gachagua. In 2002, he and Ruto supported Uhuru and later were mistreated together. He is the best advisor to the President owing to his political experience. Rift Valley leaders will not throw stones at him,” he said. 

The MP reminded Mt Kenya region how Rift Valley abandoned former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who he claimed had been fronted by former President Daniel Moi to be the Kalenjin leader, a move they later abandoned and fronted Ruto as their community leader.

“When I named him our future president, all other leaders rallied behind him and years later, he became the president. Mt Kenya should rally behind Gachagua as their leader and future president," he said.

Speaker after speaker urged youthful leaders to tame their ambitions and disallow emerging efforts to divide the mountain.

Sources have disclosed to The Standard that the presence of over 50 leaders from Rift Valley was to calm the growing disquiet in Mt Kenya region that there were efforts by the president to employ "divide and rule tactics" as Nyoro had been seen as a close ally of the president.

“A narrative that Nyoro was a tortoise placed on the table to destabilise the region had started spreading and was seen as a detriment to the president, especially after Mt Kenya voted him as a voting bloc,” a source told The Standard.

Another source, an MP from Mt Kenya region, intimated that the president summoned some of the leaders who had been using his name while crisscrossing the country and warned them that he wanted a united country.

“While at Nakuru, the president summoned two leaders and read them a riot act directing them to respect Gachagua and to stop antagonising his administrations,” the MP said.

The notion that there was a scheme to establish two centres of power within Mt Kenya region was a blessing in disguise to Gachagua who many had started sympathising with him and depicting the president in a bad way and hence needed to be rectified," the MP added.

Gachagua has also been consistent that he would never allow anybody to divide Mt Kenya region, terming those with a political scheme to divide the region as enemies of the Agikuyu community.

On Saturday, the second in command said he has witnessed the succession politics of the country right from the Moi’s administration to that of third President Mwai Kibaki and that he was in the middle of a succession game plan from Kibaki to former President Uhuru Kenyatta and to Ruto and that he will also shape the succession politics of Ruto when the right time comes.

Unite strongholds

“Some of the leaders had not been born or were too young to understand politics. They should consult me for political tips. As the principal assistant to the president, it is my commitment to unite our strongholds behind the president and will not allow anybody to divide us,” he said.

The presence of over 50 leaders from Rift Valley was seen as an assurance from the president and the Rift Valley that the region was solidly behind Gachagua and that there were no cat-and-mouse games between the two leaders.

Majority of the MPs who attended Nyoro’s masomo bora programme in Murang'a town on January 12, a forum in which he (Nyoro was endorsed to replace Gachagua in 2027), had leaders from Rift Valley, a move that caused confusion on whether they had the blessings of the president.

The presence of the 50 leaders in Gachagua’s event was a precursor to the presidential tour were Ruto is expected to visit Gatanga, Maragua and Kangema constituencies in Murang'a before moving to Nyeri and Kiambu counties for a development tour.

The tour will begin tomorrow when the president will be in Kangema to preside over the inauguration of Kenya Medical Training College and thereafter visit Lari in Kiambu to launch a road.

On Thursday, the Head of State will launch Ithanga Water Irrigation project and Maragua water project in Gatanga and Maragua constituencies and on Friday visit Mathira and Gatundu South to launch road projects.

The Head of State will be operating from Sagana State Lodge where he will also meet a few of the leaders from Mt Kenya region in a move that has been seen as restoring the trust of the region which could be in jeopardy after the succession tiff.