DP follows Ruto's footsteps in donations to schools, churches

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua received by Rev. Dr. Jackson Ole Sapit at ACK Good Samaritan Nyangwa sports ground, Mbeere South, Embu County for a Christian service and funds-raising towards the Diocesan investment project on March 2, 2024. [DPCS]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua seems to be following in the footsteps of President William Ruto who, while serving as the second in command, won staunch defenders and foot soldiers in the grassroots who could take a bullet for him.

When things fell apart between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, Dr Ruto embarked on charm offensive to form an army of political defenders who joined him in funds drive for churches where he gave generous contributions that turned him into a darling of the faithful.

Ruto could traverse several parts of the country donating millions of shillings in churches and school fundraisers which cemented his relationship with the voters.

Gachagua is seemingly embracing this strategy. Just like Ruto, the DP is preaching the unity gospel in Mt Kenya.

Last week, the second in command spent two days in Embu and Laikipia counties, leaving behind millions of shillings in funds drive for schools and churches.

Gachagua donated Sh27 million which, he said, would be used to revamp schools and churches and promised various development projects.

At Munyaka Secondary School, the Deputy President pledged Sh10 million for the completion of a dining hall but gave out Sh5 million, assuring the school management that he will give the balance once roofing is done.

Ngombit Secondary School got Sh5 million for renovation and Gachagua directed Laikipia East MP Mwangi Kiunjuri to identify the schools that would benefit from Sh6 million for development.

The DP gave Sh5 million to St Mary’s Mwenje Secondary School and Sh3 million to a church in Ngarua, with Sh1 million being President Ruto’s donation.

Just like in Ruto’s case, the political class accompanied Gachagua to also take credit for bringing the second in command to their constituencies, while vowing to protect him from political aggression that may arise as a result of the camaraderie between President Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

Gachagua has also visited other Mt Kenya counties where he has made generous donations.

Some of the lieutenants who have publicly registered their political allegiance to the DP and vowed to take a bullet for him include MPs Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Geoffrey Ruku (Mbeere North), Eric Wa Mumbi (Mathira), Bettie Maina (Murang'a) and Ann Wa Muratha (Kiambu).

Other are senators John Methu (Nyandarua), Wahome Wamatinga (Nyeri), Karungo Wa Thangwa (Kiambu), John Kinyua (Laikipia), among others.

Governors Cecily Mbarire (Embu), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Joshua Irungu (Laikipia) have also come out to strongly support Gachagua, promising to compliment his efforts of uniting the mountain.

In Laikipia, Mr Methu showered Gachagua with praises, explaining how he has opened doors to elected leaders and announced that they (leaders) would reciprocate by supporting his unity mission.

In Embu, the elected leaders cautioned the president on his newfound deal with Raila, saying they would not allow the ‘handshake’ to be used to disrespect Gachagua as the second in command and the Mt Kenya kingpin.

“Any leader in the whole country, regardless of his position and status, who may engineer a narrative to disrespect Gachagua because of the government’s efforts to assist Raila acquire the AU position, we shall deal with him,” Ruku said.

Mbarire, who is also the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairperson, hailed the DP for pushing for the appointment of Embu sons and daughters to government, saying they would reciprocate by supporting and defending him to the end.

And despite the sudden public display of submissiveness to Gachagua and apprehension of Raila-Ruto deal by the political class, the DP is keeping his cards close to his chest and letting his lieutenants vent, a strategy too that was used by Ruto after the Uhuru–Raila handshake.

Political analyst Charles Njoroge observed that Gachagua's strategy may be lethal as he could be planning and organising himself politically while appearing subtle.