Supremacy battle: MPs 'hijack' Gachagua event to praise Nyoro

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. [File, Standard]

A supremacy battle unfolded in Mathioya as six relatives from two neighbouring families mourned their kin buried alive by a landslide.

The rivalry between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro played out as area leaders showed where their hearts were. 

A visit to Kiganjo village on Tuesday saw Gachagua's officers deployed to prepare the venue ahead of the trip. In the meantime, the DP headed to Ihithe in Nyeri for the burial of retired African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) clergy Amos Kabuthu.

However, moments before noon, MPs Nyoro (Kiharu), Edwin Mugo (Mathioya) and Bettie Maina (Woman Rep), and Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu landed using a chopper causing confusion among locals who mistook them for the Deputy President's entourage.

The leaders announced that they had visited to condole with the mourners and to offer their financial and material support. Nyoro gave Sh1 million and another donation of similar amount he said was from President William Ruto.

The other legislators donated Sh200,000 each to boost the contribution and hailed the MP for mobilizing support to assist the residents.

The leaders showered praises on Nyoro, whom they described as the link between them and the President. They asked residents to pray for him against his political enemies.

Senator Nyutu claimed they had gone there with Nyoro in his capacity as the National Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee chairperson so that he could "elaborate the government's programme" towards assisting the 52 families who have been accommodated at the Ngutu Secondary School.

“Nyoro speaks and meets with the President at all times and we shall send him to deliver our wishes to the President. When you pray tell God something about Nyoro because he is our hope and leader. I won’t say much let those who understand know what I'm speaking about,” Nyutu said as he introduced Nyoro as the sixth, implying Ruto's successor.

Maina told Nyoro: "You came here because you love us and you are merciful and we shall never forget that you gave us a shoulder to lean on when we were mourning. As women, we shall ask our God to continue blessing you and uplifting you from one grace to another and protect you against your enemies and we recognise you as the senior most leader in this region."

Thirty minutes before the Deputy President arrived, the MPs boarded their chopper and left the venue. By the time Gachagua's touched down, only Governor Irungu Kangata and the local MCA Edwin Wairagu were at hand to welcome him.

Gachagua was accompanied by Nyeri leaders, including MPs John Kaguchia (Mukurweini), Njoroge Wainaina (Othaya) and Rahab Mukami (Woman Rep).

In his speech, the Deputy President criticised the host MP (Mugo) for failing to stay with his grieving people like grassroots leaders ought to.

“A leader does not just come to say hi to his people and then leave. He spends time with his grieving people. Kaihu gacangacangi gatigaga kwao gugithinjwo,” he quoted a Kikuyu proverb which loosely translates to mean "a marauding mongoose leaves its house when there is banquet".

He donated food and gave Sh1 million, pledging to continue supporting the families just like he has done to others in Mai Mahiu and other areas.

Local politician Samuel Mwangi, who also hails from Mathioya and is among the local leaders helping in the logistics for the affected persons, told The Standard on phone that they were waiting for the Deputy President when the chopper carrying the local MPs landed.

“I was at the venue together with the staff from the Deputy President’s office who had arrived at 7am to prepare the ground for Gachagua. The function had been planned by his (Gachagua’s office) and we expected that the local leaders would be part of the DP’s entourage but nonetheless, we welcomed them and they supported the victims," he said.

The incident reawakened the supremacy battles that have been brewing in Mt Kenya, with a section of Murang'a leaders piling pressure on the President to drop Gachagua for Nyoro in 2027 as his running mate.

Political analyst Charles Njoroge faulted the Murang'a leaders for trying to gain political mileage out of the tragedy.

"It is during sad moments that leaders abandon their petty political differences to support the people affected by the calamities such as landslides and floods. Confusing people who are already suffering from post-traumatic stress for cheap political mileage is wrong," he said.