Why DP Gachagua is a man on war path

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses wananchi at Karatina Town, Nyeri County after attending a Scholarship for Orphans and Empowerment Programme in Kutus, Kirinyaga County, organized by the Woman Representative Njeri Maina on June 15, 2024. [DPCS]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has been on a mission to unite the people of Mt Kenya region, sometimes missing key functions which are synonymous with his role as deputy president including Monday where he was supposed to welcome back his boss the president from and overseas tour.

Gachagua has raised political heat, scolding anyone criticising his modus operandi pushing for national resources shared based on population distribution, running under the one-man, one-shilling, one-vote formula, ignoring a political storm that has followed his stand.

Gachagua insists that he will not relent in his quest despite harsh criticism from Cabinet level to legislators, who are not happy with his sudden change of political game plan.

Undeterred, Gachagua has insisted that he will continue advocating for the ‘one man one vote one shilling’ quest and will not allow threats and intimidation to slow him down.

The latest onslaught against the DP has come from Mombasa Governor, Abdulswamad Nassir, who on Monday said that the basis of revenue sharing has many factors as opposed to what the deputy president has suggested.

“Mombasa is among the top with input on Gross Domestic Product, same as Kilifi. Kwale is not badly off as well. Other counties are saying that they have a huge population but they are ahead of us in terms of giving birth. Kuna tofauti ya kuzaa na kuwa na mazao (There is a difference between giving birth and having surplus produce),” said the Governor on Monday.

He said Mombasa county is not selfish, noting that if they focus on its population based on the ‘one man one vote one shilling’ concept, others like Lamu and Tana River will be greatly affected.

“The revenue share has many factors and one of the factors that we want to be able to ensure is what you bring on the table, issues of poverty level but there is also now urban index, sharing of resources where others are getting perks others are not that is not right,” he added.

Defense Cabinet Secretary, Aden Duale has also hit Gachagua, saying one cannot support tribal politics and at the same time aspire to become a national leader.

He said tribal politics were brought to an end by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and his then deputy, William Ruto when they brought majority of communities to work together.

“You cannot aspire dream and have the ambition to lead Kenya one day when you want to employ the tribal card. Kenya is not a place to play tribal, ethnic, community or regional politics that ended in 2013 when Uhuru and Ruto brought majority of our communities together and buried tribal politics,” Duale said.

He added: “We are not against anybody. We are against ethnic politics, mobilization and dividing out people. Tribalism does not have any benefit at all. I can speak as the security minister; we have a lot of challenges. We are fighting Al Shabaab, drug dealers and countries around Kenya have challenges because of tribalism.”

The DP has however told off his critics, dismissing the new ‘villager’ tag saying he has not failed on his duties. He has said he has been discharging his mandate in line with the people’s expectations and as principal assistant to the President.

“The President has not complained about my work and I will continue doing it. I only have two bosses who are Kenyans and the President… There are some Cabinet Secretaries, personal assistants and bloggers who want to direct me on how I should work but I am the deputy president elected by Kenyans,” Gachagua said in Nyeri on Friday.

The deputy president also vowed to work with the retired president Uhuru Kenyatta to unite the Mt Kenya communities.

In Nyeri, Gachagua said in vernacular “I am not afraid and nobody should try to ‘sell fear’ to me. I am a son of Mau Mau. I campaigned for Ruto and we formed the government. I have now seen that when I say that Mt Kenya should unite, they brand us as tribalists yet other communities are doing so and nobody is questioning that. Why are they angry over our unity call?”

Gachagua uttered this while the president had flown to Italy and Switzerland on official visit and upon his return to on Monday, he was conspicuously missing among senior Government officials who received him at the airport.

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria  on Sunday dismissed Gachagua's endless campaigns in the region saying those uncomfortable with being part of the Ruto administration should leave in peace.

“If someone is tired of working, they should go home alone, I am not ready for that. Whoever is leaving should do so slowly and without drama or any insults. It cannot be that we come from one election to another and from one slogan to another it is time to reap before telling us how to vote next time. Where are the fruits of the votes first? The CS posed

“We came here as hustlers and we cannot move from that to villager with no development record to show. In Central, we cannot always be talking about politics. We are farmers, businessmen and hardworking people but we are lied to over time,” he added.

Kuria made reference to Gachagua as ‘the person on the big seat’ saying he should leave if he wants to since there are more qualified people to take up the job.

Transport Cabinet Secretary, Kipchumba Murkomen has not spared the DP either.

Murkomen has said those pushing for one man, one vote, one-shilling formula do not mean well for the unity of Kenya and do not understand what the formula entails.

"President Kibaki had a grand dream for the development of marginalised areas. We will complete the dream of our founding fathers…When I was a senator, in the last Parliament, together with others we united and said we wanted to be known as Team Kenya. We did that because we wanted to portray Kenya as one country,” he said.

Similarly, Majority Leader in the National Assembly, Kimani Ichung’wah, a strong critic of the DP states that personal political or financial challenges should not be turned into communal issues.

“Your ambitions for the 2027 elections must not derail our country back into tribal politics. It is essential that we move forward together, fostering unity and national cohesion rather than division. Let us focus on inclusive progress and shared prosperity, ensuring that our political aspirations serve the greater good of all citizens, transcending tribal lines,” said Ichung’wah.

He said actions for leaders should be guided by humility and selflessness, putting the needs and interests of others above their own ambitions and desires.

“We must strive to uplift and support our community with genuine care and integrity, rather than manipulating and deceiving them for personal gain. True leadership and community service are built on respect, honesty, and a commitment to the common good, not on using people as mere tools for selfish purposes.”