Gachagua allies: There's a scheme to deny DP funds, unsettle Mt Kenya

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. [DPCS, Standard]

Even as Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua hinted that his political detractors are people close to President William Ruto, accusing them of trying to manage Mt Kenya politics, his allies now claim there is a wider plot to slash his budget by 25 per cent.

The political scheming, according to Gachagua’s foot soldiers, seeks to reduce the budget of the Office of the Deputy President with the intention to ground him so that he does not move around the country.

Kirinyaga Senator Kamau Murango, one of Gachagua’s close allies, told The Standard that he was privy to a plot to revise the 2024-2025 budget estimates and reduce Gachagua’s budget in a move, he claimed, was aimed at punishing Gachagua and rendering him immobile.

“We are warning the Budget and Appropriations committee because this will be the deal breaker between us and this administration. We shall also lay the blame on the committee chairperson Ndindi Nyoro and take it upon ourselves. He wants to use his powers to flex his muscles against Gachagua and we shall crisscross our region telling our people exactly that,” Murango told The Standard on phone.

According to the Senator, all indications were that there is a plan to weaken Gachagua by reallocating the budget allocations for the Mt Kenya agricultural sector. He claimed the objective is to set up the second in command so that he is blamed by farmers for any eventualities.

“They have already removed Sh70 million meant for eradication of snail infestation in Mwea irrigation scheme while they failed to factor in the budget estimates money for coffee revitalisation programmes. They know very well that farmers will blame Gachagua as he is spearheading various agricultural sub-sector reforms. They want to set him up to fail,” Murango added.

The coffee sub-sector reforms budget was also missing from the budget estimates with Gachagua's foot soldiers registering their fears that it was a political game against the DP. But Cabinet Secretary for Cooperatives Simon Chelugui speaking to The Standard earlier clarified that the amount would be factored in the Supplementary budget.

On his part Embakasi North MP James Gakuya claimed there was a coordinated effort to tarnish Gachagua's image in Mt Kenya. He said emerging issues such as budget cuts were being used to achieve that mission. He said Gachagua's detractors were ‘using your brother to finish your brother’.

 “Once you realise there is such a threat you must also strategise on how to counter it, whether the marriage works and we move on or if there are difficulties and that we must part ways," He said

"It is not cast in stone that it must be permanent. There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. If you think that I have become a burden and then there comes an element of betrayal, at that time then you decide what next.”

The leaders’ concerns come even as Gachagua who, on Saturday, took the political war front to the President’s backyard of Rift Valley. He accused the President's allies of trying to manage Mt Kenya politics due to the 2032 succession game plan.

"Mt Kenya region political dynamics are complex and hasty actions could lead to unforeseen consequences," Gachagua said.

Abhor betrayal

Gachagua who addressed locals during a women and youth empowerment event in Kesses assured of Mt Kenya region’s unwavering support for President Ruto but reminded his partners that Mt Kenya abhors betrayal of any form.

“We supported the President on our own motion and we shall continue supporting him," Gachagua said.

"But we are pleading for some little respect. Don’t dare organise on our behalf the politics of the mountain and to organise the leaders of the region. You may plan your leadership and politics from your region when the President will retire after 10 years and we shall not interfere with your issues”.

“For the support we gave the President, show us some little respect. You don’t have to do anything else for us. Leave us alone to manage our things. You may plan yours we meet at the middle, and if the youthful leaders continue they will destroy our political arrangement and cause conflict."

The mountain is now unsettled and feeling bad, said Gachagua, adding that a few people from the Rift Valley were trying to interfere with leaders from Mt Kenya. 

"If we put this country into the political mood of 2032 when shall we work for our people?" he asked.

Gachagua questioned the source of money that has continued to be dished in church fundraisers and to hire choppers when Kenyans are suffering.

“Where are all these resources coming from when Kenyans are suffering? Choppers hired from left right centre and millions of shillings are dished. Let us put our politics down and focus,” he said.

He said he has continued to discharge his duties assigned by the President and urged other leaders to compliment the President’s efforts.

In former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, Ruto, then Deputy President often complained of budget cuts after his acrimonious fall out with Uhuru where he was forced to dig into his pockets to fund operational costs for his office

At one time in June 2022, Ruto’s then spokesperson Emmanuel Taalam confirmed that Ruto’s office was affected by the budget cuts. He said that save for the salary and official residence at Karen, Ruto and the civil servants attached to him were not getting their allowances nor money they needed to fund their official activities.

 “They stopped giving us money one and a half years ago" Taalam told the press in mid 2022  "We do not understand why someone is denying the office of the DP money.” 

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