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The faces behind Gachagua woes as Ruto allies go bare-knuckle

Deputy President Rigathi attends a funeral service for the former Kianyaga Boys High School Principal the late Julius Kano Ndumbi at Ngungu Village, Gichugu Constituency in Kirinyaga Count on May 21, 2024. [DPCS]

The emerging rift between President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua has grown more evident after political leaders who have been dragged into the scheme continue to reveal themselves by engaging in more attacks against Gachagua.

Former Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri earlier pointed an accusing finger at Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi as the Rift Valley leaders spearheading a well-oiled smear campaign against Gachagua.

“They are in the forefront in the incitement campaign and the fight against the Deputy President. They have sufficient funds to carry out their plan, they are the ones leading the meetings together with the youthful leaders from Mt Kenya region,” Ngunjiri has claimed.

From the Mt Kenya region’s side, another Gachagua’s ally Embakasi North MP James Gakuya, has pointed an accusing finger to MPs Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) Mwangi Kiunjuri (Laikipia East) and former State House New Media Director Dennis Itumbi as those who are being used to soil the image of the Deputy President in his own backyard. The scheme aims at making Gachagua look like a leader lacking national appeal, Gakuya told The Standard 

Gakuya claimed that the leaders are pushing a narrative that Nyoro was the most suitable leader to replace Gachagua as Ruto’s running mate for the 2027 re-election game plan.

The leaders have now gone ballistic accusing Gachagua of using a retrogressive card; that of asking the elected leaders to remain in their electoral zones even as they denied claims of political tourism saying they were on a political development tour.

On Monday, Kiunjuri denied the tag of collaborating with people soiling Gachagua’s image. He claimed it was Gachagua who had such qualities. The Laikipia East MP accused Gachagua of being an activist. He said a deputy president should not be seen campaigning about the one-man-one vote-one-shilling revenue sharing formula but his power to push for the formula be implemented.

“The motion can be brought through cabinet which is usually done through the leader of the majority. Those people who are yapping on the streets are members of that cabinet. They have the power to even collect signatures for a constitutional review. What exactly are they telling us? They are playing political activism.’’ Kiunjuri told The Standard.

While accusing Gachagua of forcing himself on the people to be recognised as a kingpin and issuing threats to leaders to commandeer them, Kiunjuri claimed Gachagua, despite being the senior most political leader from Mt Kenya region, he had no clout to be the region’s kingpin.

“Why do you want to force yourself on the people? Where have you ever heard of a leader forcing himself on others. Leadership is cultivated to a point where you gain acceptability by people; it is not earned by inflicting fear on them,” Kiunjuri said.

While comparing the second in command with a qualified clergy with no experience, Kiunjuri said “If you pursue theology to become a reverend and you are conferred a degree and you even further your studies to be called a professor but you have never been in active preaching you can’t argue with the church elder who has been in church for over 70 years. You can’t go about disrespecting such people”.

On his part, Itumbi took to his social media platform to respond to Gakuya saying: “Our call for generational change is not about disregarding the past but learning and benefitting from mentorship.

‘‘Generational change is just a voice of the majority. We appreciate those before us for their guidance and achievements, but we have come of age and we are ready to take our positions in business, careers and politics”.

He continued “We are your sons and daughters; we decline the invite to have a tribal conversation. Like many of my generation, the language I speak has never given me an advantage, so I therefore decline an invitation to discuss Gikùyù supremacy”. 

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi on Sunday told Gachagua off saying he could not control where he goes or how he handles his political affairs.

“You cannot control where I go. If we all stayed in our respective constituencies then we could not be in government. We had to fly all over the country to ask Kenyans to elect this government. I am not someone you can threaten. I have been threatened enough and this does not move me,” the MP claimed he would not cease holding fundraisers anywhere in the country, a thing he said he inherited from the President.

CS Murkomen told congregants of Kaplomboi Catholic church Sotik constituency in Bomet that he had no time and luxury to do politics of hatred. His only duty was to help the President deliver on his mandate “through my docket”.

“There are people who have problems with us when we tour the country and fellowship with Kenyans over the weekend, yet it is an opportunity for us in the Executive to come face to face with realities on the ground,” the CS said on Sunday.

Other leaders who attended the event included the host MP Francis Sigei, Bomet Senator Hilary Sigei and MPs Japheth Nyakundi (Kitutu Chache). Reuben Kiborek (Mogotio) among others who accused Gachagua of propagating politics of deceit, tribalism, nepotism and division.

Politics of gagging leaders and confining them into their electoral zones is retrogressive and has no place in today’s politics,” Sotik MP said.

Mogotio MP Reuben Kiborek said “It is retrogressive for a leader to tell leaders not to go to other areas other than where they are elected telling people to stay in his corner but I also need visitors to come in my area and help me in my developmental agenda”.

However, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said although Gachagua and Ruto enjoyed a cordial working relationship ‘there were a few individuals who wanted to bring a wedge between them.’

“As leadership, we shall not allow political conmanship to derail our government.

‘‘The Presidency deserves absolute respect. If you disrespect DP Gachagua you are also disrespecting President Ruto,” he told The Standard on the phone. Despite Ruto’s allies stinging remarks against Gachagua, the President’s silence over the matter has added more confusion into the matter as it is not known whether his lieutenants have his blessings.

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