Forget the past: Gachagua eats humble pie says sorry to Kenyattas

DP Gachagua said he was aware that such campaign excesses where mothers are demonized were against Agikuyu culture as ‘it would not attract blessings but a curse’. [File, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has sought forgiveness from Kenya’s first First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta over political transgressions against her family during 2022 general elections and after.

Gachagua said he regretted the unpalatable words that the Kenya Kwanza administration leaders hurled at Mama Ngina and her family vowing to never allow that to happen again.

Speaking on Kameme TV and radio stations yesterday, Gachagua, said Mama Ngina, by virtue of her age and status, is mother to the politicians who summoned courage to hurl insults at her during the campaign period.

“I tender our apologies to Mama Ngina and ask her to forgive us just like her children. It was political bad manners and it shall never happen again. We lacked respect for her and it’s regrettable,” Gachagua.

On April 24 last year, in one of his tirades against Mama Ngina, Gachagua challenged her to divide half of the Kenyatta family's huge tracts of land to the children of Mau Mau who he claimed were squatters. This was after Mama Ngina met freedom fighter the late Muthoni Kirima- Field Marshall

 “I was so happy yesterday to see people saying that they are thinking of how to help the Mau Mau. Even if they have never helped them since 1963 it's still not late because the Mau Mau and their descendants are suffering,” Gachagua said. 

He added “All we’re asking is for them to help the Mau Mau in a meaningful way. All the land they took from the Mau Mau, let them return at least half of the parcels of land to the Mau Mau and their children including myself.”

Yesterday while offering himself to what he referred to as reverting the river back to its course, Gachagua said he was aware that such campaign excesses where mothers are demonized were against Agikuyu culture as ‘it would not attract blessings but a curse’.

Gachagua said he was in the process of changing the region’s political discourse.

In a sudden change of tune, which looks to be the exact opposite of his stands two more than a year ago, Gachagua hailed retired President Uhuru Kenyatta. He referred to him as ‘our son’ and ‘President Uhuru’ for his contributions to the country’s’ development agenda and disclosed that he had directed all Mt Kenya leaders to stop attacking him and his family.

 “Former President Uhuru Kenyatta is our son. We worked together for 17 years and only disagreed for 2 years and now that’s the past. I pray for him in his retirement. Uhuru is one of us. We are reaching out to everyone,” he said.

Asked when he was considering meeting with the former President in his mountain unity bid, Gachagua said "God's time is the best''

He stated that he needed counsel from all the stakeholders in the region to have wisdom and knowledge to steer the Mt Kenya region.

“I have reached out to the stakeholders including the Kikuyu council of elders, the church and the political class so that we can have unity of purpose and maintain relevance in the national political discourse,” added Gachagua noting that there were individuals who enjoyed the disunity of the region.

He also expressed willingness to participate in Limuru III conference which is being prepared by Jubilee party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, Uhuru's ally, and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua reiterating that he was open to support any unity mission over Mt Kenya region.

Gachagua’s about turn and change of tune regarding the Kenyatta family is a departure from what he was during the campaign period and in the early months of the Kenya Kwanza administration. Gachagua would use every space, airtime, room an opportunity to castigate Uhuru and his mother as the beacon of ills against Kenya

Gachagua's boss President William Ruto and their allies engaged in a smear campaign against the Kenyatta’s during the 2022 campaigns and even after.

The Kenyatta family’s name hang precariously on the lips of the Kenya Kwanza government and its politicos. The family was accused of being the cause of Mt Kenya region’s economic woes. They claimed that the family was the cause of the poverty that 'hustlers' faced. 

In a move targeting the Kenyatta family, on February 1 2023, Kenya Kwanza Senators led by John Methu (Nyandarua) urged the National Assembly to investigate tax waivers enjoyed by the Kenyatta family during Uhuru's tenure.

The senators also wanted an audit of Uhuru's wealth to establish whether the Kenyatta family duly paid its land rates.

The move prompted Mama Ngina Kenyatta to come out gun blazing saying she is ready to have her property auctioned upon proof of tax evasion by the State.

"It is a fact that every employed Kenyan should pay income tax, irrespective of their job group. That is not up for discussion. There is no need to malign someone, to seem as though you are doing something," the former First Lady said. She added "The government has policies in place. If I'm found to have breached the law...even for a year, I will pay the said taxes."

DP Gachagua has engaged several elders to reach out to Uhuru, including former Starehe MP Maina Kamanda among other elders and prelates as he works on a unity bid. [Bonface Okendo, Standard]

On March 27, 2023, Kenyatta’s Northlands Estate in Kiambu was raided by goons, in what was believed to be State-sponsored. A huge part of the farm was burnt, trees felled, illegal subdivision done and sheep stolen some slaughtered and meet sold around the Kamakis nyamachoma area along Eastern bypass.

In July 2023, the Kenya Kwanza administration came under sharp focus when the former president called the media early night and complained about a supposed raid at his son's house over claims of possessing arms without license. That was seen by pundits as a move that took war to Uhuru’s doorstep. Uhuru dared the President Ruto administration to arrest him vowing to do all that he could to protect his family.

“The fact that I’m silent doesn't mean I’m scared. Come for me. What does my mother have to do with anything? What do my children have to do with anything? You know where I am, come for me", Uhuru said at the dramatic event.

In the run-up to the 2022 general election, Ruto and his team fashioned their politics around presenting Uhuru as the source of Mt Kenya's problems and poverty claiming his family used state resources to enrich themselves thereby taking advantage of the poor in the Mt Kenya region.

With his generous contributions and an arsenal of his lieutenants who hopped from one church to the other, Ruto and Gachagua traversed the region running a propaganda war machine selling the hustler versus dynasty narrative and presenting themselves as the savior of the down-trodden.

In the Uhuru phobia campaign, the Kenyatta family was accused of raising the cost of living at the behest of his family, which was accused of benefitting from the oil subsidy program.

The Standard has learned that Gachagua has engaged several elders to reach out to Uhuru, including former Starehe MP Maina Kamanda among other elders and prelates as he works on a unity bid.

Last week, Gachagua revealed his willingness to work with Kamanda even as he revealed plans for multiple meetings with other senior political leaders in the region.

"I am extending my hand to the esteemed elders of Mount Kenya, including Kamanda, among others.’ I will continue working with the elders and experienced political leaders, religious leaders, and all other leaders across the political divide," Gachagua said.

But with Gachagua’s new strategy, pundits believe ‘only a fool does not change his mind, and that his decision to look for Uhuru depicts him as a politician who has come of age.

“Gachagua’a apology is a very deep political message to the Kenyatta’s, it is rare for politicians to apologize and this shows his honesty and willingness to unite the region. Ordinarily being the Deputy President he may not need the Kenyatta family but his statement means he is after unity and he means business,” Charles Njoroge a political analyst said.

Njoroge added that Gachagua’s handshake mission could have been triggered by the Raila-Ruto soft handshake ‘in the spirit of following in the footsteps of his boss to unify the country’.

“If the President saw it fit to mend fences with his main challenger in 2022 then, it would then make sense for Gachagua to look for his former boss to mend fences, and it must also be noted that Raila -Ruto alliance could harm Mt Kenya. That is why Gachagua now believes that with Uhuru on one side, the region can remain unbowed,” Njoroge added.