Nairobi — Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has on Saturday intensified campaigns to reach to win leaders allied to the former ruling party, Jubilee, to his side a day after he announced he would get “13 per cent of voters” who backed President William Ruto’s competitor to his boss’ side.
The DP who was pitching tent for the second day in his native area — Nyeri County — called on Mt Kenya Leaders to join hands and work together with Ruto’s government regardless of their political affiliations.
DP Gachagua said the 2022 General Election was a matter of the past and called on those who supported the Azimio coalition and its leader Raila Odinga to join President William Ruto’s government.
He especially appealed to influential league of Mt Kenya Foundation (MKF) which funded Odinga’s campaign to switch loyalty.
Terming MKF’s billionaire members “the old good men”, Gachagua welcomed the likes of media mogul SK Macharia to work with the government.
“We are going to unite the mountain behind President William Ruto. I want to start by extending a hand to the political class to come and join President William Ruto.”
“The Mt Kenya Foundation: those old good men from this region who met in hotels planning to stop William Ruto from being the President and were not able and now reaching out, I am telling them to come and join President William Ruto is developing this country,” Gachagua said.
He vowed to extinguish Azimio’s “little influence” in the region.
Gachagua who spoke during a graduation ceremony at Outspan Medical College in Nyeri, has intensified engagements in Mt Kenya in an apparent attempt to position himself as the region’s kingpin following the exit of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenyatta made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the region to back Odinga, degrading his place as an influential political voice in the region
On Saturday, Gachagua denied reports of defiance within the ruling party after revelations that lawmakers from the Mt Kenya region ganged up to defy President Ruto.
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga sparked the debate on Friday after he claimed United Democratic Alliance (UDA) lawmakers from the region mobilized to elect “their own” despite a Parliamentary Group chaired by Ruto endorsing five candidates following an internal vote.
Kahiga claimed UDA lawmakers from the region were unhappy with the outcome of the Parliamentary Group meeting and crafted a plan that saw Azimio’s Kanini Kega elected alongside Godfrey Karobia (UDA) effectively locking out Fred Muteti who was among the endorsed candidates.
Responding to the reports on Saturday, Gachagua said differences among lawmakers were part of internal democracy being practiced in the ruling party with the blessings of its leader — Ruto.
“I want to tell members of the press that what they saw was internal democracy that our President William Ruto has allowed so the issue of defying him or cracks does not arise,” Gachagua affirmed.
A section of Mt Kenya leaders who supported Azimio led by Jubilee Secretary Jeremiah Kioni have been warming up to Gachagua.
Kioni has even stated that they will have no choice but to work with the government of the day singling Gachagua as their link to government being the most senior leader in the region.
“If he does more of reaching out and more of bring people together than scattering, if the blame game is removed from the table and you appreciate that now he is there as the second in command to bring people together; he will be able to call us to thinking together,” Kioni stated.
“It is the only the Deputy President who has a stature, an office that can be able to marshal people together,” the Secretary General of Jubilee Party indicated.
He went on to state: “As to whether other individuals who have desired to give the community such kind of leadership is a different ball game but if he takes that leadership ahead of others, you will be left doing catch up. But it doesn’t mean that if he calls or convenes meeting, he is the ultimate leader but you cannot wish him away.”