2023 memorable moments of DP Rigathi Gachagua

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 23 Dec, 2023 20:00 | 7 mins read
2023 memorable moments of DP Rigathi Gachagua
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at a past event. PHOTO/Rigathi Gachagua(@Rigathi)/X

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua comes off as a straight talker. He is not one to shy away from controversy, and as the country's second-in-command, he stands among the few bold politicians who openly shoot from the hip.

Over the last 12 months, DP Gachagua has ruffled feathers in and outside government with his unapologetic declarations.

We take a look at some of the deputy president's memorable moments of 2023.

1. Shareholding remarks

In February this year, Gachagua stirred a storm after likening the Kenya Kwanza government to a company, where some Kenyans have more shares than others.

Speaking in Kericho, the former Mathira member of parliament said the national government is like a limited company, where those who elected President William Ruto are the biggest shareholders and must benefit first.

“This government is a company that has shares. There are owners who have the majority of shares, and those with just a few, while others do not have any. You invested in this government and you must reap. You sowed, tilled, put manure and irrigated, and now it is time to reap,” he remarked.

“Elections have significance. You cannot make noise talking ill of Ruto and after he wins you get in line to get benefits before those who were with him."

Gachagua noted that he had appointed himself as the guardian of the State House to ensure members of the opposition get the least consideration in, among others, state appointments.

“That is my work at State House; controlling that queue and deciding who is ahead of whom,” he added.

The comments elicited criticism from members of the opposition led by Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga, who termed the remarks as reckless and divisive.

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Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga during a past function. PHOTO/Raila Odinga(@RailaOdinga)/X

However, the dress-down didn't stop the DP from making similar sentiments at various functions in the subsequent months.

In October, President Ruto distanced himself from Gachagua's remarks, terming them as divisive and primitive.

The President, who spoke during his development tour in Raila's Nyanza backyard, said all Kenyans deserve equal treatment regardless of whom they supported in the 2022 General Election.

"It is primitive and backward for anybody to imagine that any region of Kenya cannot get development on accounts of how they voted,” Ruto stated.

2. Gachagua clashes with Raila over Mau Mau heroes

DP Gachagua and Raila made headlines in August after trading barbs over bipartisan talks and the welfare of Mau Mau heroes during the burial ceremony of freedom fighter John Kagwe, popularly known as Brigadier Kiboko.

The two leaders were among hundreds of mourners who attended the burial of Brigadier Kiboko at his Ngorika home in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County, on August 26.

In his address, Raila accused the government of neglecting Kenya's freedom fighters despite their heroic acts.

"Mau Mau freedom fighters have been completely forgotten. Freedom fighters—like in some countries abroad, in Europe and other places—should earn allowances until they die, because these people selflessly fought for the freedom of this country," Raila said.

"The government should not wait until our freedom fighters die to foot their burial bills. Their plight should be addressed when they are still alive," he added.

Raila also claimed that the government had turned a deaf ear to Brigadier Kiboko's offer to help the state trace Field Marshal Dedan Kimanthi's unmarked grave, for purposes of giving him a befitting burial.

"During the recent burial of Mukami Kimathi, the widow of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi, Brigadier Kiboko had offered to show the government where Field Marshal Dedan Kimanthi was buried. The government should have moved swiftly and made sure his wish was honoured. Instead, they remained unmoved and now he is dead. This is unfortunate," he noted.

"The government should now move swiftly and trace where Dedan Kimathi was buried so that the body can be exhumed and given a decent burial next to his wife, Mukami. I am ready to also help in the process."

But Gachagua denied Raila's claims, insisting that plans were underway to address the freedom fighter's plight.

"We have a solid plan on how to address the plight of freedom fighters, including to ensure their land in the hands of grabbers is returned. We had already planned to embark on the bid to trace the remains of the late Dedan Kimathi, but, unfortunately, Mr Kiboko became sick. The commitment to tracing the remains of Kimathi and giving him a decent burial is still there and in a month's time, we will start the process. I invite my friend, the former prime minister, to join us," Gachagua said.

During the event, Raila also slammed Gachagua over his hard stance on the bipartisan talks initiated by President Ruto to address the Kenya Kwanza administration's stalemate with the opposition.

The former prime minister vehemently denied Gachagua's claims that he was seeking to join the government through the backdoor.

"I am not eying the deputy president position or prime minister. I already became prime minister, so what is this hullabaloo about?" Raila posed. "Mr Gachagua, there is no problem with people talking. Hata kama hutaki kusikiza mambo yangu, ruhusu mazungumzo (Even if you don't want to hear anything about me, allow the talks to take place. Mr Gachagua and President William Ruto and I should now keep off the talks," he added.

3. Gachagua tells off Kuria

On September 14, Gachagua lashed out at the then Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria and Kenya Kwanza Economic Advisor David Ndii over their public utterances regarding a public uproar over a hike in fuel prices.

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Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria. PHOTO/ @HonMoses_Kuria)/ X

The deputy president accused the leaders of arrogance and lack of empathy in addressing concerns from aggrieved Kenyans.

“I would like to remind them that although the people of Kenya did not employ them directly, they decisively elected H.E President William Ruto, who in turn appointed them Cabinet Secretaries and Advisors. And hence by virtue of this -they are employed by Kenyans. You Do Not address your employer with arrogance. Do so with Humility and Decorum,” Gachagua wrote on X (formally Twitter) after jetting back into the country from Colombia.

He insisted that arrogant rhetoric by a section of Kenya Kwanza leaders did not reflect the government’s position, further explaining that the issue of fuel prices is a worldwide challenge.

“Things will get better as we move along. The Government remains aware of and is sensitive to the challenges Kenyans are facing today; the arrogant statements by a few leaders do not, in any way, reflect the official Government position or that of President William Ruto,” Gachagua stated.

Kuria had told Kenyans complaining of increased fuel prices to drill their own wells.

He also called out Kenyans calling for anti-government protests cautioning that the move would not help lower the cost of living.

"Na watu siku hizi wanaongea kuhusu kuteremsha bei ya gharama ya maisha, bei ya gharama ya maisha haiwezi kuteremshwa kwa maandamano. Sasa naona wengine wanashinda kwa Twitter kutoka asubuhi mpaka jioni gharama ya maisha, si hio ni upumbavu?

"Kushinda kwa Twitter kutoka asubuhi mpaka jioni itakusaidia namna gani? Jameni vijana msiingie katika hio life, sasa ukieka sufuria kwa kichwa kutoka asubuhi mpaka jioni ati bei ya mafuta imeongezeka si uchimbe kisima yako. Dunia mzima tunajua bei ya crude oil imeenda juu," he stated.

4. Gachagua on kingpin chatter

Gachagua on November 5 said he was not interested in being recognised as the kingpin of Mount Kenya amid reports of supremacy battles in the vote-rich region.

Speaking during a church service in Kiambu County, the country's second in command maintained that he was focused on helping President Ruto serve the people and as such had no time to engage in what he termed senseless regional politics.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at a past event. PHOTO/(@RigathiGachagua)X

He made the remarks after CS Kuria sparked a debate on the kingpin role after sending out a cryptic post on X after King Charles III concluded his four-day tour in the country.

Sasa venye King amerudi kwao, fake Kingpins you can take over,” CS Kuria wrote.

However, Gachagua was quick to dismiss the kingpin chatter terming it as nonsense.

"People want to be trivial. They want to look for issues where there are none. I'm deputy president of the Republic of Kenya, I assist the president in running the country. I've no time or desire to aspire for any other office because the president has given me a lot of work. My day starts at 5:00 am and ends at midnight...I have no time for that kingpin nonsense, I'm too busy," he added.

Gachagua insisted that his recent bid to consolidate the Mount Kenya region by extending an olive branch to supporters of the Azimio coalition had been misunderstood.

“When I called for the unity of this region. I did not call for the unity of this region behind me, I called for the unity of this region behind President William Ruto for the simple reason that we were divided to a certain extent... When we are strong behind him we have better leverage in his administration.” 

5. Gachagua tells off Malema

On November 11, Gachagua told off South African opposition leader Julius Malema for lecturing President Ruto over his dalliance with the West and failure to honour his campaign promises.

“I don’t know if President William Ruto means it because he said so many things and I cannot locate him these days because the things he said during elections and the things he is doing now are two different things,” the fiery politician said during the launch of the Pan African Institute at Lukenya University in Kenya.

Malema's remarks irked Gachagua, who accused the politician of disrespecting the Kenyan Head of State.

Speaking during a church service at St. Thomas Girls Secondary School in Kilifi, the DP urged Malema to cease interfering with local politics.

"Huyu amekuja ni mjuaji. Amefika asubuhi, saa nane mambo ya Kenya anajua ata kutuliko. Tungetaka kuambia wageni, wakitembea waheshimu viongozi wa ile nchi wametembea," he said.

Loosely translated as; "This one who came is all-knowing. He arrived in the morning and by 2 pm he already knows Kenya's affairs even more than we do. We want to tell our visitors to respect the country's leadership."

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