DP Ruto hints at making Rigathi his running mate
Deputy President William Ruto on Saturday dropped hints that he may pick Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as a possible running mate or hand him a senior role in government when he asked voters to free him for a national role.
In a series of speeches in Nyeri, Dr Ruto acknowledged Mr Gachagua as an asset, asking residents to let him join him in the “journey” ahead.
“Huyu kanda ya wira si mnipatie anisaidie wira kwa pande hiyo ingine. Si mtanipatia kanda ya wira anisaidie kutafuta kura ya Kenya. (Allow your MP who delivers to join me in the next stage. Will you allow him to help me get the votes?”) Dr Ruto posed.
His sentiments were echoed by several politicians who joined the DP in the Nyeri campaign trail a week after ODM leader Raila Odinga toured the region.
“We want you to release Rigathi Gachagua to go hunt for the presidential vote,” Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa said in Kieni, Mathira Constituency.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro hinted at UDA getting closer to a consensus on who would deputise Dr Ruto.
“You made a very respectful decision to vote in Rigathi. Will you stand by him? Will you allow him to go out and assist the DP to get votes?” Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro posed.
This is the first time the DP and his camp are giving a hint on possible picks for the running mate position.
This comes against a backdrop of disquiet and jitters within UDA regarding on who will deputise Dr Ruto in the presidential poll.
Mr Rigathi has emerged as a key asset to the DP despite a fallout with the government and President Kenyatta. He is seen as a great mobiliser and his deep pockets make him a key addition as Dr Ruto’s right hand man.
Yesterday, the DP pledged to continue with President Kenyatta’s legacy projects under the Big Four Agenda should he be elected as the fifth president.
In his economic transformation agenda, the DP said his government will set aside Sh100 billion for boosting SMEs.
“Our first priority will be to deliver what we promised under the Big Four Agenda which stalled due to the BBI politics,” Dr Ruto said.
He said the Sh100 billion will boost agribusiness by focusing on value addition and subsidies in the agricultural production chain.
“The economy is supported by the small enterprises at the bottom, that is why we want to inject money to assist them grow the businesses and in turn create employment to the youth,” he said.
He also promised to support SMES by creating zero interest credit facilities from a pool of Sh50 billion.
“Next time we come back, we do not want to be supporting businesses from our pockets. We want it to be from the government. We know most of you are locked out of credit facilities by the Credit Reference Bureau and that is why we will set aside Sh50 billion for Kenyans to get loans with no interest and no security requirements,” he said.
Before joining active politics in 2017, the embattled Mathira MP was a powerful force in former Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua's corner and that of key political figures in the country, including President Kenyatta.
Key to note, the lawmaker was also an administrator in former President Daniel Moi’s government serving as a District Officer (DO). This would best explain where he got his mobilisation skills.
In the 2002 elections, Mr Gachagua was a key ally and campaigner for President Kenyatta, who was running against former president Mwai Kibaki.
By the time his brother succumbed to cancer in 2017, the two were practically inseparable with Rigathi seemingly taking over the family’s political mantle.
So close were the two brothers that on his deathbed, Nderitu made Rigathi the trustee of his estates and gave five percent of his vast estate.