Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, who identifies himself as a “child of Mau Mau,” is just one election away from becoming the country’s Deputy President.
After a day of rigorous horsetrading, rage, and name calling as UDA allied MPs haggled over the best choice between him and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, he was chosen on Sunday to be Deputy President William Ruto‘s running partner in the August 9 presidential election.
Despite being a fervent supporter of President Uhuru Kenyatta, for whom he also worked as a personal assistant, Gachagua was one of the MPs that abandoned the President and opted to follow the DP to UDA in the wake of the country’s two most powerful men’s falling out.
As a result, the first-term MP has remained by the Deputy President during his sufferings following their disagreement with President Kenyatta, frequently coming out with pistols drawn to disrespect the President.
The MP, who is facing corruption accusations in court, blames President Kenyatta for his troubles, claiming that they are intended to intimidate him into abandoning his political ideals. As a result of the corruption charges, his financial accounts have been frozen.
It is pertinent to mention that Ruto praised Gachagua’s humble beginnings as a factor in his selection, a sentiment echoed by the running mate hopeful in his address.
It may have seemed like a typical political speech, but given the Gachaguas’ political clout, the role of family in his political ascension cannot be overlooked.
He stood out because of his ability to understand Kikuyu culture and politics, as well as the painstaking manner in which he organised a dignified send-off for his deceased brother, where he acted as MC at the county boss’ funeral.
Fast forward to 1978, when Rigathi completed his Certificate of Primary Education. Martha Kirigo, his mother, was a powerful KANU mobiliser who had previously risked her life to support the Mau Mau fight.
Rigathi Gachagua is a Kenyan politician representing the people of Mathira in parliament. His family has a history of political leaders, as he followed the lead of his late brother Nderitu Gachagua, who served as governor of Nyeri.
Despite his family’s assumption that his grades justified him admission to a better institution, the Mathira MP recalls being admitted to a rural day school.
But Rigathi was not the first to benefit from Martha’s political ties; James Nderitu Gachagua had graduated from the University of Nairobi with a bachelor’s degree in Building Economics in 1976.
He started working for the government as a quantity surveyor in 1977 and rose through the ranks to Provincial Quantity Surveyor for the Ministry of Public Works in four years, thanks in part to the influence of his mother and family friend Davidson Ngibuini Kuguru.
The older Gachagua went on to work for the National Housing Corporation (NHC) as the company’s chief quantity surveyor before leaving to start his own firm, Jaga consultants.
Rigathi, a formidable mobiliser and de-facto ruler of the Mt. Kenya area, which was previously ruled by outgoing President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, was born in Ruguru village in 1952. Instead of practicing his trade, he decided to pursue politics.
He has aided the people of Mathira Constituency in resolving some of the area’s most pressing concerns and launching developmental projects in the areas of water, infrastructure, and education. His performance in parliament has also been notable, as he works to ensure that the concerns of the people are heard.
If elected, the Mathira MP promised to keep Mt Kenya inhabitants safe. He said that the Kenya Kwanza Alliance had drafted a service delivery plan similar to that of previous President Mwai Kibaki.
He was disappointed, though, that his mother Martha Kirigo, who died two years ago, was not around to enjoy his triumph. If Dr. Ruto’s inner circle tries to shortchange Mt Kenya citizens, he has sworn not to remain mute.
He also stated that the first lady’s office, which is expected to be filled by Rachel Ruto, as well as the Deputy President’s wife’s office, will ensure that “Kenya will be a prayerful nation.”
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