Dorcas Rigathi: Of miracles and grace

“Behind every great man, there is a great woman.” A popular quote coined during the 1960s and 1970s in the United States after femininity emerged as a movement in literature and social sciences, a term we use quite often in the 21st century.

It was first used by a newspaper, The Port Arthur News, in its publication of February 1946 in a report on sports, “They say behind every great man there’s a woman. While I’m not a great man, there’s a great woman behind me.”

The political rise of 57-year-old Rigathi Gachagua from Mathira member of parliament to the deputy president-elect is one to envy. The aggressive, stern, unapologetic deputy president-elect is married to one Dorcas Wanjiku Rigathi. Hers is a story of grass to grace.

Dorcas Wanjiku was born in Ndonyo Chege in Murang’a county losing her father at the tender age of 11 years. Along with her mother and 7 siblings, they moved in with their grandmother in Thika. Soon after, her mom went missing, unbeknown to them admitted to Kiambu hospital for 6 months.

Family wrangles saw them live in a chicken pen in her grandmother’s compound. In her words, “Our uncle did not want us to stay with our grandmother.” Being among the older siblings, Dorcas was employed as a maid, working for her uncles, just to feed her siblings. It’s while sleeping in the cold that her sister died from pneumonia.

Though things have never been a walk in the park for her, things began to look up after her admission to Kenyatta University in 1985. It’s during her campus years that she met Rigathi Gachagua, recounting fondly;

“He was a student leader at the University of Nairobi. Moi used to meet student leaders, and on one of those meetings, my girlfriends nudged me to attend. When I went, I met this fine gentleman in a suit ticking the names of those in attendance. He has always worn suits.”

Unknown to Rigathi, she had attended the meet-up in an attempt to seek an audience with the late president Moi. “I ran towards him [Moi] and actually hit him. My husband thought, this lady was very courageous. He went ahead to encourage me, and by the time we were done talking, I was able to see life from a different perspective.”

The two united in marriage in 1989 and are currently blessed with two sons, Kleith and Kevin.

After witnessing what her mother went through after the death of her father, Dorcas dedicated her service to the widow’s ministry at the House of Grace church. She served as an usher from 2002.

“Mom always told us, that when God is your Father things can change and miracles can happen. I had told God ‘If you bless me, I will serve you.”

Things did change for the better for her as Dorcas is now set to succeed Rachel Ruto to become Kenya’s Second Lady.

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