Teach the youth never to be used to vilify our king, Uhuru – DP Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said he and Mt Kenya were misled into denigrating their “king” – former President Uhuru Kenyatta – adding that the “mistake should never happen again”.

Last weekend, Mr Gachagua accused “some Rift Valley politicians close to the President” of undermining him and the leadership of Mt Kenya.

“Come rain come sunshine, we will never again vilify our king. We came here and vilified Uhuru Kenyatta. I repented after that. Did I not repent? Did you forgive me? We will never again vilify the king of the Kikuyu community. Let us teach our youth never again to be used by anyone to vilify our king. Let us love each other so that we get our rightful share of the Kenyan cake,” Mr Gachagua told a rally at Kimende, Kiambu County, on his way back from an engagement in Kinangop, Nyandarua County.

Mr Gachagua—who had led a lynch mob against Mr Kenyatta and former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta—has taken a reconciliatory tone with the Kenyatta family, and has sworn to unite with the former Head of State in the interest of the populous Mt Kenya.

Mr Kenyatta had backed opposition leader Raila Odinga in the August 2022 presidential election, and President Ruto, Mr Gachagua and their lieutenants had used this to show that as a betrayal of the community, with a series of insults.

Mt Kenya Haki Coalition

A meeting organised by pro-Kenyatta allies early this month endorsed the former president as the leader of a new Mt Kenya Haki Coalition that will “protect and champion the interests of the people of Mt Kenya.”

In the Nyandarua event, a faction of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) elected leaders demanded disciplinary measures against Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, MP Ndindi Nyoro and other youthful politicians accused of disrespecting Mr Gachagua.

However, the DP yesterday avoided direct involvement in the controversy, instead emphasising the need for unity in the central region and loyalty to Dr Ruto.

“There is a deliberate effort to disunite the Gema community. The community betrayers are still within us, but they can’t win. We know their agenda is to be used by the community enemies to finish us. I see darkness, I see people plotting against the community, (and) I can see young leaders hired to divide us. Let us remain united, let’s ignore the betrayers,” Mr Gachagua said, noting that betrayers within the community have historically been used to undermine unity.

Nyandarua Deputy Governor Mwangi Mathara echoed these sentiments, praising the DP’s efforts to unite Mt Kenya residents and warning against political attacks on him.

Kinangop MP Kwenya Thuku said it was a shame for Mt Kenya leaders to disrespect the DP.

“For unity and political discipline, we must respect the DP and the President. We do not want the creation of another Tangatanga, we don’t want to go that route. We ask the DP to convene a meeting of all Central Kenya leaders to discuss unity. The President’s silence on such attacks will be interpreted to mean that the President supports what [Nairobi Governor Johnson] Sakaja and others are doing. These attacks are against DP Rigathi only but the entire community,” he said.

Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherargei urged those disrespecting the DP to cease, warning that UDA should take disciplinary action against those causing division. “No one will separate the President and his DP,” Mr Cherargei stated.

Disrespect towards him

Kajiado North MP Onesmus Ngogoyo defended Gachagua, stressing that disrespect towards him was unacceptable.

“The DP is a symbol of national unity and must be respected. He was elected the same way the President was elected,” MP Ngogoyo said while his Kajiado South counterpart Samuel Parashina linked disrespect to Gachagua with disrespect to Central Kenya and Maasai communities. He praised the DP’s efforts in fighting alcohol consumption and supported the principle of one man, one vote, one shilling.

Naivasha MP Jane Kihara drew a comparison with Rift Valley’s political culture, where attacking leaders is not tolerated. “We respect and have accepted the DP as our leader. It’s a shame for the Central community to attack their leaders,” Ms Kihara said.

Meanwhile, a political divide has emerged in Rift Valley over the storm kicked up by DP Gachagua’s bare-knuckles attacks on Members of Parliament from the region perceived to be fuelling a falling-out in the UDA.

Youthful MPs are unrelenting in their attack against Mr Gachagua, while some of their senior colleagues and governors have backed the DP. Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok, Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago, Emurrua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno and Kesses MP Julius Ruto have defended the DP, saying he ought to be respected.

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