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HomePOLITICSMt Kenya kingpin? DP Rigathi Gachagua, Ndindi Nyoro supremacy battle intensifies

Mt Kenya kingpin? DP Rigathi Gachagua, Ndindi Nyoro supremacy battle intensifies

Mt Kenya kingpin? DP Rigathi Gachagua, Ndindi Nyoro supremacy battle intensifies

The struggle for political dominance in the Mt Kenya region is intensifying, marked by the emergence of two prominent factions. One is spearheaded by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, while the other is led by Ndindi Nyoro, the Member of Parliament for Kiharu.

For the past few months, the two politicians have been engaging in a subtle power struggle to influence the political direction of the region, using their respective allies as intermediaries.

However, on Thursday, tensions escalated in their conflict when Mr. Nyoro gathered a group of 18 leaders from the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). They then publicly supported him as the candidate to succeed President William Ruto in 2032.

The support from UDA MPs primarily hailing from the Mt Kenya region strongly suggests that the incumbent second-term MP is prepared to directly confront Mr. Gachagua in his bid to become the key figure in the region and position himself as a potential presidential candidate once President Ruto steps down.

During his visit to Mumbi grounds to initiate an educational subsidy initiative, which aims to have 62 students in day secondary schools pay Sh1,000 per term for tuition and an equivalent amount for supplementary expenses, Mr. Nyoro received support for the 2032 presidential elections.

Some of the key figures present at the gathering where Mr. Nyoro was recognized as having a promising future in surpassing Dr. Ruto included Senator Joe Nyutu of Murang’a, along with Members of Parliament Betty Maina (Murang’a), John Kaguchia (Mukurweni), Josses Lelmengit (Emgwen), Jematiah Sergon (Baringo), Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South), Didmas Barasa (Kimilili), Shurie Omar (Balambala), Fred Ikana (Shinyalu), Elijah Kururi (Gatundu North), Paul Biego (Chesumei), and Ann Wamuratha (Kiambu).

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Others were MPs Patrick Munene (Igambang’ombe), Edwin Mugo (Mathioya), Eric Muchang (Runyenjes), Njoki Njeru (Embu), Dorice Donya (Kisii) and former nominated MP Wilson Sossion.

The conflict between the two factions has highlighted a potential uprising against Mr. Gachagua. Simultaneously, he is grappling with internal turmoil sparked by former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga, who has made a sensational claim to regional leadership.

Mr. Gachagua thinks that being the country’s second-in-command should naturally position him to take over as the prominent figure in the region after President Ruto.

However, certain political figures argue that holding the position of Deputy Prime Minister may not secure approval from the region.

Senator Nyutu says “Positions do not win one direct endorsement since there are other considerations to winning unanimous acceptability”.

“Someone who knows how to measure his/her spoken word and deliberately gets out of the way to build bridges. That person to me is Nyoro. Mt Kenya cannot afford to be in the hands of a condescending leader who goes about disparaging other leaders’ names to higher authorities instead of uniting them into a fortress for future strategy,” says Mr Nyutu.

During the Thursday meeting, Mr Kururi told locals to back Mr Nyoro’s ambitions since “the region does not have any other leader.”

Ms. Donya expressed the opinion that Mr. Nyoro possesses significant potential to assume the role of President after Mr. Ruto and called upon the Mt. Kenya region to support him wholeheartedly.

Mathira Member of Parliament Eric Wamumbi, a staunch supporter of Mr. Gachagua, characterized the ongoing developments in the area as typical political discourse.

“We are not experiencing any contest here, it is normal political talk of planning for the future, for now, we have Mr. Gachagua as the kingpin until 2032,” he says.

He notes that beyond President Ruto’s two terms, “we can now look around for a successor among ourselves and Mr. Nyoro being endorsed for 2032 is normal since others including myself can also pitch for the job, but of course, Gachagua being the frontrunner.”

Kikuyu Council of Elders Chairman Wachira Kiago insisted that “all these tussles you are seeing around are by politicians seeking to replace Mr. Kenyatta as the kingpin”.

“For this moment in time, the spokesman of Mt Kenya region is Mr. Kenyatta and there are no immediate plans to replace him”.

But Cultural Board of Kenya chairman Kung’u Muigai disagrees with Mr Kiago.

“You cannot be in your right political senses and you are following Kenyatta. You will follow a retired president to take you where? To his home? Electoral politics are about ambitions. Anyone else yes, but not Kenyatta who will never contest any political seat in his remaining life,” he said.

“There is lots of wisdom in sticking with Mr Gachagua since he is the most senior person in our Mt Kenya politics now. We cannot afford to lose focus and start putting narrow and individualistic interests ahead of the common good,” said Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga.

Mr Kahiga said “The task we have is that of bargaining for our people in this government that we emphatically own. We cannot afford sideshows when we have Mr. Gachagua as the president’s constitutionally recognized principal assistant”.

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza believes that “currently what we have is our government with a president that we voted for so willingly’.

“Ruto has so far steered Mt Kenya politics seamlessly by having faith in its political structures, he respects his deputy, works well with the rest of us, has trusted those from this region in his Cabinet and infighting is our own defeatist creations,” she said.

“We are fighting too many battlefronts. Our president is being fought and sabotaged and our supporters are getting impatient. Our duty is to help the President remain focused, spread optimism in the country, and respect each other’s space,” said Naivasha MP Jane Kihara said.

She said there is no leadership vacuum in the Mt Kenya region and the country at large.

But former Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri has a different view.

“The problem is of some of us who want to thrive on false narratives that they singlehandedly helped the president win the Mt Kenya vote, hence using it as leverage to be worshipped by others.”

Mr Ngunjiri demanded that Mr Gachagua cease creating a situation of exchanging differing words in public.

Mr. Ngunjiri revealed how his tears, those of Mr. Nyoro and Pastor Dorcas Rigathi moved Ruto to pick Gachagua as his running mate. “I chaired the Karen meeting where we made a plea to Dr Ruto to appoint him as the running mate. We cried tears pleading for his case to Dr Ruto who was under immense pressure to pick Kithure Kindiki as the running mate,” Mr Ngunjiri said.

He added: “But once he got into power, he started sidelining those who pleaded for his case to Ruto”.

“Gachagua did not necessarily mobilize Mt Kenya voters to vote for Dr Ruto. Dr Ruto had befriended the region, became proximate, and became a reliable figure to help the region ‘avenge’ politics of deceit and capture that then President Kenyatta was perceived to be executing”.

“These claims that someone made us vote for Ruto are not true,” he said.

Mt Kenya kingpin? DP Rigathi Gachagua, Ndindi Nyoro supremacy battle intensifies

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