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The Politics of Apology: Why DP Gachagua is Mending Fences with Uhuru Kenyatta and Mama Ngina

The Politics of Apology: Why DP Gachagua is Mending Fences with Uhuru Kenyatta and Mama Ngina

In politics, alliances are fluid, dictated by changing interests. This constant shift surprises many with its unpredictable nature.

The late former president Daniel Moi was the first high-ranking politician to apologize publicly for the harm he caused while in power. During the Jamhuri Day celebration in 2002, he asked for forgiveness for his actions and forgave those who had wronged him.

In 2015, President Uhuru Kenyatta apologized to Kenyans for past government atrocities, including massacres, post-election violence, and torture during Moi’s era. He later apologized for police excesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Leading up to the elections, tensions were high between rival camps, with William Ruto emerging victorious.

When President Ruto eventually engaged with COTU leader Francis Atwoli, public apologies were likely made for practical reasons. The vitriol leading up to the 2022 General Election was intense.

July 2022, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua revealed in a media interview that he had been mistreated for supporting Ruto, leading to bitterness. In his inaugural speech, Gachagua harshly criticized outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta for the deteriorating economy and declared a new era of freedom for Ruto’s supporters.

In February 2023, Gachagua continued his attacks on Uhuru, accusing him of disrupting their administration with street protests led by opposition leader Raila Odinga. Gachagua blamed Uhuru for Kenya’s problems and warned him against interfering with current governance.

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By July 2023, tensions remained high as the government withdrew security from former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s homes without prior notice, viewed as a fallout from the political feud. In the same month, police raided Uhuru’s son Jomo’s home, leading to a standoff and a legal case, which was settled out of court.

Gachagua surprised many by publicly apologizing to Mama Ngina Kenyatta for involving her in political disputes. He has since sought to reconcile with Uhuru, now referring to him as “our king,” admitting past mistakes and urging respect for the former president within the Mt. Kenya region.

Since March 2024, Gachagua has made a bold political move, seeking to strengthen his position in Mt. Kenya by apologizing for past insults towards Mama Ngina and requesting forgiveness. He acknowledged the invasion of the Kenyatta family’s farm and the defamation against them was wrong, calling for forgiveness.

Gachagua’s apologies aim to mend relations with the influential Kenyatta family, recognizing their importance in Mt. Kenya. Meanwhile, internal conflicts in Kenya Kwanza suggest that gaining regional support is crucial for his political strategy.

A genuine apology can heal wounds and demonstrate maturity by addressing past wrongs. However, in Kenyan politics, apologies can also be strategic, as seen with the late former president Moi. His apologies were criticized for lacking justice for those affected by his regime’s atrocities.

How DP Gachagua leverages his apologies to strengthen ties with his region and navigate political dynamics will determine whether this approach is a strategic success or a precautionary measure for future challenges.

The Politics of Apology: Why DP Gachagua is Mending Fences with Uhuru Kenyatta and Mama Ngina

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