Inside Politics

DP Gachagua opens new battlefronts as tables turn on him

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024 08:30 | By
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his PS Raymond Omollo at JKIA where they had gone to see off President William Ruto. PHOTO/PRINT

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is becoming increasingly isolated following his heightened political battles with key allies of President William Ruto.

Gachagua has in the recent past taken on several top government officials perceived to be close to President Ruto, who he accuses of undermining him.

In the latest attack, the DP at the weekend trained his guns on the Interior and National Coordination Ministry, headed by Prof Kithure Kindiki and Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo.

Speaking on Sunday at the PEFA Church Kiamariga, Nyeri county, the Deputy President said some Government officers were interfering with the crackdown and allowing for reopening of illegal bars.

Substance abuse

“I sat with President William Ruto (On the issue of illicit brews, drugs and substance abuse) and we agreed there was a problem. He told me to lead the war against illicit brews and drug abuse; among the regions widely affected was Mount Kenya. We were losing an entire generation. The matter went to the Cabinet and was endorsed. We formed a multi-agency team and made substantial progress and illegal bars were closed. People were happy and supported the exercise,” said Gachagua.

“Some bars have been reopened. No decision has been made by the Cabinet stopping war against illicit or allowing the illegal liquor joints to reopen. Anybody stopping or undermining the fight is setting the President and the Government against the people of Kenya,” a veiled reference to the Interior ministry.

He said “one of the most successful Government interventions that made Kenyans happy, especially in Mount Kenya region, was the war against the illicit brews” since the vice had proliferated and ruined lives.

Prior to the Cabinet decision, many people had lost their lives to the illicit and poisonous brews while others were left blind. Families and livelihoods had also been broken.

Gachagua said that there were overzealous government officers sabotaging and politicising the exercise, a move that he said will also create a wedge between the President and the people of Kenya.

“Popularity of this administration will depend on interference or non-interference with the war against illicit brews. Parents were happy with the government because of the war. The Interior (Ministry of Interior and National Administration) officers reopening the bars should know that they are spoiling for the President, and causing a political damage for him,” said Gachagua.

Two weeks ago, the DP hit out at the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director General Noordin Haji, accusing him of failing to advise the president accordingly, leading to the countrywide protests against the Finance Bill 2024.

Controversial bill

The DP, who addressed a press conference in Mombasa moments after President Ruto had declined to assent to the controversial bill demanded that Haji takes sole responsibility for the deaths, injuries and destruction of property during the protests and resigns immediately.

“It is embarrassing for me as the DP that it has taken protests, deaths, mayhem and destruction for the President to know the truth yet there is an organisation charged with that role. President Ruto deserves better, he deserves a DG who knows what he is doing, who is effective and can analyze situations to keep the government insformed,” said Gachagua.

On Sunday, the DP yet again opened another battlefront with Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi for what he termed as undermining his efforts to fight illicit brews in the Mt. Kenya region.

Not one to take matters lying down, the MP hit back at the DP, challenging him to come clean on their differences.

“It is true that there is a rift between the Deputy President and I. The rift is not about the closed bars in Karatina town which have left the town dead for four months. It is about something bigger than that, he should say the truth, and nothing but the truth. I will be telling the truth, and the people of Mathira will pick which side to believe in,” said Wamumbi on his Facebook account.

Besides Wamumbi, the DP also claimed that some “arrogant and proud leaders in government were working overdrive to create a wedge between him and President Ruto.

“Wengine wamekuwa na kiburi, wakifungua mdomo, watu wanakasirika. Si ndio, na hawa watu ndio wanaharibia raisi, wanaharibia serikali, wako na kiburi sana. Wamekula, wameshiba, halafu wanatapikia watu. Si muwapati kidogo halafu wakule, ndio muwatapikie? And this is the problem we are having! Wewe umekula umeshiba, unaongea vile unataka, na kuongelesha watu vile unataka, na maringo na kiburi ambayo haina haja (These are the people who are spoiling for the President and his government, these people have eaten and now they are full, they are vomitting on Kenyans. This is the problem we have, someone has eaten and now has developed pride and arrogance which is of no use),” the DP stated on Sunday.

The DP was understood to be targeting Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’wa and Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, who have openly criticised his conduct in recent days.

According to Prof Macharia Munene, a history lecturer at the United States International University (USIU)-Africa and a political analyst, the DP is playing politics of survival and trying to find relevance.

“For him to be quarrelling with everyone in government and continuously creating enemies on every front, it shows there is something wrong with him. Interestingly, some of the people he is busy fighting now are the same people that assisted him to be where he is at the moment,” says Prof Macharia.

Prof Macharia says Gachagua is also trying to project himself as a man under siege from President Ruto’s allies due to his connection with the common “mwananchi” in a bid to gain some political mileage in Mt Kenya and the country at large.

“The problem is that those who are friends of the President want to be my bosses. Is that possible? Even those who are helping the President as personal assistants or bloggers now want to control me. How can they do that? They can’t be my bosses,” charged Gachagua.

However, the DP’s allies have alleged a plot within the Kenya Kwanza administration to undermine him and his authority.

 “We in Mount Kenya region woke up very early in the morning to elect this government. We elected both William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua and suffered a lot in the process. You all know the atrocities committed against Ruto when he was the deputy and we shall not allow this to happen to our son,” warned Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga.

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