Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua has revealed how he was able to edge out Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki for the coveted running mate slot in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
330 phonecalls: How Rigathi edged out Kindiki to become Ruto's running mate [Video]
It was a marathon - Rigathi Gachagua
Speaking in an interview on Sunday night, Rigathi said that the 17-hour meeting at Ruto’s residence in Karen was so rigorous that the DP made at least 330 calls before deciding on his favourite candidate.
Gachagua was responding to questions after it emerged a majority of elected leaders from the Mt Kenya region who were at the meeting preferred Senator Kindiki.
It was reported that out of about 30 politicians, 22 had thrown their weight behind Rigathi’s competitor. Gachagua said that the legislators were only asked to give their opinion, but it ultimately came down to the voice of voters in the Mt Kenya region.
DP Ruto called at least 30 people from each of the 11 counties in the vote-rich region and asked them who was the better candidate among the top two.
“You see what was happening is that other than listening to the Members of Parliament, the deputy president made 30 calls in each of the 11 counties and talked to different people; women, youth and collected their views. It was a marathon exercise because he didn't want to make a mistake,” the Mathira MP said.
According to a section of leaders in the Kenya Kwanza camp, Kindiki was a suitable candidate because his cool, collected and soft-spoken nature would complement Ruto’s strong and abrasive personality.
However, Gachagua defended that his bullish personality would work better for the campaign because, in order to take over the next government, the team would need to rally the vote-rich region and added that he was a mobiliser per excellence.
“This country needs two energetic and hardworking gentlemen who will wake up in the wee hours of the morning and work till late at night. Ruto is not raising small children and neither am I, we have dedicated the rest of our lives working for Kenyans,” he said.
The MP also argued that because the region did not have a strong presidential candidate, Ruto’s running mate needed to be strong enough to represent and protect Mt Kenya voters’ interests.
“Those who want a soft person don’t wish well for us. Suppose we pick a timid person to represent us and then they are scared away, what happens to our people? We need someone who is brave and can remove his claws to represent the people’s interests.
“Suppose our people are marginalised, we need someone who can stand up for them and protect them. Someone who, if a goat is slaughtered won’t wait until he is given a portion…we need someone who will grab a limb and say this belongs to the mountain,” the MP said.
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