Kenya Kwanza luminaries are racing against time to tame their presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua, following a series of controversial statements that left members of the alliance jittery.
4 statements that have made Rigathi an easy target for Azimio
When he opens his mouth 500,000 votes disappear - Atwoli takes a swipe at Rigathi
Shortly after he was unveiled to deputize Dr William Ruto, Gachagua hit the ground running to market the Ruto-Gachagua ticket and made a series of controversial statements in the process.
These statements have put the Mathira MP, who is battling allegations of corruption, on the spotlight.
Using Rigathi's foul-ups as ammunition, Azimio La Umoja campaigner Francis Atwoli opined: “Martha Karua is indeed a game-changer unlike her equivalent elsewhere who when he opens his mouth 500,000 votes disappear!”
1. Rice, meat and a party at Sagana State Lodge, like Moi
While addressing the public during the burial of his brother, James Rerani, Gachagua urged Ruto to follow in the footsteps of former President Moi by leaving the doors of the State lodge open to Nyeri residents to visit and throw a big thanksgiving party.
“Let us slaughter 35 bulls and cook copious amounts of rice to go with the beef. Our people don’t want anything else. This is what used to happen during the Moi era,” he urged the deputy president.
His opponents were quick to weigh in on the matter, ridiculing that instead of making meaningful development request, all Gachagua could ask for was rice, meat and a party at a time when his contemporary, SC Karua, is wooing voters with a meaningful agenda.
2. Rigathi's long-time friend Mr Muchangi
At the same burial, a rugged villager interrupted Gachagua’s speech, prompting the lawmaker to give him a Sh1,000 note amid laughter which was a welcome comical relief during the emotional ceremony.
“Anasema nimpange mapema kuna mahali anaenda. Ni rafiki yangu anaitwa Muchangi…tuliagana na yeye 18 years ago that kila tukionanana nampa Sh1,000. Sasa ameniambia amengoja kutoka 10:00 a.m. na kuna mahali anataka kwenda na ameshindwa kungojea
"(He is my friend Muchangi, 18 years ago we agreed that every time we meet I'd give him Sh1,000. He was letting me know that he has been waiting since 10:00 a.m. and because he has somewhere else to go, he had to speak to me before he left),” Rigathi made light of the incident.
Critics noted that the culture of relying on handouts should not be encouraged by leaders and urged the lawmaker to put in place a supportive environment where his rugged friend will be able to provide for himself rather than relying on handouts.
3. Rigathi's view on telecoms giant Safaricom
Soon afterward, the fiery lawmaker was once again on the spot with his comments on one of Kenya’s leading corporates, Safaricom.
“Kenya Kwanza will grow the enterprises of small business people who constitute the majority instead of having giant corporates like Safaricom paying taxes, you can have such a company’s investment and create many smaller companies that will pay taxes.
“Their impact will be 30 times more than from just one big corporate. So we are not chasing big corporates. We are saying that even small and medium investors be taken care of,” Gachagua said in an interview with Inooro FM.
The statement saw some allege that the remarks are a reflection of how the Kenya Kwanza brigade would crack down on investors should they win the August elections.
4. Rigathi dangles KDF recruitment as reward for supporting UDA
The trend continued a day later with a video of the Mathira MP making his stand on independent candidates known and roping in Kenya Defence Forces recruitment
The video shows Gachagua telling his supporters that they should only vote UDA candidates as he will not engage any MP elected as an independent candidate should Kenya Kwanza form the government after the August 9 General Election.
To make the deal even sweeter, the lawmaker added areas that will vote UDA contestants will have an upper hand in the recruitment of officers to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).
“I want to advise you, if you want to benefit from our government, elect UDA contenders. UDA MPs will be coming to my office pick letters so that youths in their constituencies can join the military. If you pick independent candidates, how will they access me? I won’t have any business with them,” Gachagua said.
The controversial statements made by the Kenya Kwanza running mate have now attracted the attention of senior politicians in the outfit who now want his tongue tamed.
“We are deeply concerned by Gachagua’s remarks and if he is not tamed, he will weaken the coalition and cost us votes.
"Since he was nominated, he has been making careless remarks, we have compiled all the remarks and we will be tabling them in our meeting with other principals,” Former PS and Farmers Party Chair Irungu Nyakera confirmed.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: