Ichung'wah and CS Duale Take Jabs at DP Gachagua, Accuse Him of Driving 'Ethnic' Politics

A collage of President William Ruto with DP Rigathi Gachagua and Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa.

The rifts within President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) are deepening as the fierce exchange between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa intensified on Friday.

The internal strife threatens to destabilise the party, just like those that led to the split within the Jubilee Party ahead of the 2022 polls.

Days after reports surfaced suggesting that some UDA members loyal to President Ruto were plotting to impeach Gachagua, the faction supporting the Deputy President has now demanded Ichung’wa's ouster from his position as Majority Leader in the National Assembly.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherarkey, a prominent Gachagua ally, called for Ichung’wa’s resignation, accusing him of disrespecting the party’s second-in-command.

“Kimani Ichung’wa no longer has the locus standi to be the majority leader. He has become a divisive figure in the National Assembly, in Parliament, and in Kenya. I urge members of the National Assembly to take the necessary steps to relieve him of his seat,” Cherarkey declared.

Following a tumultuous session in the National Assembly where several lawmakers criticised him, Gachagua has publicly explained his recent political stance.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wah (left) and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (right) at Alliance High School on Sunday July 30,2023
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wah (left) and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (right) at Alliance High School on Sunday July 30,2023

In a spirited defence, the Deputy President lashed out at his critics, asserting that he is merely voicing the concerns of ordinary Kenyans.

Gachagua has emphasised that his recent shift on various political issues is driven by the public’s concerns.

Contrary to claims that he is positioning himself for a higher office, Gachagua insists that his current political stance is solely to amplify the suppressed voices of the people.

“I have no voice in this Kenya. I only listen to the people. If you hear me say something, know that is what the people want. I speak on behalf of the people,” Gachagua asserted.

He also cautioned elected leaders against disregarding their constituents and ordinary citizens.

Meanwhile, in Kiambu, leaders allied with President Ruto have accused Gachagua of sabotaging the Kenya Kwanza government. They accuse the Deputy President and his supporters of engaging in regional and tribal politics, undermining the President's administration from within.

Defence Cabinet Secretary and National Assembly Majority Leader led the charge, accusing Gachagua of trying to destabilise the President's leadership. They opposed Gachagua’s push for the contentious ‘one man, one vote, one shilling’ revenue-sharing formula.

“Stop telling people at night that William Ruto is a one-term president and you will marshal your community to undermine and sabotage the government of President William Ruto so that he fails and you become president,” Ichung’wa stated.

Ichung’wa warned Gachagua against sabotaging the government for personal gain. “Work in the position you have been given today to deliver to the people of Kenya and when your time comes, they will see leadership in you. But if you seek to sabotage the government of Kenya for your own selfish ends, my brother, you will go absolutely nowhere,” he cautioned.

In a thinly veiled attack, Gachagua accused leaders of enriching themselves and then disregarding the welfare of Kenyans once their goals were/are met.

These developments follow weeks of back-and-forth between Gachagua and President Ruto, with the President and his allies accusing the Deputy President of fostering disunity through tribal politics. 

Gachagua has been a vocal advocate for Mt Kenya unity and has been pushing for the implementation of the controversial ‘one man, one vote, one shilling’ revenue-sharing formula.

This has seen him pick up opposition from Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, and Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga among others in the region. However, Gachagua has support from others, like Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi.

President William Ruto (right) and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at the Akurinu Conference in Nakuru.
President William Ruto (right) and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua at the Akurinu Conference in Nakuru.