Before he was Kenya’s Deputy President under William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza regime, Rigathi Gachagua was a Kenyan Member of Parliament for Mathira constituency.
Who is Rigathi Gachagua? His education
Born in 1965, in Ruguru village of Mathira Constituency, Nyeri County, Rigathi Gachagua attended the Kabiruini Primary School from 1971 to 1977 before going to Kianyaga High School for his O-levels and A-levels. In 1985, he studied at the University of Nairobi graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Literature in 1988.
Who is Rigathi Gachagua? His record in public service
Between 1999 and 2000, Gachagua joined Kenya School of Government where he graduated with a Diploma in Advanced Public Administration. He then served as a District Officer in Kakamega, Ng’arua and Laikipia Districts.
Between 2001 and 2006, Gachagua worked as the Personal Assistant to Uhuru Kenyatta then the Minister for Local Government. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency in 2017 standing for the Jubilee Party.
Gachagua has been a public servant for the better part of his life, having started as an assistant secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage in 1989, before being promoted to become a District Officer.
Who is Rigathi Gachagua? His money laundering allegations
Gachagua has been a subject of interest for investigative agencies over allegations that companies with which he is associated received tenders worth Ksh 12 billion between 2013 and 2017. He has maintained his innocence on the matter of these allegations but, when he was running mate to Ruto in the build up to the 2022 elections, the High Court ruled that he would have to return Ksh 202 million because of the fact that these proceeds were deemed to have arrived through corruption.
What kind of a Deputy President has Rigathi Gachagua made?
Nicknamed Riggy-G in the early days of the Ruto-Gachagua regime, Rigathi Gachagua initially seemed to enjoy a degree of good popularity. His eccentricity and straight-talking manner seemed to endear him to certain members of the populace, those that voted Ruto in certainly.
However, as the Ruto regime has matured, this initial, light-hearted consideration of the DP has started to slowly sour. If we’re to be kind to Rigathi Gachagua, a large part of his public image’s degradation could be blamed on factors outside of his – and indeed any Kenyans – control.
In blink-or-you’ll-miss it timing, Kenya’s economic situation under the Ruto regime went from stable without being brilliant to terrible and likely to get worse. This has been the result of a number of factors that, regardless of your opinion on either Ruto or Gachagua, have been out of Kenya’s control. The Ukraine War, a dip in the global economy, the restructuring of Kenya’s IMF loan repayments, plus a lot of what our Presidential leadership team have done, have all contrived to make the cost of living for the average Kenyan rise.
This obviously does something to your reputation, even if you once enjoyed a friendly, bantering nickname from Kenya’s youth.
Gachagua has, however, also done some of his own work to tarnish his reputation. He famously listed tigers as one of the animals Columbians should come and visit in Kenya’s national parks whilst in Columbia on a mission to increase trade ties. He has also, according to some commentators, seemingly started to rub people up the wrong way with his once-liked firebrand attitude. He doesn’t shy away from comments that won’t be universally liked and one of his latest seems to have landed him in hot water.
Gachagua recently likened Kenya to a ‘limited company’, implying that the state is here to serve those that have bought in, i.e. shareholders. This has been taken as Gachagua stating that the Kenya Kwanza government is here to serve those that voted for it and not the whole country.
It’s this comment that has really started to undermine his reputation.
A rift between the Deputy and the President
Ruto, as one might expect from a head-of-state, has tried to distance himself from the DP’s comments likening the state to a ‘limited company’. Political commentators are taking this as an illustration that a rift is forming between the pair; this rift is being likened to the very obvious one that happened between Ruto and former president Uhuru Kenyatta.
It’s early on in the story of the spat between Ruto and Rigathi; there is, therefore, much of this story still to be told. As, when and how it transpires is up to the pair but we’ll keep you updated on it.