Deputy President William Ruto on Sunday named Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate in the August race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The DP made the much-awaited declaration at his Karen residence in Nairobi on Sunday afternoon, describing the nominee as “an astute debator, a fantastic grassroots mobiliser, a successful elected politician who is a principled, resilient and fearless fighter for the right cause.”
Notably, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, who was the first runner-up in the search for the Kenya Kwanza running mate post, was conspicuously missing at the brief event.
Kindiki’s absence has sparked speculations of fallout in the DP’s camp after the naming of Ruto’s deputy hit a snag on Saturday.
The Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate was to name his deputy on Saturday morning but the unveiling was pushed to 1 pm, later 3 pm and eventually ended up not happening.
Sources in the know intimated negotiations failed to bear fruits after Gachagua, Kindiki and their supporters, including legislators, maintained hardline positions. The two leaders later left the Karen residence in a huff.
Those who made it to the shortlist, according to the country’s second in command, include MPs Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Alice Wahome (Kandara), National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
Kenyans will go to the polls on August 9, 2022.
Ruto will face off with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition candidate Raila Odinga, who is yet to name his running mate.
Meanwhile, Ruto on Sunday promised to give more powers to the Office of the Deputy President once elected.
“I believe the office of the Deputy President (which I have held for the last almost ten years) can serve the people of Kenya better. On my first day in office, I will sign an executive order to give clear responsibilities to the DP,” Ruto said after unveiling Gachagua.
He said he will give the DP under his tenure the responsibility to chair cabinet committee meetings, oversee the implementation of cabinet decisions and coordinate the relationship between the national and county governments.