Inside Gachagua, Sakaja’s ‘snubbed’ handshake at Uhuru Park
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja appeared to snub each other at a presidential event in the capital on September 25, 2023.
The embarassing iucident was witnessed at the flag-off ceremony of the Community Health Promoters (CHP) kits attended by President William Ruto at Uhuru Park.
At the event, several senior government officials arrived at the venue and queued up waiting for the Head of State and his DP.
After receiving notification from the security team that the Deputy President was about to make his way in, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and other governors who were present aligned themselves ready to receive the second in command.
When the DP’s motorcade arrived, his security detailed moved with speed to open his door.
Surprisingly, Governor Sakaja appeared to have broken protocol when he was caught behind the DP’s security team when he was supposed to be queuing to welcome the DP.
This alone was enough for the DP to snub the governor, further escalating their relationship, which has somewhat been on and off since both assumed office in August 2023.
The duo clashed months into office after the DP warned Sakaja against evicting public service vehicle (PSV) operators from Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).
Sakaja had vowed to relocate the operators from the CBD to the Green Park Terminus in a move he said was to ‘bring sanity to the capital city’.
But the DP fired back, warning the county boss that he was instrumental in mobilising the Mount Kenya community to vote for him in 2022 and would not thus sit back and watch him ‘mistreat’ them in return.
Back to the Uhuru Park event, and the governor was spotted appearing to extend his hand to greet the DP but was ignored, prompting him to retreat sheepishly with his hands folded behind his back.
Gachagua then greeted the Prime Cabinet Secretary and other officials before standing at the front to receive President William Ruto.
The DP was also seen in conversation with Mudavadi, who was also seen trying to point at the governor, perhaps reminding the DP that Sakaja was around.
By then, the governor had squeezed himself in between the Prime Cabinet Secretary and Pastor Dorcas, hoping that the DP would remember him at last, something which never happened.
When the event started and the DP’s time for address came, he made a clear statement that appeared to justify why he snubbed the governor.
He refused to make his address using the state podium that is supposed to be used by the Head of State, accusing the organizers for bridging the protocols.
“The state podium is reserved for the Head of State, but I want to exonerate those who have spoken there because it is the President himself who invited them to speak from there and bridged protocol, and as a man who was in uniform I politely decline the invitation by the President to break protocol,” Gachagua said.