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Rigathi Gachagua: From District Officer to billionaire eyeing DP’s position

The stage is set for a showdown between Rigathi Gachagua and Martha Karua in the presidential running mates debate on Tuesday evening at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

Although Kenya Kwanza Alliance had earlier hinted that it would boycott the debates, on Monday evening Mr Gachagua turned up for the running mates debate rehearsal in a clear indication that he will take part in the debate.

Speaking after meeting the debates hosts at the venue, Mr Gachagua, who is Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate, said his decision to honour the debate invite was out of respect to the electorate.

“I have made a decision to come for the debate. I think there will be people watching who I haven’t had a chance to explain myself to,” he said.

Ms Karua, who is Mr Raila Odinga’s running mate in Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition, and Mr Gachagua have in the past exchanged bitter words in their respective campaign trails.

The stakes have been heightened by the fact that these two politicians are from Mt Kenya region, whoever between them becomes the Deputy President will also automatically succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as the region’s political supremo.

Mr Gachagua, who is the sitting Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency, was born in 1965. His first national leadership role was in 1989 when he was picked to serve as an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage.

A year later, he moved to the Office of the President as a District Officer cadet. He was subsequently appointed Personal Assistant to the Head of Public Service.

He served in that position for six years before he was later named the District Officer 1 in charge of Kakamega District before he was moved to Ng’arua Division in Laikipia District.

Later, in 2002 Mr Gachagua became President Kenyatta’s personal assistant at a time when the latter was eyeing the presidency on a Kanu ticket.

They worked together with President Kenyatta for a total of five years before he went under and ventured into businesses until 2017 when he joined politics.

It is worth noting that Gachagua, is a brother to the first Nyeri County governor, the late Nderitu Gachagua, and Ruto first worked closely in 2022 when they both supported President Kenyatta.