Residents and leaders in Mt Kenya region yesterday expressed mixed reactions after DP William Ruto appointed Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua to be his running mate in the August 9 presidential General Election.

While those in Nyeri exploded with jubilation and excitement, residents of Tharaka Nithi and Kirinyaga counties expressed dissatisfaction.

It was largely expected that Senator Kithure Kindiki would be named the running mate, with residents in the region saying they had been given a raw deal.

Nyeri residents broke into celebrations and in Mr Gachagua’s Mathira hometown, songs and dances were the highlight of the afternoon as people took to the streets, barricading the Nyeri-Nairobi highway where they were joined by aspirants vying for different posts with the UDA party.

A resident Martha Wanjiru said that they are grateful that the deputy president had settled on Rigathi Gachagua who has proved himself as royal to the party and a true foot soldier

“We are certain that he is equal the task. He has outdone himself in the constituency. He has helped build the party and has a prowess in mobilisation of people,” she said.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, who joined the entourage assured the Deputy President William Ruto that he will rally people to support and join the alliance.

“We are aware that it was hard and there were in fights but we are grateful you’ve chosen Rigathi,” he said.

“We will make sure that every vote gets to the bottom-up economics agenda. Having been selected one of the drivers of the agenda, I will we rally people behind UDA,” he added.

This contrasted the reaction in Prof Kindiki’s Tharaka Nithi backyard, where residents expressed shock at the choice of Mr Gachagua.

Leaders expressed disappointment with DP Ruto for failing to pick their senator. Most of the angry residents have vowed to vote for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate, Raila Odinga.

Residents of Kathwana town, Marimanti town and Kindiki’s Irinduni village held protests to express disappointment with Ruto’s decision and vowed to vote Mr Odinga.

Former Tharaka Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa, who is vying senatorial seat as an independent candidate said it was wrong for DP Ruto to ask Prof Kindiki to shelve gubernatorial interest only to dump him.

“Dr Ruto asked Prof Kindiki to drop his gubernatorial bid and join him in the national politics only to frustrate him,” said Mr Ragwa.

He said it is now clear that Mt Kenya West will never support a leader from Mt Kenya East and that the perceived friendship is just cosmetic.

However, Meru, Senator Mithika Linturi lauded the DP for naming Mr Gachagua as the running mate, saying “He is one of our own in Mt Kenya region.”

Mr Linturi will be one of those who will coordinate campaigns in Mt Kenya East region.

“May I assure Deputy President that the Kenya Kwanza and Meru Kwanza teams will undertake the task ahead diligently and work hard to deliver the Meru voting block to our coalition’s presidential ballot, besides ensuring that we secure majority of both the National and County Assembly seats in our region,” he said.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria said “we now have to remain sober and debate our future especially on how best we will remain relevant in the country’s power matrix.”

He insisted that he is the best bet to be supported by all Mt Kenya for the presidency since “I am young, your own and representative of the Agikuyu community cradle that is Murang’a County,” adding that he remains convinced that Mt Kenya deserves better.

In Kirinyaga county, a cross-section residents were up in arms, saying Governor Anne Waiguru should have been appointed.

The residents expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential flag bearer.

The residents accused Dr Ruto of giving Kirinyaga, which supports him a raw deal.

“We wanted Dr Ruto to pick our daughter, Kirinyaga Governor as his running mate but he has let us down,” one of the residents, John Njoroge said.

The residents described Ms Waiguru as a very popular and hardworking leader who would have made Ruto receive a lion’s share of votes in Mount Kenya region.

Mr Charles Kaberia, the chairman of Hustler Nation movement in Meru, said the choice of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, was unfortunate.

He said the fact that Prof Kindiki was missing in the unveiling of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance running mate, means all is not well.

“We are now waiting for Prof Kindiki to give us direction. If he attended the unveiling ceremony, we could have known his position. Prof Kindiki was the most qualified and made several sacrifices including losing his deputy speaker position for supporting the deputy president,” Mr Kaberia said.

Nation Africa

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