The decision was made after a 17-hour meeting that saw members of the coalition deliberate on the strategies they will use to clinch the country’s top seat.
In a press conference on Sunday, May 15, DP Ruto named his preferred choice of deputy and 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 promised shortly before 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.
Those shortlisted for the Kenya Kwanza running mate slot were: Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki and Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
Rigathi Gachagua joined politics in 2017 when he vied for the Mathira seat. Before then, little was known about him.
Gachagua, 57, was once President Uhuru Kenyatta’s personal assistant.
He ended up being the face of Tanga Tanga (a wing of Jubilee MPs allied to the DP in Mt Kenya).
Due to his deep pockets and outbursts against the government, he earned himself the title, of regional overseer of Ruto’s presidential campaign.
After years in civil service, Rigathi left to work for Uhuru as a personal assistant until 2008 when Uhuru joined former President Mwai Kibaki’s government after the disputed 2007 elections.
His dalliance with Uhuru faded after the famous March 2018 handshake between the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga when he claimed the president had betrayed his deputy.
He claims his parents were Mau Mau freedom fighters. Rigathi schooled at Kabiruini Primary School and later joined Kianyaga Boys High school in Kirinyaga.
He is also an alumnus of the University of Nairobi where he pursued political science and Literature before joining Oklahoma University in the US.