Tricky role for Gachagua in new order

  • 13 Jan 2023
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by John Ngirachu

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua was this week handed the responsibility of
handling relations between the county and national governments, putting him in
charge of a tricky but important role.
The Deputy President is by default the head of the Inter-Governmental Budget and
Economic Council (IBEC), which brings together governors, the Executive and
independent commissions in agreeing on the financing of the counties.
Mr Gachagua’s designation putting him in charge of relations between the two levels
therefore means that unlike his predecessor, he has an expanded role.
He has already taken to the task with gusto, meeting Members of the County
Assembly from Meru over their differences with Governor Kawira Mwangaza and
then Kisii Governor Simba Arati to improve relations.
The Deputy President is likely to have more work to do in places like Kiambu, where
Members of the County Assembly and MPs this week protested against Governor
Kimani Wamatangi.
His tiff with Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has mostly been in political terms,
with political reporters interpreting it as an extension of the apparent fight for
supremacy between him and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.
The fight with Mr Sakaja will be worth observing but the governor has so far been
winning with his sober explanations of the reasoning behind the decision to move
long-distance Public Service Vehicles out of Nairobi’s Central Business District and to
force some bars and nightclubs in residential areas to close.
Mr Gachagua’s designation puts him in a tricky situation as the county governments
are independent of the national government. The Deputy President’s brusque manner
may also rub some governors the wrong way, especially those allied to the Azimio
Coalition and its leader Raila Odinga.
On the other hand, success would make it easier for President Ruto to implement
projects such as the development of affordable housing, food security and the
construction of sports stadia. If implemented as planned, the projects would have the
impact and scale he desires, and the cooperation of the county governments will be
The Deputy President has been kept busy by the role he was given on the
management of the efforts to alleviate the effects of the drought that has ravaged

many parts of the country. Last week, he lamented that the work had effectively
reduced him to a beggar, as he has to explain Kenya’s issues to foreigners, and has
been asking corporates to contribute.
For Mr Gachagua, the good thing is that President Ruto has set out his mandate
clearly and by designating him specific roles, has put him in a better position than he
himself was.