Geoffrey Rigathi Gachagua Biography
Geoffrey Rigathi Gachagua is a Kenyan politician who is serving as the current Deputy President of Kenya since 13 September 2022.
He previously served in multiple capacities in public administration such as Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs & National Heritage, Personal Assistant to the Head of the Public Service, Personal Assistant to Uhuru Kenyatta, who was then Minister for Local Government, and as a District Officer.
Gachagua ran for the Deputy President in the 2022 Kenyan General Election on a joint ticket with William Ruto’s running mate under the United Democratic Alliance party, winning with just over 50% of the votes.
Early life and education
He was born in was born on 28 February 1965 in Hiriga village of Mathira Constituency, Nyeri County, the eighth-born child of Nahashon Gachagua Reriani and Martha Kirigo.
He is the younger brother to the late Nderitu Gachagua, the first Governor of Nyeri County. His parents were Mau Mau freedom fighters in Mt. Kenya Forest where Nahashon was building and servicing guns for the freedom fighters.
He enrolled at Kabiruini Primary School from 1971 to 1977 before proceeding to Kianyaga High School for his O-levels and A-levels.
In 1985, he joined the University of Nairobi, later he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Literature in 1988.
At the University of Nairobi, Gachagua was the Nyeri District University Students Association (Ndusa) leader as well as the chairman of The Association of Literature Students.
After graduating, Gachagua was employed for a short time at Kenya’s Ministry of Home Affairs & National Heritage before he joined Administration Police Institute in 1990.
After graduating from the Administration Police Institute, Gachagua was posted at the Office of the then-President Daniel Arap Moi, as a District Officer Cadet between 1991 and 1992.
Gachagua then went on to serve as a District Officer in Kakamega, Ng’arua, and Laikipia districts.
Between 1999 and 2000, he joined the Kenya School of Government and graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Public Administration.
Between 2001 and 2006, Gachagua worked as the Personal Assistant to Uhuru Kenyatta, the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya.
Between 2007 and 2017, Gachagua remained behind the scenes running his businesses.
Member of Parliament
He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency, Nyeri County from 2017 to 2022 under the Jubilee Party.
Rigathi Gachagua is known for being an outspoken, very passionate leader, and for an aggressive, and sometimes abrasive style of politics. His time as a legislator was characterized by championing issues that centered primarily on the needs of Mt Kenya residents.
In 2017, Gachagua took on Keriako Tobiko as the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry. The Cabinet Secretary had raised the alarm regarding the over-exploitation of upstream water resources in the Mt. Kenya Region and directed the Kenya Forest Service to destroy illegal intakes.
Gachagua claimed that many of the intakes destroyed were legal and that this had occasioned a water crisis for thousands of people.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Simon Chelugui, was drawn into the fray, meeting with Gachagua and other Mt Kenya legislators over the matter. He promised to have all intakes with the necessary documentation restored
In 2019, Gachagua sponsored an amendment bill to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, of 2015. He argued that Kenyan firms could not fairly compete and would be run out of the market by Chinese firms that were able to get loans at less than a sixth of the interest rates.
The amendment reserved government contracts under 1 billion shillings for local companies and proposed stiffer penalties for circumventing the local ownership requirements for larger contracts.
The bill would eventually be turned down by the National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning committee, citing limited local capacity to provide goods and services as the reason.
On the 15th of May 2022, he was nominated as the running mate to the UDA presidential candidate Hon Ruto under the Kenya Kwanza political coalition.
Others who were eyeing the same position included Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Kandara MP Alice Muthoni Wahome, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure A. Kindiki, and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
Gachagua has a chequered past with pending court cases over alleged cases of misappropriation of government funds.
On 28 July 2022, a Kenyan court ordered Rigathi Gachagua to reimburse KSh. 202 million (US$1.7 million), finding that the money was derived from corruption.
Mr. Gachagua is married to Pastor Dorcas Wanjiku Rigathi, a retired banker who is now a pastor in Mathira.
They met at a joint university event that President Moi graced at the University of Nairobi in 1985. They got married in 1989 and have two sons, Kevin and Keith.