Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is known to speak his mind and occasionally utter words that rub a section of people the wrong way.
This has triggered online reactions from Kenyans who have either called him out for his remarks or questioning the thinking behind some of his famous gaffes.
Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at the DP’s speeches that made headlines this past year.
Kenya has Tigers
During an official trip to Colombia in September 2023, DP Gachagua made headlines after he invited investors to visit Kenya while boasting of Kenya’s ample natural resources.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at his office on December 7, 2023
However, in what Gachagua later described as a slip of the tongue, the country’s second in command invited the investors to visit Kenyan national parks and interact with tigers.
“Again, as you come to invest in Kenya, we have many facilities for tourism. We have rare species of wildlife; the elephant, rhino, buffalo, and the tiger,” he stated.
However, the claim quickly alarmed Kenyans who quickly pointed out that Kenya despite being endowed in the wildlife sector is not home to tigers.
Tigers are mostly found in Asian Countries.
Gachagua later clarified that his initial statement was a result of confusion during translation from his native Kikuyu language. In Kikuyu, the word ‘ngari’ is used interchangeably to refer to leopards, cheetahs, and tigers.
40 Seconds Viral Speech
Gachagua shocked his guests during the official opening ceremony of a social protection conference in April 2023, when his speech only lasted 40 seconds.
This was odd considering the DP is known to give long speeches which typically feature anecdotes and moments where he completely goes off script to address political or social matters.
However, on this particular day, he quickly wrapped up his speech observing that he did not have much to say.
“When Kenya is peaceful, business is uninterrupted and Kenyans are busy, I don’t have much to say,” he noted.
His remarks came at a time when the Azimio coalition had called off the weekly protests to give a chance to the Bipartisan Talks team to come up with a roadmap to achieve sustainable peace over the long term.
Hits Back at Malema
DP Gachagua also made headlines in November 2023, after he responded to South African opposition politician Julius Malema over his criticism of the Kenya Kwanza government.
Malema, who had landed in Nairobi for the launch of the Pan African Institute, slammed President William Ruto’s government for reneging on its pre-election promises.
In a rejoinder, Gachagua told off the opposition politician asking him to keep off Kenyan affairs.
The DP also pointed out that Malema had failed to provide tangible solutions to problems facing South Africans.
Among the problems Gachagua was referring to included; power rationing, claiming that the country often experiences prolonged blackouts.
The shareholders remark is arguably Gachagua’s biggest political gaffe which has come back to haunt him on multiple occasions.
Gachagua ruffled feathers in February 2023, when he dismissed the possibility of other communities landing plum positions in government, equating the Kenya Kwanza administration to a company, where regions that voted overwhelmingly for President William Ruto get the lion’s share of the goodies while the rest feed on scraps.
This, however, elicited sharp criticism from Kenyans across the board and the opposition.
Such was the backlash that President Ruto at one point was forced to distance himself from the claim, describing the mindset as ‘primitive’.
Much later, Gachagua defended his sentiments, arguing that he was using figurative language. He, however, maintained that Ruto would not appoint individuals who did not make a significant contribution to the Kenya Kwanza campaign.
DP Rigathi Gachagua in Garissa County on December 4, 2023