Throughout 2023, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga found themselves at odds on several occasions, sometimes clashing in public.
Gachagua and Raila’s clashes were mainly driven by political rivalry with the former wary of a potential handshake between Raila and President William Ruto.
Over the year, the political tension between the two continued to simmer and was exacerbated by President Ruto’s decision to agree to hold dialogue with Raila.
Here are some of the most significant moments when Raila and Gachagua clashed.
MPs and security officers surrounding former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a funeral in Kakamega County on December 2, 2023.
Brigadier Kiboko Burial
The burial ceremony of freedom fighter Brigadier Kiboko on August 26 provided an unexpected stage for political adversaries Raila and Gachagua.
Despite coming together to offer condolences, their speeches diverged into a discussion about the state of the nation, with a particular focus on the National Dialogue Committee’s (NDC) discussions which were ongoing at the time.
Gachagua had earlier claimed that Raila met with President Ruto during these deliberations, prompting a public refutation from Raila.
Mau Mau Heroes
During the same funeral, Raila criticised Gachagua concerning the late Mau Mau brigadier Kiboko’s hospital bill.
Raila claimed Gachagua was unavailable when needed, stating that the veteran could only be admitted to the hospital after Raila intervened to facilitate the required payments.
Despite the tension, the two leaders met again during the funeral ceremony.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at a previous event.
Government Jobs and Political Allegiances
Gachagua maintained his ‘shareholders’ stance on October 9, asserting that government jobs were preserved for the communities that voted overwhelmingly for President Ruto in the 2022 elections.
This assertion came during a time when the President was touring Nyanza and Western regions, assuring residents of improved relations with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Gachagua, however, expressed concerns that Nyanza and the opposition had not and would not support President Ruto.
The details of Raila and Ruto’s meeting during this time remained undisclosed.
Bipartisan Talks Disapproval
On September 10, Gachagua openly urged Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah, co-leading the bipartisan talks, to withdraw from the committee, dismissing it as a waste of time.
Raila responded by stating that Gachagua posed a threat to the unity bid, reflecting the deep divisions in opinion on the peace-building efforts in the country.
Protocol Dispute at the Africa Climate Summit
The inaugural Africa Climate Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre witnessed a clash over protocols between Gachagua and Raila.
Gachagua claimed that Raila breached protocol by attempting to sit next to the Heads of State contrary to protocol at national events.
Raila, however, shrugged off this jibe and never responded to it.
ODM Party leader Raila Odinga speaking during the Kenya’s 60th Anniversary held at Catholic University in Nairobi on December 8, 2023