The suitability of Rigathi Gachagua as Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate now hangs in the balance after a host of activists filed a petition challenging his candidature.
Twelve activists want Rigathi, and a handful of other aspirants, to be barred from partaking in the General Election next week over the question of integrity.
Through their lawyer Kibe Mungai, the petitioners doubted the Mathira lawmaker’s suitability to be a potential second in command, citing a “heavy baggage of criminality resting on his shoulders”.
This was preceded by a court ruling sanctioning Rigathi to give up to the state KSh 200 million believed to be proceeds of corruption.
Through their petition filed as urgency, they want the High Court sitting in Nairobi to make a determination over Gachagua’s appropriateness to be on the presidential ballot having in mind his graft battle in the corridors of justice.
“Subsequent to the registration and gazettement of the 2nd Respondent as the UDA presidential running mate by the IEBC on Thursday, July 28, 2022, the High Court delivered its verdict in which the court ordered that he shouldn’t forfeit KSh 202 million held in his accounts as the same was proceeds of corruption and Rigathi had failed to explain how he acquired the wealth from government agencies,” reads an excerpt of the petition addressed to the High Court.
They further argued that in the event Gachagua’s candidature alongside Ruto is quashed, then the deputy president, in the event he wins, would have availed stage for the nomination of an individual not elected by the electorate to occupy the Office of the Deputy President.
They also faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for not revoking the gazettement of Rigathi as Ruto’s running mate despite the ruling on July 28.
Court ruling on Rigathi’s monies
In the July 28 court verdict referenced by the activists, Rigathi was ordered to forfeit KSh 202 million to the state.
Milimani Law Courts Justice Esther Maina said she had established that the money in question was proceeds of corruption.
Maina argued that the outspoken Mathira lawmaker failed to explain how he acquired the wealth from government agencies as indicated.
Gachagua had claimed that he earned the cash through the award of contracts, but the judge said the MP did not provide any documents to prove he had any contract with the State.