ETHNIC PROWESS

Row over plan to crown Ruto as Kalenjin spokesman deepens in Rift

Sabaot community elders declare they recognise Gideon Moi.

In Summary
  • The Sabaot elders claimed Ruto and his allies were sponsoring separate sub-tribe meetings of the Kalenjin community thus causing division.
  • Ruto was two month ago crowned by Talai elders at a dawn ceremony in Nand.
North Rift elders led by David Chepsiror in Eldoret
POSITION: North Rift elders led by David Chepsiror in Eldoret
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

A split among the Kalenjin over the planned coronation of DP William Ruto as the community spokesman has widened after elders from the Sabaot sub-tribe declared support for Baring0o Senator Gideon Moi.

The Sabaot council of elders said in a statement that they would not accept anyone to be forced on them as spokesman.

They recalled that during a ceremony held at Kapsokwony in Mt Elgon on September 7 last year, Gideon was coronated as the spokesman of the Kalenjin community and the position remains the same.

 

Secretary of the Sabaot elders Chepkorom Ndiema and members Pius arap Kauka and Stephen Mesiack led the elders in declaring that they were not party to plans to crown Ruto as spokesman of the community.

Kauka accused a section of elders from the Tugen and Nandi communities of being used to perpetuate the political interests of DP Ruto.  

Kauka said they had rejected the recent claim by some Tugen elders who said they had surrendered Mzee Moi’s instruments of traditional power to the Nandi community for the enthronement of Ruto .

He said the chairman of the umbrella Kalenjin elders' council Benjamin Kitur acted as an individual without consultation by leading a ceremony to allegedly receive Moi’s instruments of power in Nandi.

“Kitur and the elders from Tugen never consulted anyone and had no mandate to transfer such instruments of power from Moi’s family to anyone else,” Kauka said. He said the instruments claimed to have been handed over were still in safe the custody of Gideon.

The Baringo senator was handed the instruments by his elder brother Raymond Moi who had been given the same during the funeral of Moi in February.  While receiving the symbolic instruments from the Tugen elders a week ago Kitur said they were not the original ones handed to Moi 65 years ago.

But he insisted the instruments were given to Moi on condition that that they would be returned once he retired. However, Kauka and Sabaot elders said they would not accept to be led by groups seeking to push the Kalenjin community to the periphery of leadership in the country.

The Sabaot elders claimed that Ruto and his allies were sponsoring separate sub-tribe meetings of the Kalenjin, thus causing confusion in the community.

 
 

Ruto was two months ago crowned by Talai elders at a dawn ceremony in Nandi. It is expected that the Kalenjin elders led by Kitur will hold another ceremony soon to install Ruto as spokesman and leader of the community.

Kauka said they would not attend such a ceremony because it would be a waste of time and meant to cause division among the Kalenjin.

The Sabaot elders have accused DP Ruto and his allies of chest thumping and seeking power by force instead of being humble the way Moi was.

“Moi was even referred to as a passing cloud by those who didn’t want him to lead but eventually because of his humility and wisdom God ensured that he led the country for long. He was never a leader driven by arrogance and chest thumping”, Kauka said.

A section of elders from North Rift led by David Chepsiror have said Moi's instruments of power are retained by his family after he died.

Edited by Henry Makori