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Did Sabaot elders con Gideon in coronation fete? – Weekly Citizen

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Questions are being asked on whether Sabaot elders conned Baringo senator Gideon Moi in the coronation fete.
According to sources, though installation of elders in communities is a thorough and well-thought out process, and sometimes there are differences between those merely made elders and those crowned leaders such as kings, the Gideon fete lacked key ingredients that would have given it meaning in line with the Kalenjin community customs.
In Kalenjin culture, those who are made elders are donned in special regalia popularly known as sambut, a material made from the skin of blue monkey, and on his head one wears a hat made from the skin of a columbus monkey.
He is made to sit on a three-legged stool and given two spears, a short one and a long one. This is followed by a rendition of four songs in the Sabaot community.
But a day after Gideon was made an elder in Sabaot, questions of culture have been raised over the type of regalia he donned during the ceremony.

DP Ruto

Peter Chemaswet, who is a Sabaot, historian and a preacher with a rich background in culture, claimed that Senator Moi was handed the right regalia but the palm branch given to him is reserved for women.
He says the palm branch is given to women who have been accepted as leaders and allowed to sit among elders and to speak with authority.
Chemaswet says women are given the palm branch and a belt donned with beads to imply that they are prepared to cook food for the family and particularly make sweet and sour milk.
He says the procedures for installation of elders and leaders within Kalenjin subtribes are the same, and hardly vary.
Moments after Senator Moi was installed, Kalenjins on social media raised eyebrows, terming the regalia he donned as degrading.
Soy South MCA Jonah Tanui said: “The palm is usually for the women. They have turned this man upside down”.
Shadrack Kiptoo said: “Hata kama ni kumaliza mtu, si hivyo”.
Caleb Kibet asked: “Kwani do you people want to mean in Sabaot, there is no elder who could have told the senator that this was not the right regalia for the occasion?”
Chemaswet says the ambition to ascend to political leadership could be pushing many politicians to spend money on seeking coronations as elders in various communities.
Nevertheless, the coronation has added a new impetus in his fight with William Ruto for control of the Kalenjins votes in the 2022 general election.
The son of Kenya’s second president Daniel arap Moi was crowned a Sabaot elder seven years after the elders did a similar ritual to Uhuru Kenyatta.
The event was a big blow to Ruto since the community does not anoint more than one presidential aspirant at any given time.
Gideon, a Tugen, is seeking to dethrone Ruto as Kalenjin community kingpin and has focused on Baringo, Elgeyo/Marakwet, West Pokot and South Rift as his targets.
“This is the cradle land of the Kalenjin community, his crowning makes him a leader. He is free to go out there and fight for whatever seat he desires,” said Richard Chebuyo, 74, who led the ritual.
“It is here former president Moi was anointed in 2002. Uhuru Kenyatta was also crowned as an elder here and now it is Gideon’s turn to get the elders’ blessings,” said Chebuyo.
Chebuyo ruled out possibility of crowning any other political leader, saying it was an abomination to do so.

Isaac Ruto

On his part, the senator thanked the elders and locals for their warm welcome and promised to visit the area more frequently to initiate development projects and give them the direction to follow.
Chama Cha Mashinani boss Isaac Ruto who accompanied the senator to witness the crowning appealed to the government to resettle families targeted for eviction from the Mau Forest.
“We have no problem with efforts to conserve Mau Forest. However, let the families affected be given alternative resettlement place,” said Ruto.
Kanu is mulling a possible alliance with Chama Cha Mashinani, with the DP now struggling to stamp his authority in the larger Rift Valley region.
Recently, Ruto lost billionaire businessman Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki to CCM.
Elgeyo Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos also joined Moi.
According to sources, Gideon’s non-confrontational style of politics informed a section of Kalenjin elders when making the decision to support his 2022 presidential bid.
For months now, both Moi and Ruto have been embroiled in bitter rivalry even with three years to the next presidential election.
According to Yussuf Keittany, Moi’s approach of issues appeals to all Kenyans adding that nobody will muzzle his right to contest for the big office.
“He is not confrontational and that is why we chose him over other candidates. His approach to issues is quite acceptable and likable,” he said.
“It is wrong for a certain group of politicians to continue attacking him for no good reason. This is a liberal nation and he has a right to seek support,” he added.
Last year, the senator who is also the Kanu chairman met Njuri Ncheke (Meru elders) in Nakuru as the politics of succession continued to gather momentum.
The meeting, held at Moi’s press secretary Lee Njiru’s home discussed various issues regarding the country’s leadership.

Lee Njiru

Led by their chairman James Merianga, Njuri Ncheke members welcomed the Baringo senator to Mount Kenya region and promised to support him.
According to Merianga, Moi had worked closely with the community and appointed their sons to senior government positions.
Gideon said he is ready to work with the elders, whom he said, played a major role in the development in the country.
The senator observed that the Meru community had supported his father’s leadership and created a strong friendship.
But a day after meeting Njuri Ncheke, its leadership denied endorsing his 2022 presidential bid, saying the council does not make roadside declarations.
Njuri Ncheke secretary-general Josphat Murangiri termed the endorsement as individual pronouncements that have nothing to do with Meru elders.
“Let it be known that Njuri Ncheke’s binding declarations are only made at the Nchiru shrine. Any other declaration outside the shrine is by selfish individuals who are on a hunting mission. Anyone who wants to seek blessings from the council should visit the shrine when the campaigns start,” Murangiri said.
“At this time, there is no vacancy in the presidency hence Njuri Ncheke cannot endorse anyone. We work with the government of the day. If need be, we will make our position known when the time comes,” he said.

Wamalwa

In March this year, there were reports that Gideon was preparing to be installed as a Pokot elder.
If he goes ahead, he will be required to sleep under an old indigenous tree overnight to complete the ritual.
The Kanu boss will receive blessings and ‘weapons of leadership and power’ from the elders.
These rituals are likely preparation for the 2022 presidential race, in which he is expected to take part.
Gideon received the invitation when he accompanied Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa to donate food to starving Nginyany residents in Tiaty subcounty. Pokot leaders led by area MP William Kamket said the senator will undergo a traditional ceremony.
Gideon accepted the invite and concluded his speech by saying, “Toko tai”, loosely meaning, “It is still ahead.”
The leaders said Moi underwent a similar ritual, which ‘sustained his reign.’
Moi was president for 24 years until he retired on December 30 2002, when his successor Mwai Kibaki took charge.
“Just find a day on your calendar, when you are not busy, and come silently. We’ll anoint you and hand over the traditional implements of power to you,” said Kamket.
Gideon commands support of the Pokots, a sub tribe of the Kalenjin community.
The senator, however, faces resistance from a significant proportion of the Kalenjins who see him as a hurdle to Ruto’s path to the presidency.



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