The supremacy battle for the control of the Rift Valley vote between the Deputy President William Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has threatened to throw the region’s unity into shambles after cracks emerged, dividing the Myoot-Kalenjin Council of Elders into two.
The division emerged after a section of Myoot Council of Elders drawn from the Tugen community returned the community’s Instruments of Power given to the retired late President Daniel Moi 65 years ago to their Nandi counterparts.
Myoot council, which comprises of Elders from all the 10 Kalenjin subtribes, was later accused by a section of their counterparts, Kalenjin Council of Elders, who poked holes on the manner in which the instruments were handed back after it was given to Moi in 1955.
Led by David Chepsiror, the elders dismissed the cultural rite that took place last Thursday at Sochoi in Nandi county, saying the handing over ceremony was not conducted according to traditions hence misleading.
In particular, Chepsiror accused Tugen section of Myoot Elders of handing over the instruments without involving them, (Kalenjin Council of Elders) as well as retired President Moi’s family.
Chepsiror said they did not need Moi’s instruments of power since they were handed over to him officially and should therefore be retained by the family even after his death.
“The Baringo elders who travelled to Sochoi, Nandi to return the leadership instruments that Mzee Moi was given did not follow the right procedure. At no point have we as elders said we want what was given to Moi. In fact, if we needed those regalia, it would be necessary for the council’s meeting to be convened and make a formal request from Moi’s family,” explained Mr Chepsiror.
He accused the Tugen Elders saying the Baton was not given to them rather the Moi’s family.
“How do you return what was given to Moi in absence of his children? And it should not be said that it is the Nandi elders who adorned Mzee Moi, it was the Kalenjin elders; hence everyone ought to have been involved and the ceremony made public,” said Mr Keitany, who is an Elder from Keiyo.
The two accused the Elders who handed over and received the instruments saying they did so because they had already identified their personal choice (William Ruto) hence the need to fasten the process.
Shortly after receiving the instruments, the Elders announced that they were going to sit down and identify a suitable successor, who will be installed as the community’s defacto later in November or January next year in an official ceremony to be conducted at Sports Club in Eldoret.
The instruments of power returned on Thursday include Sambut, Kirungut, Nogirwet, Kirokto, Sharit and Kutwet.
Sambut is a shield with a leopard skin, Kirungut is a symbolic club, Nogirwet is a leadership stick while Sharit is an ordinary stick, Ngecheret is a three-legged stool used by the kings, Kipkaliangit is a fly whisk and Kutwet is a Columbus monkey skin hat.
And while answering back their counterparts, Nandi Kaburwo Elders led by their Secretary-General David Sing’oei and the council’s Regional Coordinator John Yego exonerated both the Nandi and Tugen elders from the blame of performing the secretive cultural rite, saying there is no cause for alarm since no one has been installed as the region’s kingpin.
The team denied they were leaning towards the Deputy President William Ruto’s side, saying a meeting involving all the Kalenjin elders will be convened soon to deliberate on who will become the community’s next official leader.
This comes at a time Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has intensified his 2022 ambitions, visiting former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto at his home in Chepalungu on Monday.
The two according to reports, deliberated on a number of issues including the BBI and the community’s political direction ahead of 2022.
The two are facing stiffer competition from William Ruto, who has already taken the lead as far as the community’s kingpin is concerned.