By Dikembe Disembe
Initial reports of what actually happened during the funeral of Gov Isaac Ruto’s father in Chepseon only indicated that Elgeyo Marakwet Senator, Hon Kipchumba Murkomen, was booed and heckled by angry mourners. However, it is now emerging that Murkomen, who represented the Hague based Deputy president William Ruto, had attempted to deride former prime minister Raila Odinga.
At the late Paul Tirop’s burial (Tirop was Gov Isaac Ruto’s father) yesterday attended by several Kenyan Â leaders including Charles Nyachae, the CIC Chairman, and Prime Minister Odinga, one Kipchumba Murkomen,DP Ruto’s right man shocked many!
The once branded liberal Elgeyo Marakwet senator, then seen as heir Â after Ruto in Kalenjin politics, an eloquent orator, a legal mind; Murkomen decided to stoop too low by engaging himself in a virulent tirade of verbal abuse against Hon Odinga when he was given a chance to speak.
The attack, totally unprovoked and unnecessary; much to the discontent of the people present, prompted the crowd to jeer and heckle him.
Murkomen’ s blind sycophancy to DP Ruto will be the end of him! Just when many had branded him a mature sensible political mind , he blows it up with such uncouth verbiage, to make matters worse -at a burial ceremony where utmost respect of the dead, particular the old dead, in accordance to African values and beliefs, ought to have been shown.
If Murkomen wants to remain relevant, he must behave like a mature politician. He must avoid such toddlish sideshows. He must respect others even when he doesn’t buy to their idealogies.
As much as he doesn’t agree with RAILA, he ought to respect him. Courtesy costs nothing!
Later yesterday evening, Charles Nyachae, the Chairperson of the Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC), who happened to have been present made this observation.
I just got back to Nairobi having, on my way from Kisii, attended earlier today, the funeral service at Chepseon in Kericho County, of the late Mzee Paul Tirop, father to HE Isaac Ruto Governor Bomet County. It was a well organized and dignified send off for a Mzee who judging from the attendance and the sentiments of those who knew him was cleared well loved by family and friends. Among those in attendance and who evidently was a personal friend of the deceased, was Rt Hon Raila Odinga. I was shocked, embarrassed and saddened however at a virulent tirade of verbal abuse by Senator Murkomen of Elgeyo Marakwet, against Hon Odinga, when the good Senator was given a chance to speak. The attack was totally unprovoked and unnecessary, and judging by the reaction of most people present (including many who overtly are of a different political persuasion from Hon Odinga) was not well received. I ordinarily have great respect for the Senator both as a lawyer and a representative of the people. In my humble view his utterances today were outrageous and unbecoming. How I look forward to the day when we can take civility in public discourse as a matter of course as one should expect in any civilised society . In my view, behaviour such as I saw today is symptomatic of a backward political culture. I get all the more alarmed when such behaviour is exhibited by people who from their learning and their generation we would expect to be at the forefront of change to a culture of tolerance and mutual respect particularly in public discourse and amongst leaders who set examples. Sad indeed. Baraka tele na jioni njema!
But it is not Mr Nyachae alone who is increasingly getting fed up with Murkomen and his new bootlicking role. His students have all but lost hope after watching the former law lecturer increasingly treading a path which will clearly end him at the museum of history.
For Mr Nyachae, the man charged with transitioning the constitution and reminding politicians on what the intention of the drafters were; the issue at hand was not the political choice of Murkomen. In fact, like many Kenyans, Murkomen has a right to bootlick and dillydally and pusyfoot, the question is, why take away decency and courtesy?
“What is at issue is whether we can change to a culture where decorum and respect are the hallmark of our public conversations even when we disagree. Indeed especially when we disagree,” says Nyachae.
Several people have felt awed by the actions of Mr. Murkomen whose justification seems to only come from those suffering from a pathological fear of the former prime minister. Decent people feel decency costs nothing!
What Kenya’s politics has shown, and what needs to be inculcated in the politicians of the present and the future, is a level of tolerance with the knowledge that political differences are not personal differences that should be laced with a never-ending vendetta.
Indeed, it is given that the current political alliances may not serve the fulness of time and, expectedly, new alliances will take shape. Will the Murkomens of this country bulshit then? Luckily, Kenyans forget so fast.
Mohammed Doyo contributed to this article.