By Luyali Alumasa
A few years ago when OnesimusÂ Kipchumba Murkomen joined MoiÂ Universityâ€™s Faculty of law heÂ immediately captured the passion andÂ attention of all at the School of Law. I,Â being so passionate about this countryÂ decided to find out more about thisÂ new lecturer who was on the lips ofÂ everyone. He had come in to join theÂ ranks of great Constitutional LawÂ scholars like Mutakha Kangu andÂ experts like Prof. Tom Ojienda.
ThoughÂ he had no tittle to his name like DoctorÂ or Professor, Murkomen soon becameÂ the darling of all students.Â He was Ngungi wa Thiongo, WoleÂ Soyinka, Ken Saro Wiwa, KatamaÂ Mkangi, James Orengo, Raila OdingaÂ and above all Murkomen ; a patriot, aÂ Christian, a great teacher, a reformist.
Brilliant,Â I first interacted with him during anÂ International Dispute Resolution class.Â In my first meeting, I sat at the backÂ listening to a man whom I thoughtÂ would transform this nation. IÂ remember telling my friends that thisÂ would be the man who would makeÂ Kenya one.Â It was during this time that the GrandÂ Coalition Government led by MwaiÂ Kibaki and Raila Odinga was facingÂ major challenges. Murkomen reasonedÂ with us.
He made us understand whatÂ good governance was about. HeÂ reminded us of the need for a unitedÂ country free from tribalism, nepotism,Â corruption and impunity. He made usÂ believe that the need for an equalÂ society was more important than theÂ air we breathed. He did not just seeÂ the problems that bedeviled theÂ country, he offered solutions.
Here we were, from both politicalÂ divides united in auctioning ourÂ innocent minds to Murkomen. We didÂ not know we were but guinea pigs.
That we provided the perfect forum forÂ him to test his politics of deceit. SoonÂ we would all be led to the gallows ofÂ betrayal. The devil fell down from
heaven with lies; Murkomen had comeÂ down from America with two degreesÂ and more.
When he first appeared on nationalÂ television everyone watched. WeÂ participated by commenting andÂ supporting his views. I remember one
time a senior advocate and theÂ President of The East African LawÂ Society, James Aggrey Mwamu askingÂ on Facebook â€˜Who is this brilliant man
called Murkomen?â€™ I proudly told him,Â he is my supervisor. Everybody feltÂ associated with him. Some even feltÂ proud to share names with him.
A few days ago, Murkomen had a come coming Ceremony. We whoÂ always looked forward to him leadingÂ this country did not attend. Not that
our attendance would have been soÂ significant but we were not going toÂ celebrate with someone who hadÂ betrayed us. This is not to mean we
did not value his right to choose toÂ whom he should sell his political soulÂ to; we respect his right to be aÂ sycophant. Every Kenyan politician
nowadays owes allegiance to someÂ tribal or political demigod. Gone areÂ the days when leaders were patriotic toÂ the Kenyan dream.
Now, even spiritualÂ leaders have forgotten that their King isÂ not based in State House but heavenÂ or a temple or a shrine somewhere.Â Now, these very leaders care moreÂ about who â€˜paysâ€™ tithe than who offersÂ tithe. Those who pay tithe have theirÂ prayers offered in public rallies whileÂ kneeling on cushions while those whoÂ offer tithe are forced to endure hardÂ benches and floors in places ofÂ worship.
When Murkomen joined the Faculty ofÂ Law, the clamor for a new constitutionÂ had reached fever pitch. As hisÂ tribesmen followed Ruto, Murkomen
and other progressive mindedÂ individuals stood by Kenya. HavingÂ been oriented by Mutakha Kangu,Â Murkomen became the voice of
devolution. He overshadowed MutakhaÂ by being more visible in the media.Â Most of those who were supervised by
him chose to do dissertations onÂ devolution. He wanted an equalÂ society.
He painted this dream on ourÂ innocent minds but most important heÂ made us believe he is independentÂ minded, bold and patriotic. I chose to
research on the criminal justice systemÂ and my interactions with MurkomenÂ during my undertaking of theÂ dissertation were the best anyone
would wish to have with a supervisor.
He was always available and heÂ demonstrated great restraint when youÂ failed to meet deadlines or wentÂ contrary to his instructions. This was a
man; different and above the rest. HeÂ was humble, a rare quality in lecturers.
Most often undermine their students.Â Murkomen let you think as long asÂ your thoughts could be fortified by well
researched sources. This way a studentÂ developed as a researcher. WheneverÂ he found research materials that wereÂ relevant to your dissertation he wouldÂ readily forward them you. All in all heÂ was keen on ensuring you did yourÂ best.
At a time when we were transiting intoÂ a new constitutional dispensation, itÂ was important that the discourse onÂ the constitution, especially on
devolution and constitutionalism, beÂ kept alive. We were changing from aÂ system where everything depended onÂ personalities and not institutions. TheÂ relationship between institutions, setÂ up by the constitution, with each otherÂ and the people is important inÂ advancing constitutionalism. AlthoughÂ individuals bring their personalÂ charisma to institutions, suchÂ institutions should always be biggerÂ than the individuals and they shouldÂ live beyond the tenure of theÂ individuals. Institutions are meant toÂ serve the interests of the citizenry and
not the persons running them.
Government is about service to theÂ people. Stronger institutions meanÂ good governance, expansion ofÂ democracy, better enjoyment ofÂ constitutional rights and developmentÂ of a sound economy. With little or noÂ civic education having been carried outÂ by relevant authorities, we students ofÂ Murkomen, having been sanctioned byÂ our new found hero, engaged inÂ debates with the community. IÂ remember one time financing a
meeting in Kakamega jointly with myÂ friends to educate the public onÂ devolution and the new constitutionÂ generally.
With all the challenges weÂ managed to reach hundreds of peopleÂ and planted the seed of hope in theirÂ hearts.
Then Murkomen declared interest inÂ the Elgeyo Marakwet senatorial seatÂ and all changed. My people have manyÂ sayings about Khanambu, the
chameleon. Amongst all animals,Â Khanambu is unique. It may be slow,Â calm and composed but its eyes seeÂ far and its ability to change colours
make it very cunning. Now if youÂ grabbed Khanambu while it is on aÂ green leaf you may think you haveÂ grabbed a green animal but once it is
in your hands it changes to the colourÂ of your hands.
An animal that canÂ change to be like you and change theÂ next minute to be someone else surelyÂ is dangerous. You cannot trustÂ Khanambu and you should never trustÂ Khanambu. You may dare it to a race,Â thinking it is slow and when you dashÂ off it jumps on your hand and youÂ think you have a heavy hand only for itÂ to bite you before you get to the finishÂ line and as you fall hypnotized by itsÂ poison it walks slowly and wins theÂ race.
Has Murkomen been a student ofÂ Khanambu?
First, when the quest for moreÂ allocation to the county governmentÂ began, he was on the forefront. WeÂ were even shocked that he was
becoming like our hand again. He wasÂ like us who believed that the backboneÂ of the new constitution was devolutionÂ and counties were meant to help spurÂ development across the countryÂ regardless of the ethnic or politicalÂ inclinations of the people in differentÂ areas. We saw no logic why a farmer inÂ Chepalungu would plant maize, weed,Â harvest, grind into flour and cook ugaliÂ then take the ugali to Nairobi for someÂ bureaucrat to decide when, how andÂ what amount the farmer should eat.
That is theft!
Devolution insures that people have aÂ right to decide how resources foundÂ within their areas of residence areÂ managed and exploited for theirÂ benefit and that of the country.Â Devolution is for the progress of allÂ Kenyans. Murkomen was now tellingÂ us devolution meant that Raila OdingaÂ gets into power. He has learnt fast;Â turning the hope of his constituentsÂ into fear like all politicians do. It isÂ through fear that most tyrants rule.
HeÂ had to create fear and the object ofÂ fear was Raila. He told us of how hisÂ people were scared and were askingÂ him about Railaâ€™s devolution. I listenedÂ to him on TV and shook my head, for aÂ week earlier, I was in his County,Â speaking to local people aboutÂ resource allocation, and the people IÂ managed to interrogate were all forÂ more funds to counties.
As we were trying to forgive himÂ thinking he may have been confusingÂ his name and character with that ofÂ Kuttuny, Murkomen is at it again!!
Having taught International DisputeÂ Resolution and Conflict of Laws,Â Murkomen stands at a better positionÂ to oppose any plans to pull Kenya out
of the ICC. I remember vividly one dayÂ during an International DisputeÂ Resolution class when he told us boldlyÂ that â€˜peace would not come by UhuruÂ and Ruto shaking handsâ€™ He believed inÂ the quest for justice at the ICC. HeÂ knew that the victims of PEV wouldÂ never get justice in Kenya due toÂ corruption and impunity. When youÂ see people celebrate that cases areÂ tumbling because witnesses have diedÂ mysteriously or are too fearful to testifyÂ it confirms this.
We believed him, we became hisÂ disciples. When he multiplied the breadÂ of a better Kenya we helped him serve.Â Then he crucified himself on the crossÂ of sycophancy and left us with anÂ unholy spirit of betrayal.
Yes, Murkomen trounced Biwott, theÂ Total Man .When a bull wins overÂ another and becomes champion myÂ people say it is â€˜the bad oneâ€™.
Murkomen is to Jubilee what BiwottÂ was to Kanu. Yes, you may see BiwottÂ High School, that shows the Total ManÂ was passionate about the society, butÂ do not be shocked if you see NyayoÂ House renamed Murkomen House.
AnÂ â€˜educated Biwottâ€™ is more dangerousÂ and lethal. He is â€˜the bad oneâ€™. Â We have been betrayed but we respectÂ his right to be a sycophant.
Luyali Alumasa, a Moi University Law alumnus, was Senator Kipchumba Murkomen’s student, but like many others, feel betrayed. This post is part of Kenya Today’s ongoing serialization of the ‘The intellectual and Politics’.Â