The current split among Talai elders days after installing Deputy President William Ruto as the Kalenjin kingpin has to do with millions of shillings the DP donated towards organizing the coronation.
Days after the Talai elders of the Nandi community gave him their blessings to seek the country’s top seat, Ruto sent tongues wagging when he used a footage that aired back in 2012 from an episode on the Churchill Show to boldly state his plans for the 2022 elections.
In the clip, Uhuru speaks on key issues pertaining to elections in Kenya, saying: “My friend let me tell you. My determination for this nation, for the coming election, is that we must bring this country together at whatever cost.”
He points out that his plans are still based on that foundation and nothing, indirectly saying not even Uhuru or Raila, can change it.
The Talai elders are descendants of the legendary Nandi leader Koitalel Samoei, and offer blessings and direction to the community. But the coronation has sharply divided the elders and the Kalenjin community regarding who should carry the honorary title of a Talai elder and Kalenjin kingpin since in 2017 during the elections they accorded the title to Uhuru.
The deputy president was also covered with ‘Sambut’, special regalia similar to the one they gave former president Daniel Arap Moi and then powerful minister Nicholas Biwott.
Drama started when a section of the elders poked holes on the ceremony, saying it was done in secrecy, and further did not meet the threshold of a ceremony allowed for a person of the DP’s stature.
Nandi Council of Elders leaders led by Christopher Meli, Isaac Rono, Christopher Koiyoki, Joseph Samoei and Taptengelei Tekengech argued such ceremonies are done during the day and hence the one carried out at night left a lot to be desired. The above were left out in the organization of the ceremony and are bitter. They said the ceremony was trivialized and individualized by a family in the name of Talai clan.
Koiyoki who is the Talai Council of Elders vice-chairman accused their chairman Rev Canon James Baasi who organized Ruto’s coronation as doing so to gain monetary favours. Baasi was in charge of the money Ruto gave out.
He expressed shock that some of those who participated in the 2017 coronation of Uhuru were at the DP’s ceremony. But the enthronement has also widened the rift between Ruto and Baringo senator and Kanu chairman, Gideon Moi. Already, Ruto’s allied elders have asked Gideon not to antagonize the deputy president, saying the coronation made the DP the de facto leader of the Kalenjin community.
Led by the Nandi elders’ spokesperson, Charles Tanui, they told Gideon the ceremony was long overdue and that the blessings from the family of Koitalel Samoei were timely. Tanui alongside Simon Cheruiyot and Shadrack Korir, among others, said their group endorsed the DP for the presidency in 2022.
But what fuels the rift further was the failure by three Nandi MPs – Vincent Tuwei (Mosop), Alex Kosgey (Emgwen) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) – to attend the coronation. The MPs are allied to Gideon.