Rift Valley legislators concerned Senator’s remarks could jeopardise relations between Uhuru and Ruto
The two most strident voices in the Mau eviction saga have been declared “too noisy” by their regional counterparts.
More than 30 Rift Valley legislators have told Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his Kericho counterpart Aaron Cheruiyot that their utterances could jeopardise relations between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
It is move that could also signal that Murkomen’s perch as the Senate Majority Leader, a senior position he holds courtesy of the Jubilee Party, is becoming untenable unless he “tames his tongue” that is seen to be increasingly rubbing even close colleagues the wrong.
The decision to isolate the two senators was arrived at a meeting of more than 30 legislators at the Weston Hotel — a facility associated with Ruto — on Tuesday night. It was also resolved to reprimand the two for “habitually going against the community’s recommendations to always consult before making any remarks of public interest matters”.
Murkomen has come under attack from colleagues over his remarks last weekend in which he appeared to blame Uhuru for the ongoing evictions at the Mau forest while Cheruiyot rubbed his colleagues the wrong way with attacks on Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju on the controversial issue.
According to sources privy to the meeting, the MPs were angered by the two senators’ conduct which they noted threatened to isolate them from other communities and warned to “shape up and toe the line”.
Although the MPs were in agreement that Cheruiyot should be spared because this was his first time to speak on such matters, the legislators vowed to teach Murkomen a lesson for repeating the mistakes he had been warned against.
“I can tell you that the members are unhappy with the behaviour of Murkomen. He was warned just the other day and he seems not to have listened,” said an MP who did not want to be named.
And yesterday, it is understood that during the meeting Murkomen was gagged on dragging the name of the community whenever he gets into trouble with his party, adding that he should carry his own cross because he does not have their blessings to speak for them and the party.
Another colleague was even more emphatic: “We are not going to allow Murkomen to destroy our community; we have resolved to isolate him completely. He is either with us or not”.
This is the second time that the MPs are issuing a warning to Murkomen with sources indicating that Ruto had saved his political skin two weeks ago when his Rift Valley colleagues resolved to deal with him for being a political liability and to calm the upheaval in Jubilee.
Others censured at the meeting included Nandi senator Samson Cherargei and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Joshua Kutuny (Cherang’any) and Cornelly Serem (Aldai).
During the meeting, the legislators also agreed to go silent on the Mau issue on condition that the government carries out the evictions in a humane manner.
The lawmakers agreed to avoid making statements that appear to contradict the government’s position on Mau to stem any tension between members of their community and their Maasai neighbours.
Yesterday, MPs Hillary Koskey (Kipkelion East) and William Chepkut (Kapkatet) confirmed the caucus reached an agreement to let the government handle the controversial Mau evictions without interference.
Their meeting comes at a time when pressure has continued to mount on Murkomen to relinquish his position as the majority leader.
It is understood that the legislators mainly from Central region unhappy with his behaviour could be pushing for his ouster.