93-year-old relieved after monkey skin is returned by DP Ruto’s handlers

Kimitei Kiplagat receives his regalia from Jonah Taalam in Kapkoi village in Eldama Ravine. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]
A Tugen traditional shawl owned by a 93-year-old Eldama Ravine elder was returned days after it went missing after it was used during the coronation of Deputy President William Ruto as an elder.

The story, which was highlighted by The Standard, saw the organisers scrambling to return the traditional regalia last week.  Jonah Taalam, who had borrowed it months ago returned the regalia to the old man Kimitei Kiplagat on Saturday evening - a week after it went missing.

Taalam, however, was put to task by a group of elders who claimed the regalia was used for the ceremony without Kimitei’s knowledge during a six hours meeting where he apologised to the elders.

He revealed that the regalia was taken by the Deputy President’s handlers and stashed in one of his vehicles. He realized later that the regalia had been taken away against his expectations as he hoped to have it back after the ceremony.

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“It happened, the regalia was used while performing a cultural dance I had it but was approached by some people who asked to have it to coronate the DP. I later asked where it was and was told to keep silent, I was shocked and has never been well since then,” said remorseful Taalam.

He revealed that after Kimitei raised concern over the disappearance and the manner the regalia was used without his knowledge it was brought back. He was then asked to collect is at the area chief’s office.

“The regalia belongs to Kimitei, what is going on and what you hear some saying the old man is a liar is malice, I call upon people spreading such rumours to stop ad respect the old man,” he added.

Kimitei who looked relieved and pleased had a chance to inspect what he said was a treasure to him.

The regalia he could tell by touching that it indeed belonged to him and even showed the marks on the regalia.

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He said he does not hold a grudge on anyone and wished he had been approached by the elders to have the regalia used in coronation and he would have advised accordingly.

The return of the regalia was not only a sigh of relief to Kimitei but other village elders who were worried. The cloth as revealed was the only one in the area used during traditional ceremonies.

William Chebet, who is a son of the elderly man said they are happy to have had back the regalia and warned of anyone tarnishing his father’s name.

"We have no problem and we forgive Taalam, however those going around saying the regalia does not belong to mzee should leave us alone. We have our cloth and have no trouble," said Chebet.

Francis Taalam chairman of the family said he was happy that the issue has been sought and the old man had his regalia back.

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dp william rutomonkey skintraditional regalia