Elder gets back traditional shawl used to coronate DP Ruto

Kimitei Kiplagat receieves his Regalia from Johna Tallam at home in Kapkoi village in Eldama Ravine on May,2018 after it was returned.Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard
A traditional shawl owned by a 93-year-old man from Eldama Ravine was returned to him days after it went missing.

The shawl is said to have been used a week ago during the coronation of Deputy President William Ruto as a Tugen elder.

Its owner, Kimitei Kiplagat, had, however cried foul, saying he did not give consent for the use of the shawl that he had earlier lent a friend at the ceremony.

The story, which was highlighted by The Standard last Thursday, saw the organisers scrambling to return the traditional regalia to the elderly man.  

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Mr Jonah Taalam, who had months ago borrowed the shawl, locally knows as Sambut, returned it to its owner on Saturday evening.


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

He said the regalia was taken by the Deputy President’s handlers and stashed in one of his vehicles. He realised later that the regalia had been taken away despite him having hoped to have it back after the ceremony.

“It happened that the regalia was used while performing a cultural dance. I had it but I was approached by some people who asked to have it to coronate the DP. I later asked where it was and was told to be silent,” said a remorseful Taalam.

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He said after Kimitei raised concern over the 'disappearance' of the shawl, it was returned and 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 are lies told by the old man is malice. I call upon people spreading such rumours to stop and respect the old man,” Taalam added.

Kimitei, who looked relieved as he received the shawl, was pleased at having a chance to inspect what he said was a treasured possession.

He said he does not hold any grudge against anyone and wished he had been approached by the elders to have the shawl used in coronation of the DP. He says he could have advised them accordingly.

The return of the shawl was not only a relief for Kimitei but other village elders, who were worried after word went round that it was "missing".

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The shawl is said to be the only one in the area, used during traditional ceremonies.

William Chebet, a son of the elderly man, said they are happy to have the shawl back. "We have no problem and we forgive Taalam. However, those going around saying the regalia does not belong to mzee should leave us alone and stop holding Press conferences. We have our cloth and have no trouble," said Mr Chebet.

Francis Taalam, the family's chairman, was happy that the matter had finally been resolved, and that the old man got his regalia back.

After the meeting ended late in the evening and Kimitei was handed back the shawl, he promptly wrapped it around his waist.

There was a smile on the old man's face after braving the chilly evening to see the culmination of a meeting at his home that was crowned with the return of his shawl.

traditional regaliaDP Rutocoronation