Kamket’s installation as elder sets ground for political wars

Tiaty MP William Kamket joins women in a dance after being installed a Pokot elder at Katungura village, Paka Hills, Baringo County. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]
From a journalist to a Hansard reporter, to Speaker of County Assembly to Member of Parliament and now an elder and a spokesperson of Pokot Community, Tiaty Member of Parliament William Kamket’s career is not about to be over.

Kamket can’t tell the exact date he was born but his national identity card indicates that he was born in 1973

The legislator was last week installed as a Pokot elder at Katungura village Orus location, Tiaty Baringo County.

A section of MCAs from the Pokot Community have declared that Kamket is the voice of the people.

This, however, has not been received well by some leaders from the community.

Sam Lokales who is the leader of Minority in the Baringo County Assembly and Tirioko ward rep said they will rally behind Kamket.

“We will follow him, he says we go right we will, left we will follow suit especially on matters politics,” Lokales said.

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Kolowa MCA, Solomon Makal announced that they believe in Kamket and have given him the power to speak on behalf of the community and to give them political direction.

“We believe in him and he can speak on our behalf, we will agree on the direction he takes,” Makal said.

Handing over ceremony

Tangulbei Korossi ward MCA Mailuk Shadrack concurred with the MCAs saying the MP is free to traverse the Pokot nation.

Churo-Amaya MCA Ameja Selemoi, who also is the Baringo County Assembly deputy speaker, said Kamket’s installation as a Pokot elder was in order.

He explained that the MP will replace West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo whose term as the community elder has elapsed. 

“We installed him to the leadership position in 2015 and all Pokots from Laikipia to Uganda supported him. Lonyangapuo should now respect Kamket,” Selemoi said.

He reveled that there will be a handing over ceremony which Prof Lonyangapuo is expected to preside over.

Kamket was adorned with a leopard skin and a head gear with white and black ostrich feathers.

Pokot elder Lomamkong Amasile, 75, said the installation ceremony dictates the future leadership and destination of the Pokot nation.

But former Tiaty MP Joseph Lotodo dismissed Kamket’s installation as political. Lotodo, a former Assistant Minister of East Africa Cooperation was previously crowned and was given the Pokot garments including one that is called alem.

“The headgear given to Kamket as a junior Kaplelach ageset and son of Korongoro age set at Katungura is called akope and not alem used to promote respected spokesperson of Pokot nation,” Mr Lotodo said.

“He (Kamket) cannot control majority of the Pokot, and it would not be easy for him. Pokot in the west are the majority and us in the east have no say. Kamket should have waited at least to serve his second term,” he added.

Lotodo argued that Lonyangapuo remains the elder and spokesperson of the community as there can be no other elder while one elder is still alive.

Former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama claimed that Kamket’s installation was done in a remote location and in a secluded area.

“The installation of Kamket is a big joke to the community and invites a curse. Installation is done in an open area and Lonyangapuo is still our leader backed by me and Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto on the other side,” Mr Kamama said.

The West Pokot Governor said the installation of Kamket was a non-issue to the Pokot community. But the MP maintained that he is the leader of the community.

“It is not about whether I will be the king or not, I am the king of the Pokot Community,” Kamket said.

Kamket does not mince his words and has even taken on the Deputy President William Ruto over his presidential ambitions.  The first-time MP has been vocal in defending the people especially in the bandit prone Tiaty. The Kanu MP has blamed the DP for the woes facing the community.

He claimed that the shoot to kill order by Ruto at Sibilo Baringo North in February 2017 still rings in his mind.

“We will not allow Ruto to walk on the skeletons of our people, the skeletons of our 7,000 cows will prick him and he will not be able to walk, he must be ordered to pay,” he said.

He hit out at the governor for associating with the DP. 

On constitutional amendments, the MP’s has proposed to whittle down the powers of the presidency and introduce a powerful prime minister.

The MP also proposed that the president should serve a single seven-year term.

The president is to be elected in a joint sitting of Parliament convened on the first Thursday of December.

Kamket’s journey to leadership started at Nginyang’ Primary School where he was a prefect.

He later joined Tenges Secondary School where he studied from 1989 to 1992.

The MP said teachers said he was rowdy because he used to present students grievances.

To tame him, he was appointed a dormitory captain, position he held from Form One to Four.

He later joined Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) where he declared interest to run for a seat but did not like the constitution governing the elections.

Push for amendments

Kamket led students to push for amendments of the constitutions before the elections were held.

“It is during that time that I was suspended but I managed to convince the authorities that I had no ill intention and was allowed back in school,” he said.

Kamket graduated from KIMC in 1996 and in 1997, he joined Parliament as a Hansard reporter. He resigned to pursue a degree in mass communication at Makerere University in Uganda.

His successfully vied for a position at Makerere University to represent the Kenya Student Association.

In March 2015, he was impeached as the Speaker of Baringo County Assembly.

He was reinstated by the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru.

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Pokot CommunityWilliam KamketPokot Elder