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Kipchumba Murkomen: The Elgeyo Marakwet Senator talks about how he made it


Kipchumba MurkomenYou are quite successful; were you brought up in affluence?

No, I grew up a village boy; a son of a squatter in Embobut forest. It was common to hear baboons barking and birds singing. I feel nostalgic when I think of a typical evening in my village. I skipped pre-unit; going straight into primary school.

What kind of a student were you?

I was a good performer. On my first attempt at KCSE in 1993, I only qualified to join a district school. I decided to give the apple a second bite in 1994 and I did exceptionally well. That was my breakthrough. I joined St Joseph’s High School, Kitale, but I later moved to my dream School — St Patricks High School, Iten.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a lawyer?

I did my Law degree at the University of Nairobi. I later won a scholarship to do a Masters of Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. I have also attended the American University’s Washington College of Law.

What drew you to politics?

My love for politics began way back. At St Patrick High School, I campaigned and was voted by students to be the dining hall captain. At the University of Nairobi, I became the first Second Year student to be elected the chairman of the prestigious Kenya Law Students Society. I worked hard to bring back the student union, which had been banned at the time.

How was it being a leader then?

I was instrumental in reforming the student union and introducing the first Student Parliament in Kenya. I also served as the chairman of the East Africa Law Students Society. My best stint in student leadership was when I was elected chairman of Fellowship of Christian Unions’ National Students Executive Council that led over 25 Christian unions in universities and colleges.

Did you always feel that you would be a leader in government?

When I ran to be senator last year, many people who knew me were not surprised. It was a matter of when not if. I am a product of mentorship and training on leadership and I owe a lot of it to many people who have heavily invested in me.

What don’t people know about you?

I can’t ride a bicycle.

What’s one thing you regret after joining politics?

I feel that politics is robbing us time to visit our family friends. I genuinely miss spending time with my friends, including college and professional colleagues. I try to catch up with a few of them, but politics is not a walk in the park.

What do you do in your free time?

I watch football a lot. I played in school and was one of the best scorers. I support Gor Mahia locally and Manchester United in the English premier league.

Do you follow fashion trends?

I don’t have fashion sense at all. I just wear anything that makes me look smart. My wife and I were looking at my campus album and we agreed nimetoka mbali.

What has been the biggest struggle in your life?

Getting a good education.

Who inspires your brand of politics?

I admire the humility of Billy Graham, Julius Nyerere and Mahatma Gandhi; the willpower and organisation skills of Tom Mboya and William Ruto. I also admire  the foresight that was in Martin Luther King Jnr; the determination of Wangari Mathai, the persistence of Raila Odinga, the persuasiveness of Uhuru Kenyatta and the eloquence of Barack Obama, the perseverance and forgiveness of Nelson Mandela and the wisdom of Jesus Christ.

How do you maintain eloquence during debates?

I try to speak my mind freely. I also read fairly, especially biographies and autobiographies. I, however, know I am still work in progress.

What does it take to accomplish dreams like yours?

It takes God and a host of men and women who are willing to lend you their shoulders to stand on. But most importantly, you must have a vision: commit to the vision; have determination and focus, and the resilience to overcome all forces of resistance.

 What’s your advice to the youth?

Don’t wait for affirmative action. There is great potential for every young person to influence the world. Don’t focus on your challenges; instead, find ways to convert those challenges into opportunities.

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