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Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and his ilk must tolerate dissent

By Kipkoech Tanui | October 2nd 2015

The call of duty took me out of the country for two weeks since I last wrote in this space.

So, I didn’t go underground to dodge the brickbats from those who took a different view from my argument, because they think we all have mortgaged our minds and capacity to give personal and honest views of what we see, hear and think; like them. If my column does not evoke reaction then it means it is dead in the water. Columns, by their nature, are supposed to generate debate.

My column is about to celebrate its 10th birthday with close to 500 pieces so far and without a libel suit at all, and I will stop writing the moment everyone agrees with me. For I would have become a sycophant singing political lullabies in the fashion of court jesters and poets Bishop Henry Okullu had in mind when he chastised certain powerful personalities in the KANU kraal.

I therefore do not mind if, after reading all my arguments, all you have to say is by way of such hilarious conclusions as tweeted by Senator (Dr) Kipchumba Murkomen, @kipmurkomen: “If you want to know what Gideon Moi & KANU think about ICC just read what Kipkoech Tanui his employee & spokesman says.”

Criticism is my readers’ right, but as Murkomen knows, from his otherwise illustrious television interviews before the subject and trajectory of his commentaries became predictable, name-calling, framing and insults are offshoots of propaganda and sycophancy.; not critical analysis of what you should be responding to!

My last two pieces were on the disquiet in the Rift Valley over the direction the serious crimes against humanity cases against Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass FM presenter Joshua Arap Sang at The Hague are taking.

Anchoring the argument has been one linchpin; outcry in the Rift, and in particular, among the Kalenjin who are the majority shareholders in Jubilee Alliance’s URP, that President Uhuru and his ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ were not doing enough to help Ruto-Sang discard the ICC iron-ball chained to their legs, now that the court yanked away their own millstones.

Ever since that outcry, Uhuru and his team went into over-drive to demonstrate they are determined not just to cheer Ruto and Sang on the sidelines, but to also help them kick the ball towards the International Criminal Court’s goal mouth. I am told the one thing those in Jubilee would rather not discuss is perception by Kalenjins that their sons have been left to their own devices and fate, given the flurry of prayers that have followed.

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But it isn’t that the prayer sessions and agitation by the Rift politicians have gone unnoticed. President Uhuru Kenyatta used his tour of the US for a UN engagement to lobby for amendments that would, if backdated, roll back the recanted testimonies from hostile witnesses that the ICC judges allowed the prosecutor to use in her remaining case.

Secondly, Attorney General Githu Muigai has also walked down the exhibition hall to show his hand in the mission to ‘help’ Ruto-Sang.

In Parliament, Anaibkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga is leading efforts to reopen debate on the Waki Report and thus discredit the ICC trial.

Underlying this move is the lurking fear in Jubilee that the issue of ‘fixing’ Ruto and others before the ICC will rope in close associates of former President Mwai Kibaki.

Given the position Uhuru occupied in Kibaki’s political chessboard, it is hard to push this claim without dragging the current President through the mud. Secondly, reopening Waki Report is akin to pouring salt on the bruised egos and raw wounds in the political constituency Uhuru inherited from Kibaki for obvious reasons on who the main victims were.

It will suffice to assure Murkomen and his fellow Ruto followers that, yes, many are praying for an end to Ruto’s case, but the only difference is they have no microphones or cameras, but that does not make their prayers any lesser. Secondly, he surely must be having other views in life to disagree with but they all can’t be Kanu’s.

Thirdly, any inquisition into how the case might go on the basis of the political stakes, does not qualify one as anti-Ruto or a Kanu membership-card carrier.

Fourthly, there are more urgent issues for those who genuinely love Ruto, including helping this nice, gentle and God-loving man to fight off fast-rising perceptions of incapacity to tolerate contrary opinion.

Finally, afford some of us the right to also pray that all the prayers for Ruto and Sang achieve the intended miracle.

Also, may the President’s lobbying, Chepkonga’s motion, Prof Muigai’s actions, and all related activity not be in vain. Amen.

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