February 25th 2018

Opinion / Commentaries

Forget Jubilee propaganda, Marakwets joined Raila, NASA ages ago

If anyone thinks I'm throwing dust to his or her eyes, I challenge him/her to painstakingly read through the online conversations and discourses with these trending hashtags: #InMarakwetHatukoPamoja, #WhowillsaveMarakwets, #BabawelcomeHome and so on and so forth.

By Athanas Kipchumbaakipchumba@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 26 Feb 2017 16:52 EAT

Mr Odinga addressing supporters in Moiben during his visit to the region early in the year.

Contrary to what the ruling coalition's spindoctors and zealous propagandists wants all and sundry to believe, the Marakwet people have - since the unfortunate recurrence of banditry attacks that have forcefully sent many people to the alternative world, undermined the economic prospects in the region and created a fertile ground for abject poverty - shifted their political support and allegiance in favour of the opposition's NASA.

If anyone thinks I'm throwing dust to his or her eyes, I challenge him/her to painstakingly read through the online conversations and discourses with these trending hash tags: #InMarakwetHatukoPamoja, #WhowillsaveMarakwets, #BabawelcomeHome and so on and so forth. Or you can pay a visit to that region.

The atmospheric condition of the Marakwet community is saturated with a universal sickening feelings of the government's betrayal. The exasperated and very demoralised people of Marakwet have in many occasions criticised their political leaders over the leaders' lethargic attitudes and selfishness.

There is also an unsettling issue of Tiaty constituency legislator Asman Kamama still remaining the chair of the parliamentary committee on internal security in the National Assembly. This, in real sense, has sparked more fears and lingering doubts amongst the people who overwhelmingly rallied the unconditional support behind the ruling coalition in 2013.

Yes, going by the 2013 voting pattern, it's accurate to adduce that Jubilee administration bagged ninety eight percent of the votes from the community! However, this time round I'm cock-sure that getting even forty percent is like looking for a black cat in a high-pitched darkness. This highlights why, for the second time, the 'Master of Mock Politics', His Excellency the Deputy President, has once again 'toured' the area with some high profile security bosses.

Ladies and gentlemen, isn't it laughable for the government to shout its lungs out on the rooftops that by recruiting umpteen police reservists (who do excellent job than the trained men in blue) the problem of banditry invasion is dead and buried? Look, sometime last year, the deputy president landed at Tot with his entourage and a bunch of cheerleaders. He promised the starry-eyed people of Marakwet who were silently counting their losses, to 'beef up security' along the entire valley. He haughtily ordered the mean-looking chiefs to start recruiting KPR, who, sadly though, are not paid anything by the government.

In fact, these police reservists are always at the forefront in the battleground. They have families to raise. They are breadwinners in their families, and yet the government is not considering to pay them! When they die in line of duty, no one will compensate them. Just muse over such grime realities.

No sooner had the Jubilee luminary taken his flight after fifteen minutes of hollow political demagoguery to the capital Nairobi than a series of gunshots rented the air. A crystal clear indication that the deputy president was just ploughing the sand. The Pokots are hell-bent on triggering a prodigious wave of insecurity along the Kerio Valley region.

Why are Marakwets laying blames squarely on the Jubilee government, you may ask? The answers are simple: First, the government has tarried in addressing the mind-gnawing issue of insecurity in the region which has remained a thorn in the flesh of the people. It's only because of selfish political ends that has informed the ruling party's decision to 'play softball' upon the ruthless, primitive and bloodthirsty cattle rustlers from Pokot community, particularly of the east.

The county senator has undeniably felt the simmering heat of the political rebellion in the area in question. He has in some occasion been booed and heckled by the infuriated residents at Tot Centre. A large segment of the mini-rally attendees audibly chanted anti-jubilee slogans with some even threatening to harm him! This forced the loquacious Senator, the ardent and indefatigable Jubilee defender who 'sees-no-evil' and 'hears-no-evil' in the UhuRuto government to flee the place as emotions of the deeply angered residents ran high.

Secondly, the government's slothful attitudes towards the grilling of Pokot political leadership validates the community's chilling fears that the government is paying lip service to the issue of cattle rustling along Kerio Valley. And yes, this manifestly demonstrates why Marakwets are openly thronging into the opposition's corner of the political divide, poking big holes on Mr Ruto's claims that his political support base is intact!

The DP is irrefutably an astute and shrewd political leader who sees far into the horizon, like a giraffe. Knowing that his political support base has gradually lost the much needed stability, the wily Willy is boxing us into cleverly designed psychological games in a political atmosphere. He does exceptionally well in political war of nerves, and by extension deceptively beating psychologically people into credulously believing in invisible “development projects”.

Take, for instance, his promise to the Marakwets of ensuring that by the end of Jubilee's first term in power, the road connecting Biretwo-Chesongoch-Tot-Chesegon and beyond would be completed. As I pen this article now, nothing has happened. Truth be told, Mr Ruto imagines we were descending from another planet the other day. Quite hilarious.

Lastly, when the third president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, ascended to the pinnacle of power receiving a massive support from Marakwets in 2002, the banditry attacks along Kerio Valley died a natural death and peace prevailed throughout his ten-year rule. Until recently, when the “children of KANU” (Uhuru and Ruto) took the leadership mantle. Are you smelling a rat here?

In my view, the cartels who were benefiting largely from these criminal activities felt like they could be cornered soon by the Kibaki and even the Kibaki/Raila grand coalition government. Therefore, they had to stop facilitating and abetting these heinous acts of criminality that is cattle rustling! Yeah, this still convinces the Marakwets that Jubilee is dramatizing this issue of insecurity rather than seriously addressing it. With all these errors of omission and commission by the government, you can, as easily as winking, conjecture who will be on the receiving end of the Kerio Valley residents' political wrath.

Jubilee is a hard sell there and that is why the DP is deeply mulling over it amidst disconcerting imaginations of losing part of his stronghold to Mr Odinga aka 'Arap Mibey' as he's popularly known in Kalenjin Nation.

Where there's smoke, believe you me, there's fire.

Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press

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