Nandi council drops plan to instal Raila as elder .

Elders in Nandi have cancelled plans to install Prime Minister Raila Odinga as an elder of the community. The elders said they could not give outsiders the honour since the community is yet to come to terms with the impending ICC cases against its own sons, led by Eldoret North MP William Ruto. Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and journalist Joshua Sang are from the same community and also have cases at the ICC over the post-election violence.

The cancelled ceremony has split the elders into two groups; one allied to the PM and another to Ruto. Ruto’s group said they will not accept Raila being made an elder. Mzee John Burgei, 90, who is chairman of the Talai Clan which was set to honour Raila at a traditional ceremony, yesterday said the PM’s cancelled visit to the area has divided the community.

The PM had been scheduled to visit the Talai clan of the legendary Nandi leader the late Orkoiyot Koitalel Arap Samoei at Kapsisiywa where the ceremony was to take place. During the ceremony last Thursday, Raila would have been made to wear traditional uttire known as “Sambut”after blessings to endorse him as a leader.“We cannot bless outsiders when we are crying over the ICC issue. That cannot happen”, said Burgei. “Such a ceremony and blessings can only be given to a reigning President like Kibaki and we already did so for him,” said Burgei. He said the community had in the past bestowed the same honours to former President Moi and the late Mzee Kenyatta.

Interestingly Mzee Burgei said Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta qualifies to get the blessings because his father had gone through the same. Both Raila, Uhuru and Ruto are seeking presidency next year. Burgei blamed the confusion created over the cancelled trip by Raila on the activities of some people whom he termed as “commercial elders”. He spoke in the company of Reverend James Basi.

The clan elders accused alleged “political brokers” in Kapsisywa for commercializing the PM’s tour saying their activities had embarrassed the entire Nandi community and the Kalenjin. Mzee Burgei said no one among his clansmen had been suspended over the issue as claimed earlier. He said they welcomed the PM to tour the area like any other leader in the country.


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