The Talai elders on Friday performed sacrifices and cleansed Deputy President William Ruto to protect him from harm and political miseries.
The two-hour elaborate ceremony was organised by the Nandi Laibons Council of Elders and was conducted in Kipsirwo village from 5am to 7am. It was meant to protect the DP from bad omens.
Dressed in a blue blazer and khaki trousers, the DP and his political allies arrived early morning for the ceremony. He was doused with milk and honey from a special traditional gourd by elders dressed in wild animal skins.
The elders, popularly known as Orkoik, held prayers and offered sacrifices on a nearby hill. They included Christopher arap Agui, Lawrence Nganai, and Stephen arap Tormoi.
Ruto was then handed leadership instruments, including a baton (nogirwet) and a traditional stick (Siarit) said to have been used by legendary Nandi chief medicine man Orgoiyot-Kipnyolei arap Turgat. DP William Ruto and Talai elders in Kipsirwo village, Nandi county, on Friday, June 5, 2020.
They had gathered at the home of retired Anglican priest Canon James Baasi. Elders from the larger Talai clan were selected to preside over the event.
One of the elders present at the event told the Star on condition of anonymity that it took them almost six months to convince the DP that he needed to be “protected from political upheavals”.
“This is not a petty ceremony but a serious one. Those who accept it get divine protection from evil spell and physical harm,” he said.
The Talai ceremony also involves dressing of a person with a lion skin and handing him a Colobus Monkey cap as he sits on a special stool, one which was last used to crown President Kenyatta after the Supreme Court ordered a repeat of the 2017 presidential election.
Freedom fighter Koitalel Samoei, who is reported to have predicted the coming of the whites and the construction of the colonial railway, was from the Talai clan.
After the cultural rite, Ruto left the venue at 7am without addressing curious neighbours who had gathered after getting wind of his presence. This came at a time when the DP is facing numerous hurdles within Jubilee in his quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
On Friday, efforts to get the DP’s comments on the event were unsuccessful. His communications secretary David Mugonyi did not respond.
The same elders had given the late President Daniel Moi the famous rungu that highlighted his 24-year rule. The rungu was passed to Moi’s eldest (after Jonathan passed on) son Raymond Moi, who subsequently handed it to Kanu chairman Gideon Moi during their father’s burial in what symbolised the handover of the reins of power.
The Talai clan elders are said to have the power to predict good tidings besides protecting one from harm’s way. They are said to have demanded back the rungu given to Moi in February after the former president died. It’s not clear if they got it back.
Villagers said they were warned by elders against moving closer as the Friday dawn ceremony went on.
“The neighbours communicated to each other on the phone in the early hours of the presence of the DP. He left before we could reach the home,” resident William Kemei said.
Ruto’s falling-out with the President has been worsened by Uhuru’s purge of his close allies from key positions in the Senate and the National Assembly. His latest move is, therefore, an indication that he will stop at nothing to have his name on the ballot, despite an aggressive onslaught by Uhuru to whittle down his influence.
The DP Ruto entourage included Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago and his Nandi counterpart Stephen Sang and MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy), Julius Meli (Tinderet) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi senator).
Others were Cornely Serem (Aldai), Wilson Kogo (Chesumei), area MCA Pius Sing’oei and Amos Korir, a grassroots mobiliser from the area.
They later trooped to the DP’s Sugoi home for a meeting. There was no state official during the visit and the regional administration officers were not informed.