Discord rocks Ruto camp as CS Kipchumba Murkomen, Senator Cherargei openly feud

Kipchumba Murkomen and Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei

Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen (left) and Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei during a fundraiser in aid of women and boda boda groups in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, on June 23, 2023. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Murkomen has threatened to sue Cherargei over ‘defamatory remarks.’
  • The Senator allegedly depicted the CS as corrupt and lacking integrity.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has threatened to institute legal proceedings against Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, accusing him of defamation.

Through Ongoya and Wambola Advocates, Mr Murkomen is demanding an apology from Mr Cherargei over statements he made on November 29, allegedly tarnishing the CS’s character.

The demand letter states that Mr Cherargei depicted Mr Murkomen as corrupt, lacking integrity, betraying the electorate, seeking parliamentary protection for wrongdoing, and being unfit for public office.

The law firm said it considers these statements libellous and damaging to the minister’s reputation.

Mr Cherargei has, however, stated on his social media platforms that he will not apologise and is prepared to prosecute the matter in court.

The legal dispute adds fuel to the ongoing conflict between Mr Murkomen and some MPs and governors from Rift Valley revolving around resource allocation and power struggles associated with the 2032 succession politics.

In a recent interview, Mr Cherargei defended the MPs’ scrutiny of Cabinet secretaries.

“There is nothing personal about holding the Cabinet secretaries to account. As a matter of fact, if the CSs fail in their dockets, it means the Presidency has failed. We do not want that to happen under our watch,” Mr Cherargei told Daily Nation.

“What is personal about asking Mr Murkomen, for example, why the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport terminal was in a state of disrepair with leaking roofs that have shamed our country? Why would one form a committee to look into that? When we ask about state of roads, airports, airstrips, is that a personal or national matter?” Mr Cherargei posed.

Some local leaders, including Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok, Nandi Woman Rep Cynthia Muge, and Mr Cherargei, have been critical of Mr Murkomen’s alleged interference in North and South Rift politics, accusing him of withholding funds for road construction from certain counties.

Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno has further escalated tensions by advocating for a Rift Valley kingpin narrative, entangling the minister in the 2032 succession politics.

Mr Ng’eno and Mr Cherargei have explicitly urged President Ruto not to intervene in the evolving political landscape.

Mr Ng’eno criticized certain CSs for engaging in succession politics instead of focusing on development.

“When we criticize the CSs and other top government officials, we mean well and we want them to deliver on their mandate in line with the Kenya Kwanza manifesto and promises to the people of Kenya,” Mr Ngeno said.

In response to the criticism, Mr Murkomen recently held a meeting with Bomet MPs to clarify allocations for roads projects in the county.

He revealed that Bomet has received over Sh5 billion for ongoing roads projects, with additional funds allocated for road maintenance in each constituency.

However, Governor Barchok maintains that no new infrastructure projects have been initiated under Mr Murkomen’s leadership, accusing him of neglecting Bomet County.