Murkomen’s Cabinet talk sparks campaigns for his Senate seat

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen. Aspirants are eyeing his seat following talk that he has been earmarked for a cabinet post in Dr William Ruto's government. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Unofficial campaigns have kicked off in Elgeyo Marakwet following reports that Senator Kipchumba Murkomen could be headed to President William Ruto’s Cabinet.

Talk that Mr Murkomen is earmarked for an executive slot in the Kenya Kwanza government has sparked excitement in the county, with several aspirants unofficially declaring their intentions to succeed him.

On Saturday, the Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group unveiled its proposed National Assembly and Senate leadership and Mr Murkomen, who previously served as majority leader in the latter House, was not on the list.

Locals had anticipated that he would be named majority leader, and the omission heightened speculation that President Ruto may have more for him in his Cabinet lineup.

And even before the official Cabinet list is unveiled, unofficial campaigns have started in earnest, with a dozen aspirants seeking to replace the outspoken senator, who is serving his third term.

Dr William Ruto (centre) campaigning in Iten with Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and other leaders

Dr William Ruto (centre), accompanied by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen third (left), other leaders during a Kenya Kwanza Alliance rally at Iten Stadium in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on July 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Although Mr Murkomen has remained tight-lipped on the matter, only saying ‘let’s wait’ when asked for comment, social media forums are already awash with campaign posters and portraits of aspirants who want to succeed the senator.

Mr Thomas Karamai, a political strategist in Elgeyo Marakwet, said a by-election was just a matter of time.

“We are sure that our senator is headed to the Cabinet, and when it happens, I shall be pushing and backing the candidature of Jackson Kiptanui (former Keiyo South MP) to replace Mr Murkomen,” he said.

Mr Kiptanui is among aspirants eyeing Mr Murkomen’s seat.

Another is lawyer Hillary Kiprop Marrirmoi, who was part of Dr Ruto’s legal team when the Supreme Court heard the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya petition that challenged his win in the August 9 presidential race.

Mr Marrirmoi, who was trounced by Mr Murkomen in the elections, is keen to succeed him if a by-election is called.

Other aspirants are former Marakwet West MP William Kisang, Soy North Ward Rep Jonah Tanui, Mr Eliud Lorpesa and Mr Tim Kipchumba, an author and a mentor.

“I am interested to hear what you think about my interest. It is still very early on this decision but curious what you honestly think,” Mr Kipchumba wrote on social media.  

“Constructive comments and criticisms, messages of support, early volunteers welcome! You can do this publicly and privately.”