Onesmus Kipchumba Murkomen’s rise to fame can be likened to a shooting star, whose prominence shone so bright, but lasted for a very short time.
An unknown lawyer, Murkomen shot to fame in 2013 after beating the late Nicholas Biwott in the Elgeyo-Marakwet Senatorial race in 2013, becoming the first senator of the county.
He was then a musketeer of Deputy President William Ruto, credited for massive grassroots campaigns in the Rift Valley region for Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta, who were in a joint ticket for Presidency.
In the 2017 general elections, Murkomen would trounce former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo in the senatorial race, making him almost a political supremo not only in Elgeyo Marakwet, but also in Kenya.
President Kenyatta and his Deputy Ruto would reward him with the seat of the Majority Leader in the Senate, where he ensured that all government interests were taken care of.
During his tenure, all government bills, whether good or bad, passed through. Whoever stood in his way would feel the punch of power that Murkomen wielded. Both common citizens and politicians wowed and bowed to his power. The power worked magic for him. It was epic.
Apart from the power, Murkomen enjoyed hefty perks including allowances, official cars, bodyguards and plum office with the support staff at Parliament Buildings.
It was expected that Murkomen would enjoy all these up to 2022 when President Kenyatta retired. After 2022, if Ruto took power, maybe Murkomen would enjoy bigger power.
But things changed, and they were so fast for Murkomen to notice. DP Ruto fell out with President Kenyatta, with the second in command starting campaigns in 2018, a year after elections, or rather four years before elections.
The “dynamic duo” severed ties, and their followers had to choose a side. Murkomen decided to follow his tribesman, William Ruto.
Despite warnings from the President, Ruto engaged the President in a political battle, showing open defiance and at times opposing government projects.
Ruto brigade joined in, beating drums of war, and at times engaging in the war itself by taking a swipe at the President. Murkomen led the brigade, both inside the chambers and outside.
The President was angry and was forced to crack the whip. A Senate Parliamentary Group meeting was called at State House in May 2020 and Murkomen was unceremoniously ousted from his seat. He tried to challenge the legality of the meeting, but he could not change anything.
Ruto kept mum, even as his musketeers were tossed about. Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika was also kicked out as the Majority Whip in the meeting. The war was on.
Murkomen’s perks were reduced. He was now a hungry man, who became very angry. He started fighting everyone he thought was on the side of the government. In the Senate chambers, he became almost uncontrollable, heckling even the Speaker.
He was a bitter man.
His social media posts bordered hatred towards the President, and sometimes the first family.
Just like Ruto, newspaper cuttings and some incomplete history pieces became his solace and his major tool for fighting the government.
Though one of the most vocal debaters in the Senate, his time was reduced just like that of other senators.
The Murkomen of today is rarely seen accompanying Ruto in political rallies and church functions.
On Twitter, he has been reduced to retweeting Ruto’s posts and Manchester United posts. Whenever he opines on an issue outside Senate, his opinion is not as strong as before. He is a bit more careful.
He rarely appears in media interviews and is no longer a newsmaker, and if he does, it is not as prominent as before.
He looks like a man trying as much as possible to avoid the political quagmire involving Kenyatta, Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Though he still supports DP Ruto in his Presidential quest, he does not look convinced. Maybe he supports him for lack of a better option.
Murkomen has been conspicuously missing in meeting held at Ruto’s Karen residence, famously known as the “Hustler’s Mansion”. It looks like he is not among the inner circle of friends for William Ruto.
Men like Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua and his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi seem to be closer to Ruto than Murkomen.
Whether he (Murkomen) is in or out, it is just a matter of time.