Women from Samburu County, who protested against Opposition chief Raila Odinga, during his February 6 visit to the county, have been summoned to appear before the Samburu Council of Elders on Friday, March 3 – and each is expected to take with her a goat.
Over 1000 Samburu elders, who met at Yamo area in Maralal Town on Tuesday, endorsed a decision to have those who participated, or sponsored, the demonstrations against Mr Odinga to appear before them with a goat, which will be slaughtered for cleansing purposes, failure to which the demonstrators would be cursed.
“Those who took part in the protest against Raila Odinga have been given one week to appear before the elders for questioning. They would, thereafter, be cleansed for the wrong they committed, failure to which we will cast a curse on them,” said Joseph Lenanguram, a Samburu elder.
The elders, led by their Chairman, John Lengurikuri, have also given a directive that no activity should take place at Kenyatta Stadium, a venue where the demonstrations were held, before the cleansing ceremony is completed.
Besides “going against the cultural values of the Samburu community”, the elders claim the act of women burning and burying placards carrying the name and image of Mr Odinga – and other leaders – was an act of embarrassment to the community and its leaders.
John Lopokopeny, an elder, said: “Showing disrespect to Raila Odinga, who is a national leader – and a monumental figure recognised across the world –, is an act of embarrassment that should never be tolerated in the county. Raila has a right to give a speech to people in this county. We have met to break a curse cast on him.”
The elders affirmed: “Samburu is a democratic county, where the opposition leader – just like other leaders – is free to visit and request for votes. Mr Odinga enjoys respect from the residents.”
A group of women held demonstrations against Mr Odinga on February 6, a week after he had toured Maralal and Baragoi towns of Samburu County.
Raila accused the leaders of using development funds to acquire private property in the county and in Nairobi. He claimed they have bought huge pieces of property whose costs do not match their earnings.
“Raila was not received by any elected Samburu leader when he visited this place last week. It shows he cannot work with anyone here. We don’t want a leader like Raila who doesn’t show respect for our own,” said Jilisen Lenkupae.
The protesters said they were affiliated to the ruling coalition, Jubilee Party, and would vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election on August 8 – and Deputy President William Ruto in 2022.
Raila toured the county accompanied by former Samburu West MP simeon Lesirma, woman representative aspirant Pauline Lengrus and Laikipia North MP Mathew Lemprukel.