The two had been together the previous day, protesting changes in the Senate’s leadership that the ruling Jubilee party had made.
He rushed into the chamber hot on the heels of a ruling by Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka that confirmed his sacking, hurtling towards the all familiar seat whose comfort he has never had to share for the close to three years he had been the top senator.
There it was, unblemished. He stared at it, hoping and praying that the events of the previous day had been a nightmare. But the speaker’s words left no doubt. Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen was no longer Senate’s Leader of Majority. He had been replaced by his West Pokot counterpart Samuel Poghisio.
He sat down, banging his head at the back of the seat and slowly sank inside it, despair written all over his face. He had entered the House with, among others, former Majority Whip Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika. The two had been together the previous day, protesting changes in the Senate’s leadership that the ruling Jubilee party had made.
Their cries had taken them to the House where they hoped they would find some sort of recourse but the speaker did not see things like they did. They had been casualties. But they would not go down without a fight. Just like a colleague on the other side of the aisle, they were about to make a mess. A noisy mess.
Two of their colleagues on the majority side spoke before them, pleading on their behalf that they both be spared. But it was too late, as nominated Senator Judith Pareno affirmed, the Speaker had ruled with finality on their fate.
“You have been pushed to a corner to make that decision,” bemoaned Murkomen, looking at the speaker, his voice heavy with a feeling of betrayal. He then broke down into a flurry of lamentations, having been tossed off the edge of the political cliff. He had been unable to dam the flood of grief in which he was slowly drowning.
He went on with what increasingly sounded like a farewell speech, pouring emotion into every word he said and slinging bits of scripture every once in a while.
“Prepare yourself for the day you leave that position,” he advised his successor, before resuming his sobbing.
Futility of crying
Kihika had her chance to grieve in the afternoon sitting that Wednesday. Unlike Murkomen, she began less emotionally, perhaps having learnt from the experience of her former majority leader the futility of crying. But it wasn’t long before her voice began to rise. And rise it did, gradually, with every sentence, before hitting crescendo.
“We shall continue to be independent-minded,” she ranted before her rambling was interrupted just as she was about to read a quote by former US President John F Kennedy. The veil with which she had hidden her emotions had fallen off and not even her facemask could conceal the hurt.
In the end, they had to accept their new reality and their colleagues made sure to make the transition as smooth as they could. One after the other, they rose to console them.
“You will resurrect someday,” remarked Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko, sentiments echoed by his Kakamega colleague Cleophas Malala.
Others like Vihiga’s George Khaniri did not squander the chance to chide the pair who had been ‘eaten’ by their own. “You cannot fight systems,” he concluded.
The new leaders took over with humility as they rendered their maiden speeches. Poghisio, who was now seated at Murkomen’s former spot, had nothing but praise for the two while the Majority Whip Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata spared them his characteristic lashing.