Mathew Lempurkel: The forsaken rabble-rouser - Daily Nation

Ex-MP Lempurkel faces sad reality amid court cases

Saturday March 17 2018

laikipia Mathew Lempurkel

Mr Mathew Lempurkel at a Kibera court on July 24, 2017. He has been accused of inciting Laikipia locals to invade private ranches. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MWANGI NDIRANGU
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Controversial former Laikipia North MP Mathew Lakidime Lempurkel is finding himself an isolated man with each passing day.

Since losing his seat to Ms Sarah Korere in last year’s General Election, his troubles appear to have tripled and his close allies are now giving him a wide berth.

With nine criminal cases now pending before court and one still under investigation, hitherto close friends are deserting Mr Lempurkel in droves, including senior officials in his party, the Orange Democratic Movement.

As the number of friends decline, police are having a field day harassing him.

BOND

Last week, he was tricked to visit Rumuruti Police Station and was arrested.

The same day he was taken to five police stations, including one in Subukia, Nakuru County, before being presented to a Nanyuki court the following day at 5pm.

Though he was released on a bond of Sh250,000 after denying charges of inciting the Pokot and the Samburu to revenge against “disappearance of our people in the hands of police”, the ruling on bond application was delivered at 6.30pm long after the court registry had closed, forcing him to spend another night in police cells.

Many of the cases are related to incitement to violence with the latest arrest last Tuesday being in connection with the offence of conspiring to commit murder and for which he is set to appear in court on Tuesday.

SUPPORTERS
Last Thursday, the former MP appeared at Milimani Law Courts where he is facing charges of assaulting his successor, Ms Korere.

The offence was allegedly committed in the office of the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.

The drama that marked his previous court appearances with placard waving supporters proclaiming his innocence is no longer witnessed these days.

He now cuts an image of a lonely man with only close relatives accompanying him to court.

At some point last year, ODM even hired a chopper for Senior Counsel James Orengo to represent him in court.

The court precincts would be jammed with supporters, a situation that necessitated deployment of additional police officers to maintain order.

SENTENCING
In one of the many cases that he has faced in the recent past, the Siaya Senator secured Mr Lempurkel’s freedom after successfully arguing against accusation that he murdered rancher Tristan Voorspuy, the co-owner of Sosian Ranch.

His efforts to have Senator Orengo defend him in a case where he is alleged to have incited his supporters to burn Rumuruti Police Station hit a cropper despite numerous adjournments.

Eventually, the former MP settled for a Nanyuki based lawyer William Bwonwonga when the trial magistrate ruled that the case would proceed with or without a defence counsel.

Judgment is eagerly awaited on the Rumuruti case after the court ruled that Mr Lempurkel has a case to answer and was put to his defence.

He will be back in court on Monday where the court will fix a day of sentencing in the case on the offence of incitement to violence.

VIOLENCE
While the former MP is considered a hero by a section of his Samburu community, security chiefs, ranchers and the farming community of Laikipia County see him as a villain.

His style of politics is viewed as too confrontational and bordering on anarchy and lawlessness.

But Mr Lempurkel has distanced himself from the tag “warlord” that security chiefs have branded on him and says he is only fighting for the interest of the pastoralist community.

“Drought has brought suffering to pastoralists who depend on livestock for their livelihood. Population increase has resulted in diminishing of grazing land, our people are suffering,” the former MP told the Nation in an interview last year.

He denied that he advocates for violence.

“My numerous arrests have all to do with political persecution since I belong to an opposition party. Some of the crimes I have been accused of committing are malicious and that is why I was acquitted on murder charges against rancher Voorspuy,” he said.

ELECTION
However, it is an open secret that Mr Lempurkel has been in bad books with the government and the Jubilee administration was keen to ensure that he did not recapture his Laikipia North seat.

During the campaigns ahead of last year’s General Election, President Uhuru Kenyatta while on a campaign rally at Ngenia Secondary School grounds urged the voters not to re-elect him and instead vote for Ms Korere.

Incidentally, after Mr Lempurkel’s defeat in the polls, Laikipia North witnessed relative peace with armed herders who had invaded private lands going back to their home counties of Isiolo and Samburu.

Ranchers, who had borne the brunt of the armed invasions, have all along attributed the lawlessness experienced in the region to poor political leadership, an insinuation that the MP could have played a part in deaths and destruction of property by inciting herders to invade their farms.

INVASIONS

Laikipia security chiefs led by County Commissioner Onesmus Musyoki do not mince their words when they accused Mr Lempurkel of facilitating armed invasions.

“The politician has been inciting herders from Samburu and Isiolo to come to Laikipia and has in fact told them to be prepared to take over the land owned by white ranchers.

"We have been monitoring him closely and the law will deal with him ruthlessly,” Mr Musyoki told Sunday Nation.

CHARGES
Police commander Simon Kipkeu says they are not yet done with the controversial politician, a hint that his court appearances might increase in coming days with more charges being brought against him.

Despite finding himself on the wrong side of the law, drama and controversy is like a second name to Mr Lempurkel.  

Details of his education and career background are scanty and before venturing into elective politics, he is known for heading a charitable trust-Ndugu Zanguni in Isiolo County, which has supported hundreds of children undergo heart surgery in Italy.

In 2014, the then MP missed a parliamentary committee trip to Europe after he was kicked out of the airplane for being drunk and rowdy.