MP MATHEW LEMPURKEL: ENDLESSLY CONTROVERSIAL
Those close to the MP say he is keen to emerge as the undisputed king of the Samburu people, especially in Laikipia. He thus has put into motion schemes that would see him emerge as the preeminent defender of the rights of indigenous communities, the same
THERE was little surprise when Mathew Lempurkel, the Laikipia North MP, was arrested on Tuesday and arraigned in court for public disturbance.
Those who have followed the political career of the first term MP know that he is no stranger to public altercations.
The first time the Laikipia North MP brought himself to national attention was in 2014.
That was when he was thrown out of a Europe-bound Emirates Airline plane.
The then little known MP had demanded to be served his beer of choice even before the plane lifted off.
“Other passengers had boarded but we had to wait for him to board. He came in drunk and demanded to be served with a local beer,” one newspaper reported.
The airline crews insistence that they could only serve alcohol when the plane was airborne fell on deaf ears.
“The pilot declared he would not fly a rogue passenger and the MP was thrown out.”
The news would thrust the previously unknown MP into the national limelight, 2nd, thereafter, his life has been characterized by one controversy after another.
Lempurkel’s political profile has in recent days been on the rise.
He has emerged as a fighter for the rights of the groups that feel that they are disregarded by a reportedly powerful clique of ranchers who own large tracts of land in the larger Laikipia county.
Those close to the MP say he is keen to emerge as the undisputed king of the Samburu people, especially in Laikipia. He thus has put into motion schemes that would see him emerge as the preeminent defender of the rights of indigenous communities, the same way the late William Ntimama rose to prominence as the defender of Maasai land rights.
In 2003, Lempurkel, led members of his Samburu community in invading the larger ranches in the county.
The invasion was allegedly based on a treaty the Maasai signed with the British colonial government in 1904, which gave the colonial power a 100-year lease on their ancestral lands.
To justify the invasion, Lempurkel argued the colonial agreements had expired after 99 years.
However, his critics see him as the classic political schemer who is inclined to abuse the power he wields as an elected representative.
Apart from being taken off planes, he has now been accused of assaulting women. Before his latest infamy, that has dragged him to the courts, the MP had made headlines when he was involved in public altercation with Nominated Mp Sarah Korere over a microphone.
The Laikipia North MP had arrived at a fundraiser organised by the Nominated MP and proceded to wrestle the microphone from her.
Lempurkel was unhappy that the meeting had been organised behind his back and that the organisers had failed to recognise him as the duly elected MP.
The MP would later be involved in another public spat, when he slapped a petrol service station attendant. He also had another brawl — in a pub in Mombasa.
Last year, he got into trouble with some of his constituents when he attempted to serve a court order on administrators of an NGO in the area.
The MP had gone to serve officers at Ndugu Zanguni Christian community with court orders when the community had attacked him with stones, and subsequently prevented him from leaving.
Ndungu Zanguni is the NGO he previously worked for, but left in unclear circumstances.
He holds a Bachelors degree from a Tanzania-based academic institution.
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