In simplest of terms, Kirwokindet is a judge while Kandoindet is a leader. In Kalenjin family both Kirwokindet and Kandoindet have different meanings and roles. Their decisions and advice in the society are of great importance.
Both have similar and distinct roles. They bring people together and advice the way forward on critical matters. In Kalenjin, both are tasked to offer solutions where there are challenges.
But a judge, who normally mediate between two disputing parties, is less experienced in uniting people and doesn’t have the favour of the masses, but the Kirwokindet title elavates him slightly above a common man. Many of them use this opportunity to sit in the podium, give a speech, and often threaten with the rule of law. Law that instill fear in the masses and once the fear mood gets into the congregation, nobody will likely be attracted to the Kirwokindet, but to calm and listen to the command – after all, who wants to be jailed?
Apart from resolving conflicts and assisting in keeping peace and harmony, nothing substantial is expected from Kirwokindet as compared to Kandoindet.
A genuine Kandoindet have the favour of the masses. The people are usually happy around him. This person is viewed to bring redemption and change the status quo of the community. Fame notwithstanding, many of them appeals to the people and are viewed as a source of hope. Leaders want to develop the community infrastructure, improve health and access to education. The people get jobs and the standards of living improve. Kandoindet is seen as committed to creating wealth in the society. They walk the talk.
Deputy president William Samoei Ruto was recently in Nandi for a fundraiser. A glimpse of his clip giving a speech arouse a dilemma of him being termed either a Kirwokindet, Kandoindet or both.
A leader doesn’t “use” his people for self interests and cannot utter unprintable words reffering to unsupporters. A leader cannot take advantage of people’s illiteracy, to lie and promise a project that will never come into fruition. Or just remember to come back to the people when another election comes with an intention to use the masses as voting machines, before vanishing.
Kandoindet in Nandi, Kipsigis, Tugen, Marakwet, Keiyo and the rest of the family belonged to the whole community and his ‘raided’ wealth was for all and sundry, and was not selfish like Kirwokindet can be.
Is William Samoei Ruto a Kirwokindet or Kandoindet, or is he a Kirwokindet disguised as a Kandoindet, or vice versa?
– This article was inspired by a lengthy conversation and an issue raised by Jonah Kap Kemei, among other friends from Kaplelmet.
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