Barng’tuny arap Kosgey, fondly known as Mugeni arap Mondi was a renowned Kipsigis prophet, locally maotiot. Before assuming the role of prophecy, he worked as a messenger. He was tasked with relaying prophetic messages from his maternal uncles from Nandi to the Kipsigis community.
Born to Kimondi arap Sinei, his mother was a daughter of Chepakikware, wife of Kipnyole arap Turugat. He was from the Kipkendek clan. His family lived in Nandi before migrating to Kapchepkora in Sotik. However, Mugeni had a brief interaction with his father since he died when Mugeni was still young.
The name Mugeni was coined the time he accompanied his uncle, arap Koilegen to Mombasa in 1913 during British celebrations. When he got back home, the British told the locals “Huyu ni mgeni wenu” and people henceforth, named him Mugeni.
Mugeni was a responsible family man with one wife who begot him, four sons and three daughters. Mugeni’s curtain fell in the 1920s and his body was buried behind present day Sotik Police Station.
It is reported that he started seeing visions when he was too old to be believed. He belonged to the Kipkoimet age-set (Korong’oro) and so the age-set that listened to his visions was the then youth of Nyoong’i.
Although many described him as a yet-to-go mad villager, Mugeni said a lot of things that later came to pass. Some of his prophecies were as follows:
A route in the sky
One day while sitting under a shed, he told people that he is seeing a route in the sky and people are going through it from East to West. Those who were there laughed him off and left citing that one can’t stay in the sky where the only thing in existence is the air. Others said that he is saying those words to be given the local brew because he was too old.
Not so long after his demise, people were shocked to see planes flying in the sky ferrying people from the Eastern side of Africa to Europe and vice versa.
White settlers shall go
His prophecy on the end of colonialism came in many ways. He said that there will be a bridge in Kimase, presently Mugeni’s bridge locally “Etyet ab Mugeni”. He said that no man without pierced ears would pass through it. Those who witnessed him talk thought that when the construction of the bridge is over, all people’s ears will be pierced for them to be allowed to cross the bridge but Mugeni’s vision translated to something different.
He meant that by the time the construction will be complete, the colonialists will be long gone putting into consideration that the colonialist’s ears were not pierced. He said that the bridge will connect Sotik (Kamosop) center to Kenya Cooperative Creameries where milk will be processed and distributed to the environs.
He also said that there will be a small plant somewhere in Sotik, locally known as sosiot. He said that it is small but it will grow immensely and unbelievably upon the going of the whites. Those who were present didn’t believe him citing that the growth of sosiot is faster and the fact that whites were fully settled in the land with no signs of leaving anytime soon for instance they had a large herd of cattle, permanent buildings and large tracts of land. It is worth noting that the settlers had employed a good number of the natives to work on their farms.
There will be a bridge in Sotik West
Mugeni said that there comes a time when a bridge will be put up on the western side of Sotik. He pointed at that particular place but people gave him deaf ears saying that the place was too bushy and it had an impassable cliff. After his demise, people were later astonished to see white engineers laying the bridge on the same site where he had pointed. The bridge connects Sotik and Kisii. It is important to note that Mugeni had said that white settlers shall not use the same bridge.
He added that the other side of the bridge is Kamosop presently Sotik and its environs. He said that bridge will serve as the parting point for the Kipsigis community. According to him, some will go westwards and others will go to the Eastern side.
Those who go to the Western side will be wealthy and healthy characterized by families with few children. For those who will travel Eastwards, most will be poor and characterized by red teeth and large families which is hard to fend for. In this particular vision, Mugeni had his understanding but he never interpreted it to the people.
Immediately after the construction of the bridge was completed, Kenya attained its independence and as put by Mugeni, whites went back to their respective countries in peace thus making his prophecy a dream come true because the white settlers never used the bridge.
While standing in the evening facing west at Kapchepkoro where he lived, Mugeni said “I am seeing crystal white buildings in the field”. Those who were present were shocked since they were not seeing anything. It later dawned on the people that Mugeni meant that there will be a shopping center in the present-day Sotik.
Mugeni continued and said, “I am seeing cows cultivating in the field”. People looked at each other and laughed trying to figure out a situation where an ox has grown hands. Later after his demise, there was the invention of the ox-plow. Mugeni as usual didn’t give a succinct interpretation of his visions.
He went on and said that upon crossing the bridge, people will be required to give their details for instance; name and community they come from. This later manifested as the introduction of the identity card (Kipande system).
Kipsigis and Abagusii shall live in one homestead
Mugeni one day faced the Abagusii land and said that there comes a time when Kipsigis and Abagusii will live in peace and harmony. They will live in one homestead and two bulls shall fight, one belonging to the Kipsigis and another one for the Abagusii. After the fight, they will come together and live as a family considering that they neighbours.
He said that Kipsigis crops shall extend to the Abagusii land and the converse but they will still live without any quarrel. This presently translates to the intermarriages between the two communities. It is important to note that Kipsigis fondly refer to Abagusii as Kapmama maternal uncles due to numerous intermarriages.
The big snake
Mugeni said “I am seeing a big snake swallowing many people on its way. The snake cuts across the country to Sisomo island. In the Island, the snake vomits people and swallow others and later vomits them in the far country”.
He went ahead and warn people not to allow the snake into their land. The mention of such a snake sent shivers among the Kipsigis people therefore men stayed alert as a way of taking care of the community property.
Years later, whites came to Kenya and started putting up a railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi. They also extended it from Nairobi through Kisumu to Uganda in 1905. Once at Kipkelion, Kipsigis community fought fiercely, Mugeni’s prophecy dawning on them. They finally came to an agreement and a dog’s tail was chopped off as a sign of sealing the deal. As fate would have it, the railway never passed where the whites intended to pass.
The great migration
He once stated that at some point, Kipsigis people shall migrate to far ends of Tanganyika and on their way back they will climb trees and spotlight in a place called Angata. He added that they will return home poor despite being affluent in cattle on their way to Tanganyika. He said that those who will go to Tanganyika shall live in a land full of bamboo and shall live in abject poverty.
He said that there is a time when everyone will live anywhere regardless of his/her ethnicity. He added that many routes will be constructed to link those places. He told those who were present that a road will be constructed from Chemagel heading to the western parts.
He said those who will be migrating from southern parts will live in a place called Ng’ainet. These immigrants were locally called Kaputiek. He said that Kaputiek shall eat the soil and cattle and they will remain with nothing to depend on.
Mugeni said that Kaputiek shall migrate due to regular attacks by their enemies. They will go back to their homeland in Uasin Gishu. Their adversaries shall follow them but they will not get their cattle. He said that they will pass through the land of Kipsigis. On their way to Uasin Gishu, Kaputiek faced hostility and unmatched suffering. Some of their cattle got tired and slept on the way.
Mugeni said that there is bitterness between various communities. He added that the only thing that will end it is a nationwide fight. He said that first there will be a deadly fight between the white birds. Fight for independence? He urged those present to take their loved ones to Nyong’ores and Eastwards.
The prophecy of a leader
Mugeni told people that upon the departure of the colonialists, there will be a leader from the Eastern parts of Kenya. He added that after his reign, a son of Kipnandi (Tugen) shall take over the leadership. He said that the son of Tugen shall possess immense and unshakable powers.
He also said there comes a time when a man with a star on the face shall take over the leadership of the country. This is yet to be witnessed. Could this be William Ruto? Or an army general? Time will tell.
Information extracted from Maonatetab Mugeni by Joseph K. Korir.