Traders recall good old days when Moi shopped in markets

Rachel Nyaguthii, a trader at Soko Mjinga in Lari. [Kamau Maichuhie, Standard]
For Rachael Nyaguthii, Moi Day, which is celebrated today, is a moment to recall the good old days when she rubbed shoulders with former President Daniel Moi.

During his tenure, Moi often made impromptu stopovers to buy groceries and engage in chit-chat with small-scale traders.

Ms Nyaguthii, a trader at Soko Mjinga market in Lari on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, is one lucky trader who endeared herself to Moi.

President Moi would once in a while drop by the market to buy njahi (turtle beans) and other cereals.

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“A lot of the times when he passed here he stepped out of the vehicle and chose what he wanted. I sold him eight buckets of njahi twice. But these days whenever he passes by, he just waves at us,” says Nyaguthii.

Moi would pass by on his way to his Kabarak home in Nakuru County.

Centres where traders will mark Moi Day today with a tinge of nostalgia include Fly-Over, Soko Mjinga, Nyambari and Limuru.

The roadside Soko Mjinga became a death trap, and prompted Moi to allocate them a five-acre piece of land nearby so they could move further from the road. Some local leaders, however, curtailed the move.

The space remains unused to date, but dozens of traders have been crashed by speeding cars and others injured. Nyaguthii, herself, was hit by a matatu in 2015.

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James Kamau says the retired Head of State also stopped at Fly-Over to address gatherings that always formed whenever there was rumours that he was likely to pass by.

Kanu functionaries

Mr Kamau says senior Kanu functionaries from Nyandarua, with their chairman known as 'Kinyiriria' and who was Moi's friend, were always there to receive the President.

Moi also loved to stop at Nyambari town in Lari Constituency. The town is located on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, near Kimende shopping centre.

Kamau said the former President would stop at Nyambari town because of his close relationship with former MP Viscount Kimathi, who was also a Kanu official.

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“At Nyambari, Moi usually bought bananas and gave them to the people. He is very generous and always happy to share with the people,” said Kamau.

Peter Mugo said at the Nyambari shopping centre, Moi loved to take tea at an establishment owned by a woman called Mukami.

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