Former President Daniel Moi yesterday marked Moi Day quietly at his Kabarak home, Nakuru, with family and friends.
Mzee Moi, who celebrated his 94th birthday last month, said he had received overwhelming messages of greetings and goodwill from Kenyans.
In a statement from the office of the former president, Moi thanked Kenyans for expressing love and reminiscing on fond memories.
“The former President thanked Kenyans for expressing love for him and the many fond memories,” the statement noted.
It said Moi prayed for God’s blessings for Kenya and its people.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi visited Kabarnet School for the Deaf and Blind.
Addressing teachers, parents and guardians at the institution, Gideon urged Kenyans to use the day to reflect and help the less fortunate in society.
He donated assorted foodstuff to the children
“Today is about reflecting on whether we are doing right to those who are not as fortunate. Whether we are putting the necessary input to assist those people. Today is a lovely and a wonderful day,” Senator Gideon said.
He said former President Moi had marked the day with family and visitors, who brought messages of goodwill.
“Mzee Moi is at home with family members who have visited him. The principles of being mindful of others have not changed. This is what this day is all about,” he added.
Tiaty MP William Kamket, who accompanied the senator, accused some people of trying to rewrite history by scrapping the holiday.
“Those people who tried to change history are called revisionists. But history has shown revisionists have never succeed," said Mr Kamket
Kenyans took to the internet to share fond memories of the former president, remembering Nyayo milk, patriotic songs and dances.
Images of Nyayo milk - the free primary school milk - was one of those that popped up several times, receiving several shares on social media.
Nakuru residents showed up at Afraha Stadium in anticipation of the usual celebrations on public holidays but found no Government official or preparations at the venue.
While Government offices remained closed, traders continued with their business as usual. Many people retreated to entertainment and recreational joints to mark the day.
Lawrence Obiya, a resident, blamed the low-key celebrations on the confusion created by the Government after it failed to give directions on how the day should be celebrated.
“The Interior Cabinet Secretary gazetted today as a public holiday and we were ready to celebrate it. Public holidays are best celebrated with a national mood but everyone is celebrating it in their own way,” said Mr Obiya.
A spot check in various sub-counties painted a similar picture, with residents blaming the low-key celebrations on late gazettement of the day as a public holiday, leaving insufficient time for preparations.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, the day came as a blessing for more than 65 pupils of Iten Primary School for the Deaf who received food from Kanu officials.
The party officials donated more than 50 cartons of milk, several loaves of bread, biscuits and sweets.
“In the spirit of celebrating the second president, we want to share what we have with less fortunate members of society,” said Mr Paul Kibet, the county Kanu chairman.
In Kakamega, supermarkets and retail shops were open as usual, with traders going about their business.
Crispinus Inganji, who operates a butchery, said the holiday did not affect business.
Shadrack Wafula, who operates an electronics shop, said the holiday had less impact since it had not been marked for the past seven years.
Wilfred Isiaho, who operates a boda boda, said business was minimal as most of his customers remained at home.
In Nyanza, it was business as usual as most shops in the major towns of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori remained open.
In Kisumu, most people interviewed said the day had no impact because no celebrations were organised to mark it.
Almadi Abdul, a boda boda operator, said he was on duty as usual even though business was low.
Eliud Otuoma, a hotel operator, said former President Moi was a hero.
It was joy for learners at Gititu and Karo primary schools in Tetu constituency when a well-wisher met exam candidates and issued them with geometrical sets and clipboards.
Ephantus Thuku, the patron of Thuku Adonai Foundation, said he had issued the materials on Moi Day as a way of following in the footsteps of the retired president, who was well-known for his generosity.
Most residents who spoke to The Standard said the holiday had come unexpectedly but was welcome nonetheless.
It was a trip down memory lane, back to the days when elaborate state functions were held to celebrate the retired President Moi.
Esther Muthoni, a teacher, said she remembered watching military parades and flypasts on television.
Yesterday, Muthoni took a break from work to treat her sons to a trip in town.
Most businesses, including service providers, closed shop as workers chose to celebrate the day away from work.
Millicent Karimi, who runs a cosmetics shop in Nyeri, said business was low.
[Report by Caroline Chebet, Titus Too, Jack Murima, Mary Atieno, Cedrin Kagwiria and Kennedy Gachuhi]