Bondeni AIC church where Mzee Moi worshipped

Bondeni AIC, where former President Daniel arap Moi used to worship. The church which is located in slums of Nakuru was officially opened by the former president in 1973. February 6, 2020. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

When the late former President Daniel arap Moi visited Nakuru County, he was a frequent worshipper at the Bondeni African Inland Church in Kivumbini estate.

And even as he got his spiritual nourishment every Sunday, Moi would interact freely with fellow congregants after the service.

David Ndung’u, who has been with the church since it was officially opened in 1973, said that unlike other politicians, Moi acknowledged the church as a place of worship and rarely spoke politics.

Rev Ndung'u said Moi would take a seat anywhere just like any other worshipper and listen to the preaching.

"Moi never told anyone at the church that he would be attending Sunday service. He just dropped in with his Bible and hymn book and sat quietly before the preacher recognised him," said Ndung'u.

The clergyman, who spoke to The Standard yesterday, said the only indication that the former president was around was the heavy presence of black-suited security men.

Ndung'u said that Moi limited himself to sharing the gospel and whenever there was a pressing issue, he would hold a brief meeting outside the church, address the faithful and leave.

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"There were many times when he would attend the service and leave without addressing the congregation either inside or outside the church.

"The Bible was his constitution. As a pastor, I learnt a lot from Moi. He was such a humble man," said Ndung'u.

On the morning of Moi's death, the reverend said he woke up at around 4 am feeling weak and feverish before he began to sweat. He started praying.

"The feeling was similar to what I experienced when I lost my father in 1984. Surprisingly, at around 5.30 am, I saw the breaking news about Moi's death," he said.

Ndung'u narrated how he met Moi in 1965 at Kambi Moi in Eldama Ravine where their families were friends. They moved to Nakuru and kept in touch.

The cleric said he joined the Kenya African Democratic Union and helped Moi conduct campaigns.

He recalled how in 1968, Moi supported the construction of the church. Sunday service at the time was being held at Baharini Primary School.

The clergyman revealed that Moi supported numerous projects including the expansion of the church that had been built on a one-acre parcel of land.

Ndung'u said that although Moi appointed him the Rift Valley education director, he remained a pastor. He studied administration and curriculum development in Canada between 1974 and 1977 and worked as a quality assurance officer between 1986 and 1995.

Spread the gospel

"The former president was a man who loved God and contributed greatly in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He facilitated the acquisition of land to build churches and ensured we had title deeds for the churches."

During Christmas celebrations, Ndung'u said that the former president would buy sweets, soft drinks, biscuits and other gifts for children.

He said he still remembered when drought hit the country in 1984, leading to food stress and widespread hunger.

"Mzee Moi was worried. He came to me and asked that we seek spiritual intervention on the matter. Together, we went down on our knees and prayed. That was the Moi I knew."

The cleric also recalled a time when the former president called him to State House in Nakuru where they read the bible and prayed for the nation past midnight.

Ndung'u said that during the attempted coup in 1982, Moi came to church and prayed.

"We spent time praying for the nation. Even during the 1992 tribal clashes, he was here with us praying. Every time the country was faced with leadership challenges, Moi used to call on church leaders for prayers and advise."

Moi also contributed to the establishment of other churches, including AIC Bondeni, Shabab, Barut, Njoro and Molo.

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AIC BondeniNakuru CountyDaniel arap Moi