Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi yesterday narrated how powerful individuals in former President Mwai Kibaki’s administration plotted to dispossess the late Daniel arap Moi of his Kabarnet Gardens land.
The scheme that was hatched just after Narc came to power in 2002 was, however, thwarted by Mr Kibaki, who told off his associates for attempting it.
According to Mr Murungi, it was after Kibaki rejected the plan that he ordered that a title deed be processed in the name of Moi.
The governor said he and the then Lands Cabinet Minister Amos Kimunya were at the heart of the scheme.
“(Kibaki told us) ‘You go and prepare a title deed in the name of the former president, and the two of you deliver it to him by the end of this week’. So the title deed was prepared and Kimunya called me to tell me it was ready,” said Kiraitu when he visited the family.
“I told him (Kimunya) that I am not feeling well. Kimunya brought it and he was well received. They stayed with Mzee for one-and-a-half hours. He was even told of some land that had no title deeds, and he went and prepared them,” the county boss said.
“So when he came back and told me, ‘I have to take you back. Mzee is so nice he is not even in a hurry’. That’s how this place got the title. That was the height of political noise. The boss (Kibaki) is the one who slowed down many things.”
Kiraitu recalled how Moi told them that leadership is no joke and remembered how the country’s second president backed the failed 2005 referendum and finally became a friend of the Kibaki regime that took over from him.
“You are dealing with fire. He came to support us with the referendum and we all failed. That is how friendship was built and he became the best friend to the Kibaki regime and ourselves,” Kiraitu said.
The governor was speaking at Kabarnet Gardens in Nairobi as top political leaders, Cabinet secretaries, diplomats and heads of various independent commissions continued to throng the home yesterday to condole with Moi’s family and friends.
The leaders recalled their encounters with the man who ruled the country for 24 years, highlighting his humility and role in turning the country into a multiparty democracy.
The leaders – who started arriving at the residence as early as 9 am – were received by the former president’s sons, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Rongai MP Raymond Moi and Philip Moi.
The residence was a hive of activity the entire day as choirs belted out song after song to console the hundreds of mourners who turned up to mourn with the family.
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his Amani National Congress Musalia Mudavadi were some of the top politicians who met Gideon and Raymond and paid tribute to Moi’s leadership.
Mr Musyoka spoke about Moi’s role in ensuring stability in neighbouring countries, particularly Sudan that was under civil strife for a long time.
He also recalled Moi’s influence in his decision to join politics, adding that the former president mentored many others into politics.
“I received the news of Mzee’s death when I was in Juba, South Sudan. It was a difficult moment. People remember Moi for different things. Some of us were his political children,” said Kalonzo.
He also spoke about Moi’s decision to usher in multiparty democracy by repealing Section 2A, despite opposition from some Kanu members.
“The decision ensured political stability in the country. It is, therefore, a moment to celebrate Mzee’s life,” added Kalonzo.
He served as a Cabinet minister in Moi’s administration before becoming vice president in retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
Kalonzo also recalled how Moi braved humiliation at Uhuru Park to hand over power.
“Moi, with humility, handed over power to Kibaki. Some people even threw mud at him and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was very angry. He was humble but firm,” he said.
Kalonzo was in the company of political leaders from Ukambani, including Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Kitui Senator Enock Wambua and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. Gender Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia also led Maendeleo ya Wanawake in paying their tribute to the departed leader, recalling his role in supporting women leaders as well as appointing the first woman – Nyiva Mwendwa – to Cabinet.
She led Ms Mwendwa, former MPs Phoebe Asiyo and Zipporah Kittony, among other women leaders in consoling the Moi family.
Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku led Maasai political leaders in mourning Moi, highlighting his vision for devolution through a district focus for rural development in the 1980s.
“He believed in devolved units as an avenue to trickling down resources from Nairobi to the grassroots. When he became president, there were only 27 districts, but by 1992 he had added another 20 districts,” said the governor.
The 47 districts are the current 47 county governments.
Mr Lenku was accompanied by MPs George Sunkuya (Kajiado West), Joseph Manje (Kajiado North), Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North) and former Nairobi Speaker Alex Magelo.
The family was also visited by diplomats Iulia Pataki of Romania and Qusai Al-Farhan of Kuwait. Earlier in the morning, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati led his team in consoling the family. He was accompanied by commissioners Boya Mulu and Abdi Guliye.
Mr Chebukati remembered Moi for ushering in multiparty democracy, as well as ensuring the peaceful transfer of power when Kibaki was elected in 2002.
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