By Betty Njeru |
February 11th 2020 at 03:12:42 GMT +0300
Several Heads of State turned up at Nyayo National Stadium on Tuesday at the requiem for former president Daniel arap Moi.
The leaders who spoke fondly in his memory praised Mzee Moi for his efforts in uniting Africa through the formation of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Uganda's President and longtime friend Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame are some of the Heads of States who were present at the memorial service.
South Sudan's Salva Kiir, Ethiopia's Sahle-Work Zewde, Djibouti President Ismail Guelleh and Retired Tanzania presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete also graced the service.
What the leaders had to say
Museveni tickled the mourners with short stories from the days he spent with Moi, while eulogising him as "a patriot, a man with a heart for East Africa and a reconciliator."
Museveni recalled how President Moi's and his predecessor Jomo Kenyatta's statecraft spared Kenya from the instability that plagued Africa in the 60's through the 90's.
In Kenya, you had msukosuko (slight instability) but that was child's play, said Museveni as he praised Mzee Moi for strengthening the East African Community. One day he had to travel with Mzee Moi to Arua in northern Uganda to visit "a small" Africa Inland Church.
Museveni also recalled a period in the early when Moi closed the Kenya-Uganda border blaming it detractors who had fed Mzee Moi with misleading intelligence.
He said after a meeting at a primary school at Mt Elgon Kenya-Uganda border the matter was sorted out once and for all.
Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said: "Many will remember him for the pioneering work he did especially in regional cooperation. Moi was very instrumental in COMESA and IGAD. We are grateful for his efforts to help define the future of Africa in trade".
Retired Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa reminisced on his early years in presidency when he worked with Mzee Moi for seven years, "I chose to remember him as a mentor in governance".
Ethiopia President Sahle-Work Zewd eulogised Mzee Moi as a peacemaker.
"Moi was a friend of Ethiopia. We will remember the fundamental role he played in the formation of IGAD in 1984 but most importantly, the role he has played in forging peace between Sudan and South Sudan."
South Sudan's Salva Kiir Mayardit who visited Mzee Moi while in Nairobi Hospital, narrated how Moi demonstrated his love for children and South Sudan when he personally went to pay tribute to the family of two young South Sudanese sisters who were swept away by floods while returning home from Langata Primary School.
"We consider Moi the hero of our independence and freedom."
Rwanda's Paul Kagame remembered the former president as one of the gallant leaders of Kenya.
"When the people of Kenya are grieving, it goes beyond the Kenyan boarders. When Kenya makes progress and succeeds, we also share in that."
Djibouti's Ismail Guelleh eulogised Moi as "a great statesman and a Pan Africanist."
Other foreign delegates present at the memorial service were Finland's Ambassador to Kenya Erik Lundberg, the queen's representative-the Duke of Gloucester Prince Richard, DR Congo Foreign Affairs Minister Marie Tumba Nzeza on behalf of President Félix Tshishekedi and a delegation from the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.