Daniel arap Moi was buried yesterday at his Kabarak home in accordance with military traditions and honours accorded to a former Commander-in-Chief.
The military played the Last Post, a haunting song that was first played in 1862 during the American Civil war. Ten pallbearers with the rank of colonel escorted Moi’s body to his grave.
White and red, Mzee Moi’s favourite colours, themed the grave site with a red carpet, as well as bouquets and wreaths of white, cream and red.
Black and white was the military dress code, with emotions hidden behind composed, stoic faces.
At 4.10pm, the casket bearing the body of Mzee Moi snaked its way to his final resting place besides that of his wife Lena Moi. At 4.15pm the casket was placed on top of the grave.
A hymn, Naona Raha Moyoni, led by Fred Ngala of Kabarak University, played.
At 4.22pm, the first gun salute thundered and the casket began its descent inside the grave.
The 19-gun salute was closely followed by a military manoeuvre, A Missing Man Formation, where three Airforce jets thundered above mourners to salute the fallen former head of State.
At 4.30pm, retired African Inland Church Bishop Silas Yego blessed the soil and called on family members to inter their kin and leader.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and other political leaders joined in, followed by close family members and friends.
At 4.50pm, the grave was covered with a marble slab.
Wreaths were finally laid as the hymn, I Stand Amazed played.
And as the ceremony came to a close, Mzee’s favourite hymn, Forever with the Lord, played. The hymn, as he had wished, wrapped up the day.
But with the family remained the flag that had covered Moi’s casket. This was handed to Moi’s eldest son Raymond.
Moi’s son, Gideon acknowledged the role the military played in the burial of his father, saying it was befitting to him as their ex-commander-in-chief.
“As a family we are extremely and totally humbled by the honour bestowed upon our father. We are grateful to the military and their commanders for the honour,” Gideon said as he gave a moving vote of thanks.
The military honours started the moment President Kenyatta announced Moi’s death, with flags flown at half-mast to indicate that the nation is mourning.
Moi’s body lay in state for three days at Parliament Buildings, while the national mourning lasted seven days.
During the memorial service in Nairobi on Tuesday, the former president’s body was wheeled to Nyayo Stadium on a gun carriage through the streets of the city.
At Kabarak, the stately carriage was carried by a military platoon from the airstrip to the Kabarak University sports ground where the funeral service was conducted.
At least 10 military officers stood on guard at the graveside during the burial.
[Report by Steve Mkawale, Julius Chepkwony and Caroline Chebet]
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