Former Kenyan presidents to grace Popoe's meeting

The country’s two former presidents are among top officials invited to State House this evening for the address by Pope Francis.

Former President Daniel arap Moi who hosted Pope John Paul II in 1980, 1985 and 1995 and former President Mwai Kibaki are set to witness the meeting between the pontiff and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

27-year-old Suein Ochieng a baker at Cafe Deli,in Nairobi's downtown displays a 20 kgs cake he baked to mark the historic Pope Francis visit in Kenya. (PHOTO.FIDELIS KABUNYI/ STANDARD)

Opposition leaders Raila Odinga, Moses Wetang’ula and Martha Karua, and former vice presidents Moody Awori, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi have also been invited.

It will be a gathering where leaders with various political affiliations are expected to put aside their differences to welcome and listen to the Pope’s message.

Mr Mudavadi confirmed to The Standard that he received an invitation to the once-in-a-lifetime event and looked forward to hearing the Pope’s message of hope to Kenyans.

“I admire the down to earth and unpretentious lifestyle of the Pope and look forward to hearing the message he has brought Kenyans,” he said.

He said he was sponsoring the Catholic Peace Caravan to make the trip from Lamu to Nairobi for the Pope’s Mass to be held tomorrow at the University of Nairobi grounds.

Teachers’ unions representatives will also attend the special address that has seen over 100 dignitaries invited.

Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Secretary General Akello Misori confirmed they had received their invitation, saying he was honoured to representing union members.

“This is a great opportunity for me and Kuppet to go before the Holy Father. It is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” he said.

Also invited

Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, speakers of Senate and National Assembly, service commanders, university chancellors and vice chancellors, university student leaders, leaders from the Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian Church of East Africa and African Independent Pentecostal Churches of Africa churches are also invited.

The event will also be attended by a leader from the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, a Hindu council leader and a Sikh council leader, among others.

The last time Kenya hosted a Pope was in 1995 when Pope John Paul II visited the country and was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by former President Moi in the company of the late Prof George Saitoti.