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Raymond: Moi was 105 years old

From left: Industrialisation PS Betty Maina, Former Mount Elgon MP Joseph Kimkung, Businessman Sammy Kogo, Rongai MP Raymond Moi and Retired Lt-Gen Lazarus Sumbeiyo at Kabarnet Gardens during a church service yesterday.[Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Former President Daniel arap Moi died at the age of 105, his son Raymond Moi said yesterday.

Raymond spoke during a service for the former president at his Kabarnet Gardens home in Nairobi. The service was presided over by clergy from AIC Milimani.

Various dignitaries were in attendance including former ambassadors, former Cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament. Another service was also held at the former president’s home in Kabarak where over 10 churches converged for prayers.

“We read in the magazines and newspapers that Mzee was 95 years old, but Mzee was not 95 and I think many of you have surmised that,” said Raymond.

Raymond spoke of a friend of the former president who currently lives in the US, a missionary, Erik Barnett.

“Mr Barnett today is 103 years old. He and Mzee used to play football when they were young,” he said.

He said in 2014, Barnett went to Kabarak, at the time they were celebrating Moi’s 92nd or 93rd birthday and he was 98.

“He asked us why we kept saying Moi was 92. We told him we were told that Mzee was born in 1924, so he must be that age and he said No,” said Raymond.

“When we used to play football, we used to plead with Mzee not to break our legs, because he was much older than us,” Raymond quoted Barnett.

And during that time, Barnett said there was no way Moi could be younger than him, but older by two or three years.

“So we calculated that Mzee at minimum must be 105 years,” said Raymond.

“At 105 years, is a long life. If there was anything Mzee loved, it was God, and his faith took him through some difficult moments as president,” said Raymond.

Reverend Hosea Mitei of the African Inland Church Milimani delivered the main sermon based on Luke 12:13-21, and spoke of living on borrowed time.

“Life is an opportunity that God has given us. Let us invest in the people whom God has given to us so that when they are gone, we remain thankful. Mzee (Moi) took his relationship with God seriously. “

Former Head of Public Service Sally Kosgei spoke of her time as an ambassador under Moi, and recalled that the former president would never keep them waiting.

“When I was first appointed in my early 30s he (Moi) never made me feel that I did not understand or that I was young or incompetent. We could write books on how a great diplomat our president was,” she said.

At Moi’s Kabarak home, speakers paid glowing tribute to the former head of state.

Kabarak University Vice-Chancellor Henry Kiplagat said that they were not mourning the death of the second president, but were celebrating a life well lived.

“We would like to condole with the family on the passing of the former president. We know he went to be with the Lord and we are not actually mourning but celebrating a life well lived,” said Prof Kiplagat, adding that Mzee Moi had kept the faith. 

Over 10 churches that converged for the service praised the late president for uniting the country during his time in power, and added that even in his death he had managed to unite the country.

Representatives from AIC, African Gospel, Seventh Day Adventist, Full Gospel, Baptist and Pentecostal Revival Holy Ghost churches attended the service. 

Others were students and staff from Kabarak University, Moi High School Kabarak, Moi Primary Kabarak, AIC Morol Girls and Mogotio Girls High School. The family of the late president was represented by Susan Moi, wife of Rongai legislator Raymond Moi, and Eunice Moi, wife of John Mark Moi.

Susan thanked Kenyans for their glowing tribute to the former president and thanked God for the years gifted to him.

“Thank you for coming to mourn with us, to wipe our tears; as a family he was a father, grandfather, protector and a leader. He was all that we can mention and not mention; he was everything to everybody in Kenya, Africa, and beyond,” said Susan. 

She added that the death of Mzee Moi was not a loss as he had gone to be with the lord. She recalled that before the retired leader passed on, she had gone to check on him at hospital, but though he could not speak, tears rolled freely from his eyes.

Susan added that they prayed for the former president and asked for God’s intervention.

“As a family, we mourn him because when we enter a house like that and we see where he was seated, he is no longer there. You look around and don’t see him, is not an easy thing. At the same time we celebrate the years that the Lord gave him,” she said.

Eunice said as a family, they encouraged the people and nation to be strong. She also expressed gratitude to Kenyans from all walks of life for comforting them.

“We say thank you for coming to be with us and we encourage you to be strong also. One day you will see Mzee,” said Eunice.

Gerald Bomet, who spoke on behalf of the in-laws, said they were grateful to Mzee Moi, who had been their pillar. Bomet said the things Mzee Moi did for them are enough to fill a book.

Nakuru County Assembly Speaker Joel Kairu described Moi as a friend and a good man. He said the Nakuru County Assembly has postponed their sittings to pay tribute to the former president.

“As an assembly, we have postponed the scheduled resumption of sittings to allow us condole with the family,” said Kairu.