Sahrawi: Mysterious African country ‘popping up’ in Mzee Moi’s funeral service

SADR President Brahim Ghali giving his tribute to Mzee Daniel arap Moi during the funeral ceremony at Nyayo Stadium on Tuesday. [Courtesy]

Few Kenyans knew of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) until its leader President Brahim Ghali attended the funeral ceremony of former president Daniel arap Moi at Nyayo Stadium today.

While welcoming the heads of state attending the funeral service, President Uhuru Kenyatta mentioned Sahrawi, eliciting curiosity from viewers and mourners at the event.

President Ghali gave his tribute to Mzee Moi in Arabic with a translator in tow. He praised the late former president as a Pan Africanist who played an important role in the decolonisation of the continent. Ghali is the former SADR Ambassador to Algeria.

 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic also called Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, is a country in North Africa that controls parts of the western Sahara region.

The Islamic country lies deep in the Sahara region and was colonised by the Spanish up to 1976.

Thereafter, a political outfit in the Western Sahara region known as Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro) has been in the forefront of liberation from the Moroccans.

Sahrawi is located in the Moroccan Wall and the border of Algeria with a population of 538,000 people.

The people living in the country, also known as the Sarwahi from a Spanish word meaning inhabitant of the desert, were driven from their homes during the Spanish Sahara in 1975 and were previously living as refugees in a corner of Algeria for close to 40 years.

Although not recognized by many, the Sarwahi Republic is recognized by the United Nations member states. The national languages of SADR are Spanish and Arabic.