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Uhuru Kenyatta: I choose not to mourn President Daniel Moi but to celebrate an icon

NAIROBI
By Sarah Okuoro | February 11th 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he received former President Daniel arap Moi's body at State House, Nairobi, ahead of the national memorial service at Nyayo Stadium on February 11, 2020. [PSCU]

“I choose not to mourn, but to celebrate the life of an icon, Uhuru says; adds that he transformed the civil service and education sector,” said President Uhuru as he gave his tribute to the late former President Daniel arap Moi.

President Uhuru described the sense of sadness and loss that engulfed him upon receiving the news of Mzee Moi’s passing. How with a heavy heart, he closed his eyes and said a word of prayer of peace and comfort for the late President Moi’s family, friends, nation and continent; “For he was indeed truly a legendary son of Kenya and Africa.”

“On Tuesday February 4, 2020 while on transit abroad, it became my sad duty to announce to the nation the passing on of the second President of the republic of Kenya His Excellency Daniel Toroitich arap Moi,” said President Uhuru.

Moi will be remembered as a historical giant who had a great hand in steering Kenya into the modern republic.   

“The democratic narrative of our long march to nationhood must be told and retold for generations to come. For today we stand tall on the strong shoulders of our forefathers. Mzee Moi’s place amongst those who dreamt of the modern Kenya is unshakable. And even as we celebrate his life, we must continue to tell the story. Today I choose not to mourn the passing of an icon but rather to celebrate a statesman and a giant of history,” he said.

President Moi lived a full life, chronicled as 96 years, making him one of the few Kenyans whose life journey closely mirrors all the stages of our nation.

Uhuru painted a vivid picture of a young Moi’s quest for education.

“We celebrate the remarkable journey of hope and faith that began in a sleepy village in Kabartonjo. And the story must be told of a rugged, barefooted boy knocking on the doors of missionaries in search of help and enlightenment at a time when illiteracy had a firm grip on our people and education was often considered foreign and unwelcome.”

“The young Daniel Moi; now educated and with a wealth of opportunities now available to him, but true to the spirit of public service and commitment to helping others achieve their full potential; chose to become a teacher. Naturally, the future president of the republic of Kenya excelled in that role. Rising to the rank of a head master in very short order while also embedding his lifelong passion for education.”

“Even as he excelled in his career, Daniel Moi understood the injustice of the colonial era that was all around him and he decided to heed the call of his local community and put himself forward to serve as their representative in the Legislative Council (LegCo). There, and together with other founding fathers of our nation, he helped Kenya seize a hard fought independence from a colonial power. Giving birth to the modern independent nation that we live in today.”

Moi was a visionary, long-sighted leader who served in many capacities within the government.

“The story must also be told of an astute politician known for his seemingly prophetic ability to predict future political trends. Many including the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga likened his foresight to a giraffe.”

“The late Mzee Moi served in various capacities in independent Kenya. He had the rare honour to serve his motherland as a member of parliament, a cabinet minister, the vice president and finally as the President of the republic of Kenya for 24 years, four months and eight days.”

Uhuru described Moi as a selfless leader who heed the people’s call to serve and peacefully passed on the baton when time was nigh.

“From his early life, President Moi understood the value of Kenya being bigger than any single individual. When the nation called for bridging divides and putting the country above self, he led his part out of opposition and into government thereby ensuring that our national republic was devoid of partisanship and political bickering,” he said.

“When called to serve throughout the 60s and 70s, Mzee Moi served humbly and diligently helping shape a modern and vibrant nation."

“Following the death of the first president of the republic of Kenya, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, President Moi stepped into the apex of leadership in 1978 and immediately brought calm and confidence to a nation that was reeling in shock following the unexpected death of our first Kenyan head of state.

“The story must be told of the man who on assuming this high office as the second president of Kenya, Mzee Moi adopted a governance style and mantra that perfectly resonated with the needs and aspirations of his fellow citizens."

“When Kenyans spoke in 2002, he chose to abide by their wishes and he led his party into the opposition. He consistently reminded us that opposition was not an enemy to the nation but rather an alternative government in waiting and must be loyal to the country, always promoting ideas and stratefgies to enhance peace love and unity for our people."

President Uhuru also recounted the Nayo philosophy which Moi led by.

“The love for his country and people informed his philosophy of peace love and unity; which became the rallying call for our nation expressing our desire to be a cohesive nation of diverse communities brought together by our shared values and aspirations,"  said President Uhuru. 

"The Nyayo philosophy was inspired by the recognition that the quest to transform the lives of our people is a journey that cannot be undertaken by a single generation or administration. It is underpinned by the knowledge that nation building is a continuous endeavor."

Former President Moi’s achievements

“Under President Moi, great strides were made with regard to education, women empowerment and transformation of the civil service; as well as unity, prosperity and place of esteem within the community of nations,” recounted Uhuru.

President Moi is celebrated for his transformations in the education sector; the 8-4-4 system of education, which was recently changed to the CBC curriculum (2-6-3-3-3 system).

He will be remembered for the free ‘Nyayo milk’ which was a pre-cursor to the current school feeding programs.

He established countless girl’s schools at a time when our culture was against educating the girl child.

He actively promoted the place of women in leadership in politics, business and civil service amongst many other progressive initiatives.

Uhuru Kenyatta described Mzee Moi as an environmentalist.

“Many of us always wonder what is in a colour, when President Moi was called upon to choose a presidential standard, he settled for one in green. This singular act inspired his conquests in conservation. His environmental credentials are indeed second to none.”

Moi will be remembered for how he stood with and encouraged Kenyans during one of the nation’s darkest times, the August 1998 bomb blast.  

“The unity that President Moi pursued transcended boundaries to other African nations. President Moi recognised that the path to prosperity for individual African states lay in promoting intra African trade, building bridges and acknowledging that we have far more in common than we do as differences,” said Uhuru.

“Kenya was and is better for having had Daniel Toroitich arap Moi as her son, servant, leader and role model. We should all learn from his inspiring journey and the chronicles of his life.”

“Mzee Moi will be laid to rest but he will live on in each and every one of us. Indeed, we come not so much to mourn the passing of a man but to celebrate the life of a giant of history,” President Uhuru eulogized the late Mzee Daniel Moi.

The body of Mzee Moi left Nyayo Stadium for Lee Funeral Home at 2:00pm on Tuesday.

The former President Daniel Moi who died on Tuesday while receiving treatment at Nairobi Hospital will be interred at his Kabarak home on Wednesday.

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