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Moi found true peace in God in storm and calm

By Elias Mokua | February 11th 2020

Yes, it is possible to blend faith and politics. Put it another way, it is possible to be a God-fearing politician who serves people with single-mindedness. This is a life lesson from Mzee Moi, feeble and imperfect as he was.

As I grew up, the 1pm Sunday news in Voice of Kenya, without fail, reported where Moi worshipped. For the 24 years he ruled Kenya, a typical characteristic of the man, was his faithful commitment to worship.

Attending church service every single Sunday for decades says something deeper than public relations, if indeed he intended it so. Many of our politicians today go to worship not because they have any inner conviction about God in their daily lives but to make impressions to the voters. What a curse!

When a person worships with commitment every week, every month, every year for decades there must be an inner connection between that person and the God they worship. Moi could not, were it to be pretentious, run a fake show every week, every month and every year. The mask would have dropped along the way. But, no!

On matters faith, Mzee Moi did not wear a mask.

Like any other believer in God, he laboured in prayer and hope, aiming to do the will of God to the best of his ability. St Augustine, a great theologian, affirmed that “our hearts are restless until they rest in God”. From the testimonies in the past one week of people who encountered Moi in spiritual spaces, one thing that clearly stands out is that in storm and calm, the former president could only find true peace in God.

It is evident that whenever he faced difficulties particularly in the political arena, he withdrew to a lonely space at home in the quiet to seek the wisdom of God. He invoked God before dawn to ensure that his mind, whatever decisions he were to make, were a product of reflection.

Obviously, from the history we know of the man, not all of his actions were illuminated by the grace of God. But, this will not be sufficient to overlook or downplay his personal trust in God. In that Holy Book he drew inspiration from, we are reminded that “a righteous man falls seven times a day” (Proverbs 24: 16). It is not really up to us to judge others on matters of faith with finality. We are not God.

The more meaningful point is to learn from his limitations as an ardent Christian – as we would from anyone of us – to strengthen our resolve to be better people before God since we are a God-fearing nation as attested in the preamble of our Constitution. Moi has “run the race” and I believe he will repeat the words of St Paul (2 Timothy 4:7) “I have fought a good fight, I have run the race, I have kept the faith.”

From the public testimonies about his inner faith, we have given witness as a community of believers that he has kept the faith. He did not drop the ball. Moi did not succeed to spiritualise politics as did, say, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in Tanzania. But, he has faithfully even if only symbolically passed on the message of God he received as a lad and nurtured through his life.

The one other testimony we can make about Moi and his respect for places of worship, is that he rarely – if at all he did – speak inside churches. For the many years, he commemorated his predecessor Jomo Kenyatta, at the Holy Familiy Basillica, he always spoke at the doorsteps. His mind was so clear that the space dedicated for worship cannot be diluted with political activities including giving “short” speeches. Our politicians have a lesson in this example. 

If the people leading in worship are blinded to a point of inviting non-worship speeches on holy spaces, the politicians can take the lead and correct such pastors by respectfully denying them opportunity to speak. There are many other spaces to make statements other than places of worship. Moi never competed with religious leaders to take advantage of the gathered crowd “to say a word”.

There is little doubt that Mzee Moi had for decades repeatedly read Genesis 3:19, which says “from dust a person came and to dust shall the person return”. As we say goodbye to this man who has walked a journey of faith, we pray that he may rest in peace.

Fare-thee-well Mzee Moi!


And may the souls of the 14 children who died in the Kakamega Primary School tragedy find eternal happiness in God. They are nothing but holy innocents who we believe join the angels in praying for us.

Dr Mokua lectures on Media and Communications Studies

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