Early Christmas for Moi family as leaders warn on same sex unions

Wreath of flowers during a special Mass organized by the Catholic faithful in remembrance of the former head of state at Moi’s Kabarak home in Nakuru County on December 21, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

From special mass conducted by the mausoleum to strumming guitars to tune native Christmas carols and sharing hearty meals as families do during festive seasons, the Catholic clergy treated the late President Daniel arap Moi’s family to an early Christmas ceremony.

The special masses conducted at the late president’s Kabarak home in Nakuru on Thursday brought about memories of a Statesman with a burst of hearty laughter who loved to give.

The clergy revived memories of a religious man whose faith never wavered, even at the pinnacle of his leadership, until his last days.

Bishop Alfred Rotich, who formerly served as the military chaplain during Moi’s reign, noted that most of his good deeds were done in secrecy.

“The beauty of life is that you cannot hear many things about you until you exit the stage. This event has brought us to remember President Moi. Remembering is thanksgiving, and today we are cherishing the moments and sharing good times with the family,” said Bishop Rotich of the Kericho Catholic Diocese.

He noted that Moi was a great leader who who always carried a pen was always ready to take notes.

“His thumb and index finger were a little pressed from years of writing since he was a teacher. His pen was always ready. He was sharp, prayerful and very religious,” he added.

Kanu chairman Gideon Moi said that sharing moments with the church evoked feelings of love and care by a society that has always stood with the family.

“We are privileged and humbled that as a church, you thought about our family. There is nothing as important as prayer, and when people come together to pray for your family and the departed, it is a great honour,” Gideon said.

Family patriarch

He said while years have passed since the family patriarch and matriarch left, the warmth from the community and the church has strengthened their beliefs in Christian teachings.

“You do not know what eating with us and spending time does to us. In the spirit of remembering our father who loved his cows, each visitor will leave with milk as a sign of gratitude from our family,” Gideon said.

Gideon remembered his father as a staunch believer who, in his last days, enjoyed listening to hymns.

“He never wavered in his faith and the love for Christ. He stuck to his beliefs to the very end, and that was a lesson enough for us. It strengthened our faith in God,” Gideon said.

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kericho, Rt. Rev Alfred Rotich, blessing the grave of Former President Daniel Arap Moi during a special Mass organized by the Catholic faithful in remembrance of the former head of state at Moi’s Kabarak home in Nakuru County on December 21, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Political leaders present delved into the heated debate around allowing same-sex marriages in churches.

Kilgoris MP Julius Sunkuli said the contentious topic is among the key issues that lawmakers are currently fighting in Parliament.

“One of the things we are fighting against in parliament is allowing for same-sex marriages. We must guard the temptations of Western cultures from eroding our own African cultures. The voice of Africa needs to be heard, and it will be strange to bless anything that isn’t our culture,” Sunkuli said.

He added that pronouncements by the Pope will give African churches a very hard time in fighting the contentious issue.

Gideon urged the church to safeguard the interests of African cultures.

“We cannot twist the word of God to suit interests of certain people and groups, and the church must safeguard this,” he said.

Bishop Dominic Kimengich of the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret remembered Moi for his generosity. “He helped many children from vulnerable families to pursue their dreams,” he said.

“Many children from poor backgrounds were able to access education and are now professionals in different fields, thanks to President Moi. His legacy will last forever,” Bishop Kimengich said.

Rev Collins Maribong of Mogotio parish appreciated the family, noting that the children have remained welcoming and kept the homely spirit at Kabarak.

Duiring the event, those in attendance sang and danced to “Rani ko betut nebo Sikukuu’ (Today is Christmas day) and “Inyoru urwo, inyoru kalya” (May you have perfect peace).