He also remembers late Moi as one of those who reestablished the regional intergovernmental organization, the East African Community (EAC) and a defender of the “region’s and continent’s interest in the global arena.”
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the federal republic of Nigeria, Yemi Osibanjo, also remembered late Moi as “great African patriot and one of the foremost leaders of the decolonization of Africa” because of “the pioneering work he did especially with respect to regional cooperation.”
“He was very instrumental in resuscitation of EAC (East African Community), the Nigerian leader recalled and added in reference to Moi’s accomplishments, “He was also very instrumental in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and IGAD.”
Osibanjo continued, “These are the precursors of the African free trade continental area arrangements that we are making today and to which almost every African country has subscribed to and it will define the future of trade and relations in Africa.”
Meanwhile, Kenyan leaders also paid glowing and emotional tributes to Moi.
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At the Tuesday Memorial Service, President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “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 among those who dreamt of the modern Kenya is unshakeable.”
“Today, I choose not to mourn the passing on of an icon, but rather to celebrate a Statesman and a giant of history,” President Kenyatta said and added, “President Moi’s life, a full life – chronicled as ninety-six years, made him one of the few Kenyans, whose life journey closely mirrors all the stages of our beloved Nation.”
Tracing the humble beginning of the late President, Kenyatta explained, “We celebrate the remarkable journey of faith and hope that began in a sleepy village in Kabartonjo. The story must be told - of a ragged and barefooted orphan boy - knocking on the door of white Missionaries in search of help and enlightenment, at a time when illiteracy had a firm grip on our people and education was considered “foreign” and “unwelcome”.”
The President of Kenya further revealed about Moi who mentored him politically, “From his early life, President Moi understood the value of Kenya being bigger than any single person. When the Nation called for bridging divides and putting the Country above self, he led his Party out of opposition and into Government, thereby ensuring that our nascent Republic was devoid of partisanship and political bickering.”
“We are comforted by the memory held so dear by this gallant son of Kenya. We find comfort that Peace is one of the very foundations of family, community and nationhood here in Kenya. And today let that peace that surpasses all understanding, attend our way,” President Kenyatta concluded.
Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, mourned the late President as “a pan Africanist, a great statesman, a selfless leader and a father of the nation.”
For Ruto, Moi’s “belief in God inspired many of us and influenced the people we are today.”
The opposition leader in Kenya, Raila Odinga recalled being detained during Moi’s regime saying, “Moi made some mistakes. I, for example, was one of the victims.”
Odinga noted that Moi “was also forgiving”.
“We made our peace, shook hands and worked together to bring this country a new Constitution,” Odinga recalled his past with the late President Moi.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.