Kenya mourns Moi with state funeral


Daniel Arap Moi, whose 24-year rule saw Kenya become a one-party state where critical voices were ruthlessly crushed, died on February 4, 2020, aged 95.
Daniel Arap Moi, whose 24-year rule saw Kenya become a one-party state where critical voices were ruthlessly crushed, died on February 4, 2020, aged 95.
Simon Maina

Thousands of Kenyans on Tuesday gathered to mourn the country's longest-serving leader, the hardline Daniel Arap Moi, as a week of mourning climaxed with a state funeral.

Moi, whose 24-year rule saw Kenya become a one-party state where critical voices were ruthlessly crushed, died on February 4 aged 95.

Mourners began gathering at a national athletics stadium before dawn to pay their respects.Moi, who towered over Kenya between 1978 and 2002, lay in state for three days in parliament, with tens of thousands of people filing past.

On Tuesday morning, he was taken on a gun carriage draped in Kenya's flag through the streets of Nairobi to the crowded Nyayo national stadium flanked by soldiers.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who opened the memorial with the national anthem, called Moi "a champion of Pan-Africanism."

Forgiveness

The cortege entered the stadium flanked by long lines of red-coated soldiers and a brass band playing marching tunes and Christian hymns, their boots glinting in the bright sun.

Those targeted by his regime included human rights and environmental activists, including the writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o and the future Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

Moi was however praised for keeping Kenya a relative haven of peace during a chaotic period in East Africa which saw the genocide in Rwanda and civil wars in Burundi and Somalia.

READ | 'Africa has lost a pioneering leader' - Ramaphosa on passing of Moi 

His later return - under significant pressure - to multiparty elections in 1992, and peaceful handover of power to opposition leader Mwai Kibaki in 2002 also won him some praise.

Loved and feared

Vice President William Ruto, who comes from the same Kalenjin people as Moi, mourned a "father of the nation."Several foreign leaders from regional nations attended the ceremony, including Djibouti's Ismail Omar Guelleh, South Sudan's Salva Kiir and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni.

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and former Tanzanian presidents, Jakaya Kikwete and Benjamin Mkapa, spoke at the ceremony to offer their condolences to Kenya.

Thousands of Kenyans on Tuesday gathered to mourn

Moi was however praised for keeping Kenya a relative haven of peace during a chaotic period in East Africa which saw the genocide in Rwanda and civil wars in Burundi and Somalia. (Simon Maina/AFP).


"One of the gallant leaders of this great country," Rwandan President Paul Kagame said.

The body of the late president will be buried on Wednesday in his home area of Kabarak, 220 km’s northwest of Nairobi.

READ | Former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi has died

The usually congested and noisy streets of Nairobi were quiet, with Tuesday declared a national holiday.

While those at the stadium had come to pay their respects to a ruler they revered, others in Kenya remembered a man that they had long feared.

Moi's 24-year rule saw critical voices crushed, corruption become endemic and tribal divisions stoked and turn bloody.

Moi was however praised for keeping Kenya a relative haven of peace during a chaotic period in east Africa.

Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Do you know what your baby's name means?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, we just chose one we loved
43% - 677 votes
Yes, we researched the meaning carefully
42% - 667 votes
Yes, it's a traditional family name
15% - 241 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
17.62
(-1.25)
ZAR/GBP
23.01
(-0.54)
ZAR/EUR
20.78
(-0.41)
ZAR/AUD
12.62
(-0.16)
ZAR/JPY
0.17
(-0.83)
Gold
2031.70
(-1.76)
Silver
28.22
(-5.12)
Platinum
963.00
(-3.55)
Brent Crude
45.10
(-0.18)
Palladium
2177.00
(-2.22)
All Share
56757.73
(-1.56)
Top 40
52435.65
(-1.72)
Financial 15
9897.96
(+0.10)
Industrial 25
74671.49
(-1.98)
Resource 10
58948.78
(-1.89)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo