More than 5,000 Somalis were rounded up by soldiers who had descended on the area to reportedly defuse clan-related conflict, taken to an airstrip and prevented from accessing water and food for five days before being executed
The Wagalla massacre of 1984 in Wajir and the burning down on Garissa town in 1980 are among negatives that have stained the legacy of former President Daniel Moi in Northeastern.
Moi died at the Nairobi Hospital on Tuesday morning.
Northeatern residents joined the rest of the country in mourning a man who ruled the nation for 24 years from 1978.
Although the majority praised the former president for uniting Kenyans during his reign, some did not have kind words for the retired president.
Kenya Livestock Marketing chairman Dubat Amey said it was under Moi's watch that the Wagalla massacre of 1984 took place.
More than 5,000 Somalis were rounded up by soldiers who had descended on the area to reportedly defuse clan-related conflict.
But witnesses said the Somali men were then taken to an airstrip and prevented from accessing water and food for five days before being executed.
“The burning down of Garissa town in 1980 and the Malkamari massacre of 1986 also took place during Moi’s reign,” Amey said.
He added, "Like any other human being he had his weaknesses and strengths but his positives overrode his negative acts. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Amey said that it was also under Moi that the Somali community were integrated into government
“He elevated former general Mohamud Mohamed to Chief of Staff in the military after crushing the 1982 attempted coup. He appointed Hussein Maalim Mohamed into the cabinet and many other sons of our community into senior positions in government. These are some of the positives we cannot forget,” Amey said.
Amey said Moi will also be remembered for handing over power peacefully to an elected president in 2002, something he said many African leaders have failed to do in their countries.
“We join the rest of the country in sharing our sincere condolences to the family of Moi. May Allah grant the immediate family, friends and all Kenyans peace during this difficult period.”
Garissa businessman Marian Yakub, 42, said current leaders should borrow a leaf from Moi’s vision for the country's unity.
“As residents of Garissa we have a lot to learn from Moi. He was truly a leader who cherished peace and stability more than any other thing,” Yakub said.
Livestock trader Abdullahi Harun, 58, said Garissa residents have fond memories of Moi’s presidency including the famous Nyayo milk in public primary schools.
“It is true he might have overseen some of the worst things in this country. But because he has passed on let God judge him,” Harun said.
edited by p. obuya