FAMILY TRIBUTE

Moi loved Nyama Choma, family reveals

Gideon Moi debunks a long-held belief that the former President had a strict vegetarian diet.

In Summary
  • “He loved nyama choma, at times ignoring doctor’s advice whenever we reminded him of the same. Nothing came between him and meat,” Gideon said.

  • The Baringo Senator told mourners of how his father had an elephantine memory and one who taught them to ‘be tough but keep a soft heart’.

Retired President Daniel Moi was a man ‘who still found time to be a wonderful father despite his overwhelming responsibility of running the state’.

This is what the family said in a moving tribute delivered by his last born son Gideon Moi during the late president’s funeral service at Nyayo Stadium yesterday.

The former president’s family hailed him as a person who revered and was passionate about God in all his dealings, and a man of great compassion who loved his friends and family.

 

Moi died at Nairobi Hospital on February 4. He will be laid to rest at his home in Kabarak, Nakuru county today.

In their message, the family revealed that Moi loved eating roasted meat – especially ribs, contrary to a long-held belief that he had a strict vegetarian diet.

“He loved nyama choma, at times ignoring doctor’s advice whenever we reminded him of the same. Nothing came between him and meat,” Gideon said.

The Baringo Senator told mourners of how his father had an elephantine memory and one who taught them to ‘be tough but keep a soft heart’.

He said his dad - loved and loathed in almost equal measure by his admirers and critics respectively - was forgiving.

The Senator reminisced an incident where he crashed his fathers’ new car only for the president to receive him with open arms.

“I had this cunning idea of carrying a bible in one hand as I entered his room. My father took one look, shook his head, and burst his laughter and that was the end of the matter,” the lawmaker said to the laughter of the mourners.

 

Moi’s family further hailed him as a peacemaker who had a wonderful sense of humour and a ready laugh. They said their father disliked laziness, believed in hard work and discipline.

 
 

“He was not just a gentleman through the impeccable manner he conducted himself but in his attitude. His word was his bond. He valued decency, taught us to always do the right thing.”

They pointed out that their father was a true environmentalist who ‘encouraged tree planting before carbon emissions and ozone layer depletion became a serious issue’.

The Mois further indicated that they did their best to give their father time to run the state, “having accepted that he gave his life to something bigger than himself.”

On this, they said their father was dedicated to a lifetime of service, dared to be great, and spent his life in service of the country.

Gideon praised his late father as a man of compassion who “grieved with people in tricky situations and even offered to help where he could”.

The family revealed that when their father loved watching teachings by American Evangelist Billy Graham and wrestling. “He was a Big Daddy’s ardent fan,” Gideon said.

The family, which is now under the leadership of Raymond Moi – the eldest in the hierarchy following the death of Jonathan last April - says their father’s faith gives them hope.

Gideon said they take solace in their father’s salvation saying his (Moi) decision to take up Christ in 1936 placed him on a journey of eternity.

“…that which is born of the flesh will die, that which is born of the spirit will live forever. We will miss you, Kenya will miss you,” he said.

Raymond, for his part, said he was moved by the fact that despite their father’s international stature, he never lost touch with the people.

“He uplifted the people from the bondage of poverty, ignorance, and disease,” the Rongai MP said.

The Mois thanked Kenyans – whom they said their father loved the most - for standing with them during the mourning period.

They gave special thanks to President Uhuru Kenyatta for “standing with family as president and brother”.

“We thank President Kenyatta for all he has done to ensure our late father is given a sendoff befitting a former head of state,” Gideon said.

“As a family, we have been overwhelmed by outpouring love and compassion you have shown our family. We are indebted to you. Ahsanteni! Ahsanteni! Ahsanteni!”

Gideon also thanked Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Salva Kiir (South Sudan) for standing with the family.

He told mourners that the two separately visited Moi in hospital after which Museveni constantly inquired about the late president’s health.

Gideon, Raymond, Philip Moi, and their three sisters arrived at the funeral service aboard a military vehicle in a show of unity.

There was talk of a hierarchical dispute before the Baringo Senator cleared the air that Raymond would be the family’s spokesman.