'MAN OF GREAT STATURE'

Tributes lighten the mood at Moi's burial

What was to be a sombre event turned out to be a lively ceremony

In Summary

• Moi's son Gideon said he had been with his father in the hospital for over four months until he had become familiar with medical terms. 

• President Kenyatta narrated how he hid from Mzee after he made a mistake. 

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi pays tribute to his father Daniel Moi during the funeral service at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi, on February 11, 2020.
LIVELY TRIBUTES: Baringo Senator Gideon Moi pays tribute to his father Daniel Moi during the funeral service at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi, on February 11, 2020.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Humour filled the air as leaders recalled their best moments with former President Daniel Moi during his burial service in Kabarak, Nakuru county.

What was to be a sombre event turned out to be a lively ceremony as speakers celebrated the life and times of the former president. 

Moi’s youngest son Gideon left mourners in stitches with jokes when he took to the podium to give a vote of thanks after all leaders, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, had spoken.

 

Gideon noted that he had been with his father in the hospital for more than four months "until he had become familiar with medical terms and was now in a position to prescribe treatment for various illnesses".

“I started knowing a lot of medical terms. I almost became a doctor until they started calling me that fake doctor. I could see the DP and tell him, for you, we will give you prayers. Your wife Rachel, we will give you love. Speaker; stop taking those things and such,” he said.

President Kenyatta narrated how he hid from Mzee after he made a mistake. Uhuru said a phone call came in at 5am, making him fearful."Siku moja alipiga simu na zile simu zake zilikuwa za 5am [One day he called and remember his phone calls could come in as early as 5 am]," he said.

“I had done something wrong the previous day and I knew this phone call was not a friendly call. I then told my wife to receive it.”

Margaret answered the phone and told Moi that Uhuru was not around. 

Moi called again after five minutes, Uhuru said, but his wife declined to pick the phone this time. 

“He asked where I had been and I told him I was in taking a shower. Wacha moto iwake. Simu ikapigwa chini mara tatu (Things flared up and he banged the phone on the table three times,” Uhuru narrated.

 

Uhuru tried to apologise but Moi would hear none of it.

"Nikapiga sorry...akasema anataka niwe in Nakuru by 7am...ni mjinga pekee yake anajipeleka kwa moto. Karibu wiki moja nikapotea...nikasema siendi mpaka joto iishe [I apologised but he said I should meet him in Nakuru at 7 am. It's only a fool who would jump into the fire. For one week, I went underground waiting for things to cool down],” Uhuru stated. Moi later forgave him. 

Moi’s personal doctor David Silverstein said he accompanied the former President during trips abroad. His work was to make sure they “did not eat exotic animals such as cats, snakes, dogs or drink buffalo milk when in China”.

He said Moi loved meat and nothing would come between him and his delicacy.

“Yes, he loved his meat and special sacramental wine from Israel - dawa ya wazee (medicine for the old)," Silverstein said.

Former Cabinet minister Sally Kosgey said she first met Moi as a university student when he was Vice President. 

“I was struck by his humility. He reminded me of the ridiculous T-shirt I was dressed in that day…It was a bright yellow T-shirt form EABL captioned 'have a nice day'…He made me promise I’d pursue my education to PhD,” she narrated.

Moi's grandson Clint Kiprono said the former President was a man of great stature so much that his name was synonymous with the presidency. “When I was younger, a common joke among peers was; Moi wa Uganda ni nani [Who is the Moi of Uganda]?” he said. 

Edited by R.Wamochie