MOI LEGACY

Moi’s death offers opportunity to revamp Kanu

The question until Wednesday was, who among his four sons would take that mantle?

In Summary

• Gideon has an edge over Raymond, because, putting aside other family inheritance, he inherited the then moribund Kanu party.

• His father’s passing gives him the opportunity to do just that. There are good reasons he may just pull that off.

 

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

Every aging leader who has led a country is often asked what they hope their legacy would be.

However, the reality is that by the time they’re being asked this question, they have already done or not done things while office, which would have cemented that legacy. There are exceptions such as America’s Jimmy Carter, who reshaped his legacy after leaving office in the many good deeds he continues to do in contrast to his performance as president. Those are rare.

When he retired as President, the now late Mzee Daniel arap Moi was content to let history judge his legacy rather than make any effort to reshape it. It is hard to imagine someone in his position not to know he’ll have a mixed legacy but if what has been said since Moi passed on is something to go by, history will treat him more kindly than most people have been on their knees praying.

 

When eulogising Moi, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said from his personal observations and discussions with Moi, he settled on three things we can take away as the Second President's indisputable legacy — his quest for a united and patriotic Kenya, his strong belief and push for a united East Africa and his believing in peace and reconciliation.

For his part, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke of how  Moi’s “love for his country and his commitment to uniting Kenyans informed the Nyayo Philosophy of ‘Peace, Love and Unity’”.

Uhuru said this “became the rallying call for our nation; expressing our desire to be a cohesive nation of diverse communities, brought together by our shared values and aspirations.”

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who no doubt had to give the most delicate eulogy of Moi, chose to stay on the lane of reconciliation. He noted that Moi was human and made “some mistakes.” That’s the understatement of the year but it’s understandable in the spirit of the BBI.

Other leaders echoed the same sentiments expressed by these three leaders and if Moi were listening, he would be pleased this is the legacy he hopes he has left behind, notwithstanding the shortcomings he himself acknowledged.

He would also like to have one of his sons as president someday. It’s natural for some to be repulsed by the idea but if you’re a parent and wouldn’t wish your son or daughter to be president someday, there’s something wrong with you.

The question until Wednesday was, who among his four sons would take that mantle? Moi made it clear it should be Gideon, the Baringo senator and youngest son.

 

His other son, Raymond, the Rongai MP, when handing over the political mantle made it known he has big enough shoulders to shove people around and carry Moi’s mantle if Gideon doesn't do his best.  He’ll, however, have to go past or shove aside his brother, Gideon.

Gideon has an edge over Raymond, because, putting aside other family inheritance, he inherited the then moribund Kanu party and even though he has not done much to grow it, his father’s passing gives him the opportunity to do just that. There are good reasons he may just pull that off.

First, we may not be Kanu card-carrying members, but we’re all Kanu in one way or another and if in doubt, take a closer look at how politics is conducted in the country. You’ll realise everything is from the original independence party playbook.

Second, there’s a generation of Kenyans still around and active in politics who have fond memories of the good side of Kanu days and a good and robust campaign to win their hearts back shouldn’t be that difficult.

Third, it is very clear Jubilee is headed to a split and those on the Kieleweke side would be low-lying fruit to pick for Kanu.

Of course, all this should be done in the context of BBI and, more specifically, with an aim to bolster BBI where Gideon stands a good chance to have a seat at the ruling table.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator