Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday led the nation in giving former president Daniel arap Moi the final send-off at a burial ceremony in Kabarak, Nakuru County, northwest of the capital Nairobi.
Thousands of ordinary Kenyans, several local leaders and foreign dignitaries attended the State ceremony that was followed by millions of citizens across the country on televisions.
Moi, who was Kenya’s second president and ruled for 24 years, died on Feb. 4 and was buried after a week of national mourning.
President Kenyatta said the country had lost a patriot and a statesman who steered Kenya during difficult times and ensured there is great stability.
“We shall miss Moi but the greatest gift we can give him is to continue to emulate his life. I am here to say Kwa Heri (goodbye) to a man I called my father, teacher and mentor,” he said.
Kenyatta said that the former president held his hand when his father, Jomo Kenyatta — the founding president – passed away in 1978.
President Kenyatta announced that the government would help build a hospital and a solar generation plant in honor of Moi.
Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto said Moi built a strong, formidable political system that put the country together.
“He was a nationalist, a patriot from the first day. He made the decision that ethnicity would not have a place in the Rift Valley and across Kenya,” he said.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga said Moi struggled through his life to reach the apex of the country’s leadership, thus, should be emulated by all.
“We need to move from mourning Moi to celebrating an iconic leader; a great father of this nation who has lifted us from all corners of the republic to be leaders,” said Kalonzo Musyoka, an opposition leader and who served the country as Moi’s foreign affairs minister.
Gideon Moi, Moi’s son, said the family will open their father’s Kabarak home for 40 days to allow Kenyans to mourn him.
“When I look around, I see a sea of humanity representing Kenyans, my father would have appreciated this, I see the Kenyan spirit. Thank you all,” he said.
After a church service, Moi’s casket draped in Kenyan flags, was ferried on a military hearse to his burial site at the Kabarak home.
The military had been in charge of his burial arrangements form the day he died to Wednesday when he was buried.
And before he was interred at about 3.30 p.m. local time (12:30 GMT), Moi, as a former president of Kenya, was honored with a 19-gun salute by the Kenyan military.
The ceremony concluded a one-week of mourning the fallen leader who was described as a peace-loving leader, a nationalist and a pan Africanist, whose efforts saw the establishment of the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Enditem