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President Kenyatta’s tribute to former leader Daniel Moi

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UHURU KENYATTA

By UHURU KENYATTA
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It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of personal loss that I make this tribute, in honour of the life of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, who rested on the early hours of Tuesday February 4, 2020.

Today, as the solemn procession of the late President Moi proceeds through the streets of our Nation’s capital, to lie-in-state at Parliament buildings; we commence the final journey of a great son of Kenya, a cherished brother, a loving father, a mentor to many, a father of our nation, a champion of Pan-Africanism, and the Second President of the Republic of Kenya.

The question that we all should ask ourselves is: “How does one mourn an iconic leader?” A leader who spent almost his entire life in service to our nation, whose story of heroism, sacrifice and service, began in the pre-independence era.

How is a man who achieved so much more than is expected in a lifetime – be celebrated? 

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What would be a befitting send off or national honour for a man who built Kenya, in large part by the works of his hands?

A man who, together with other iconic leaders, helped Shepherd our Country out of the shackles of Colonial Rule; and into the Freedom and Self Determination of our modern independent State.

How else can a grateful Nation celebrate the life of a man whose calm and steady hand reassured a young Nation and her Allies, during the peaceful transition into the Second Administration?

The sun has set on a truly extraordinary man.

A masterful yet thoughtful leader.

A suave yet firm Diplomat.

One who served the nation with dignity and honour.

One whose wisdom and diplomatic finesse kept Kenya, both relevant and neutral, even as the whole world was in the grips of the Cold War.

“A passing cloud” that served with distinction for 24 years. A decisive and courageous Commander-in Chief of formidable achievements, who chose well and always put the country first. 

A balanced leader who during the clamour for multipartisym, on listening to both sides – chose well, setting the stage for national rebirth through the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

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A tactful leader, who during the quest for a new constitutional order, listened and quietly chose what was best for the country.

A visionary leader who, in 2002, when his party – and, I as their candidate – lost the Presidential election, left office with a gracious last word of advice to those who, thereafter, took up the heavy responsibilities he had borne for a quarter of a century.

Today, we to celebrate the life of a patriot who wherever in Kenya he found himself, he would calm fears and raise the hopes of everyone who heard him. 

No part of Kenya was strange to him, and nor were her citizens. Deep in his D.N.A, he understood and prized our culture and national character.

To his last day in office as President, he remained committed and ready to defend Africa and her people. He believed, deeply, that we had the answers to the questions that troubled our continent.

Our Nation is not alone in mourning the passing of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. The whole of Africa is mourning with us. We continue to receive messages of sympathy and admiration for the life and service of Mzee Moi from around the world.

We celebrate the life of a teacher for life and a mentor to many – myself included. One whose ingenuity bequeath our Nation many projects.

President Moi was a mortal man, whose works and legacy are immortal. The Republic of Kenya, the community of East Africa and the great continent of Africa, bears his indelible mark, which, I am convinced, will endure long into the future.

May Mzee Moi’s memory live as long as our Republic endures; and may we, to whom he has left the care of the Republic, prove ourselves worthy of his bequest.

We commit Mzee Moi’s Soul to the Almighty God, thanking the Creator for sending to us His Servant, whom after nearly a century of selfless and steadfast service, now rests in His Glory and his well-deserved reward.

God bless you and our beloved Nation – Kenya.

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Chinese Embassy confirms more flights to land in Kenya – Nairobi News

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The Chinese Embassy has confirmed that there will be more flights arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport over the coming weeks amidst concerns of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This comes despite the Kenyan government’s refusal to evacuate Kenyans stuck in China due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Chinese citizens continue arriving in droves unhindered.

The Embassy released a statement on Wednesday confirming that the China Southern Airlines resumed flights from Guangzhou to Nairobi.

The airline’s flights are now reduced to once a week until March 25, 2020.

According to the Chinese Embassy, they notified the Ministry of Health in advance, and that all passengers on board were screened, cleared and advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.

While the statement is not clear on what the 14-day self-quarantine entails, the Embassy said that they have provided information to the Ministry for monitoring.

The Ministry of Health issued a travel advisory to all Kenyans against visiting countries experiencing mass infections.

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“Kenyans are advised against non-essential travel to countries experiencing the outbreak. This is in view of expanding geographical of the outbreak across the world,” the statement read in part.

Kenyans were also urged to maintain hygiene and avoid contact with persons exhibiting suspicious symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and sneezing.

With the global number of those diagnosed with the illness is estimated at 80,000, Kenya is exposing her people to adversity of an unknown magnitude.

While reports indicate that Covid-19 numbers have stabilised in China, there is no telling what the virus could do in countries that are vulnerable due to poor healthcare systems.

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Court halts transfer of teachers from North-Eastern

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SAM KIPLAGAT

By SAM KIPLAGAT
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The Employment and Labour Relations Court has issued a temporary order barring the transfer of teachers from Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties.

In a ruling issued on Tuesday, Justice Hellen Wasilwa also directed the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), its CEO Nancy Macharia and the Attorney General to file their responses within seven days.

In a case filed by advocate Hussein Yarrow, the court heard that TSC had transferred non-local teachers in the three counties, a move he termed as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Mr Yarrow said TSC should have considered the best interest of the children before moving the teachers. He added that the mass transfers have affected areas which did not experience terror attacks.

According to Mr Yarrow, the attack that led to TSC’s move happened in a far-flung border area in Garissa County and it was unreasonable to move teachers in other areas which have not been affected.

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“The transfers have occasioned untold suffering to school children and has brought the education sector to a standstill,” he said, adding that the reasons for the move are exaggerated because there are other non-local professionals working in other sectors such as health.

TSC started transferring teachers following an attack in Kamuthe area, Garissa County where three non-local teachers were targeted and killed.

Speaking in Parliament, Ms Macharia said 42 teachers have been killed in similar attacks since 2014.

Justice Wasilwa directed that the matter be mentioned on March 12.

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Zimbabwe: Mugabe, Moi and Now Mubarak – Death Favours Africa’s Strongmen

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Former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak died on Monday in Cairo at the age of 91. A former Air Chief Marshal in the Egyptian air force, Mubarak was president for 30 years before the Arab Spring uprising swept him out of office in February 2011.

He was then detained and tried on charges of murdering protesters but his conviction was overturned and he was acquitted by a higher court in 2017. Mubarak and his sons were, however, convicted in May 2015 of corruption.

I was a student at the American University in Cairo when Mubarak, Egypt’s longest-ruling president, who came to be dubbed “Pharaoh”, was The Man. But we didn’t call him Pharaoh.

There was then a popular Egyptian cheese with a drawing of a laughing cow and the street agreed it looked like Mubarak. As a result, among young urban Egyptians, he was known as the “laughing cow”. You could tell a friend to bring you back “a Mubarak” from the shop. But that was the only laughing matter about him; he ruled with an iron fist.

With his death at 91, we need to look afresh at the connection between authoritarian rule and longevity of African rulers.

In the past seven months, three former African strongmen have died. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, who wrecked a fine country, died in September 2019. He was ejected by his ruling Zanu-PF in alliance with the army in November 2017. Mugabe was 95.

Daniel arap Moi, Kenya’s strongman from 1978 to 2002, when he stepped down after 24 years in power, died on February 4, 2020. He was 95 — although some people claimed he was over 100.

The likeable vegan and accordion-playing former president Kenneth Kaunda is going at 95. He ruled Zambia as a one-party state (1964-1991) when he lost the election upon the country’s return to multipartyism.

In Senegal, former president Abdoulaye Wade is 93. He ruled from 2000 to 2012 and was disgraced at the ballot after he tried to change the constitution and cling on.

One of the rare democrats, who went out in their nineties, was South Africa’s Nelson Mandela. He died at 95 in December 2013. He became president at 76 in 1994 and left in 1999 after one term. But in many ways, Mandela was South African president for 30 years. For most of the 27 years that he was detained by the apartheid regime, he ruled the conversation about South Africa and became a global deity. Hundreds of songs were sung about him; plays were performed; a flurry of art about him, concerts and street names in his honour flowed almost endlessly.

It made sense to retire after one term in formal office; his most dominant leadership was when he was in jail.

Democrats and reformed dictators die generally younger — when they are below 80. Guinea’s president Lansana Conté, an autocrat who became a democratic convert, died in 2008 at 74. Zambia’s Michael Sata, a democrat, died in office, in his first term, in 2014 at the age of 77.

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Ghana’s John Atta Mills, a democrat, died during his first term in 2012, aged 68. Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika, a democrat of sorts, died in his second term in 2012 at 78. Guinea’s Malam Bacai Sanha, a democrat, checked out in 2012 at the age of 64, in his first term.

One of the few Iron Men to die early was Ethiopia’s implacable Meles Zenawi, in 2012. In the wider scheme of African rule, he was a baby — just 57 years old.

You get the picture. So, why does fortune seem to favour Africa’s former and current strongmen, dictators, and half-hearted democrats? It’s a subject that requires serious research and more scientific study, but there are clues.

There is a view that a strongman who assumes a godlike status like Mubarak (and other Big Men who are still around, whom we shall not name out of fear), gets a big high, an adrenalin rush, which is generally good for your health. Consider, for example, being Egypt’s autocrat Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and when you come to Parliament they roll out a red carpet for your car.