Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has applauded the late former Kenyan President, Daniel Arap Moi for being a friend to Uganda and playing a pivotal role in the revival of the East African Community (EAC).
“I have been saddened to learn about the death of Mzee Daniel Arap Moi, Kenya’s former President. The Senior citizen has departed at the ripe age of 95. I send my condolences to the Parliament and all people of Kenya over this loss,” reads part of Kadaga’s message.
Moi, 95, passed on Monday night at Nairobi hospital where he was receiving treatment. Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta announced the death of the Country’s second President on Tuesday morning. In her message, Kadaga commended the late Moi for having been a good neighbor who provided sanctuary to several Ugandans whose lives were in grave danger during political instability.
“During his presidency, which spanned from 1978 to 2002, Uganda went through throes of political instability. Over the period, Uganda witnessed seven regime changes. Many Ugandans fled and found refuge in Kenya,” Kadaga recounted.
She also described Moi as one of the people who enhanced trade and political co-existence between Uganda and Kenya. In a separate tribute, the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah recounted when he first met the late Moi.
“I was running the Aggrey Awori Presidential Campaigns, looking for money and regional support when we met. I was picked off the tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in three cars and handed suits. The first time I had traveled in my campaign clothes from Busia straight to Entebbe, no clothes and no passport,” said Oulanyah on his official Facebook page.
He recounted how Moi got off his chair to meet him half way from the door welcoming him in Swahili “Karubi sana Kijana”, which literary means welcome young man.
“Surprised that I could speak Kiswahili, he said “oh you speak Swahili, many Ugandans don’t”, I said “I am one of them”. He laughed. He beckoned me to a chair opposite him. Then he asked his people to leave and we started our discussions. The meeting took about 45 mins. And during all this time, he would look at my face directly as if to extract some facts I was not stating. It was our first meeting. I can’t say I was uncomfortable but under the circumstances, he tried his best to make the meeting comfortable for me,” Oulanyah narrates.
He describes the late Moi as humorous, calm, statemanly and one of the men one wanted to confide in. He says that his words when spoken were softly calculated and steadied the most troubled of minds. He says Kenya and East Africa has lost a great statesman.
The Kabweri County MP, Francis Gonahasa commended the former President for having trust in the country’s health system.
The Kakuuto County MP, Christopher Kalemba also referred to the late Moi as a great statesman who peacefully handed over power. He noted that the death of Moi is a big blow to the EAC.
Arap Moi was born in 1924 in Sacho, Kenya and became a teacher at 21 years of age. He served as Education Minister and Vice President. He replaced the Country’s first President Jomo Kenyatta in 1978.
He served for 24 years until 2002 when he retired paving away for the election of President, Mwai Kibaki.