Raila Odinga and his wife Ida have mourned the late President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, saying they celebrate the former Head of State’s long life of service to the nation.
Moi died on Tuesday morning at Nairobi Hospital, aged 95.
Raila, who had admittedly had a complicated relationship with Daniel Moi, recalled that he first met the ‘professor of politics’ in 1958 as a teen.
“I first met President Moi in 1958 when my father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga invited the first African elected members of the Legislative Council to our home in Bondo. I was a teenager and Moi, who represented the Rift Valley, was in the company of Masinde Muliro, Lawrence Oguda, Tom Mboya, Bernard Mate, James Muimi and Ronald Ngala,” Raila recalled.
“From that initial encounter, our paths and careers were later to cross in various capacities and roles,” recalled Raila, who became one of Moi’s political rivals.
Reminiscing on Moi’s ascent to the presidency following the death of Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, in 1978, Raila said the late president strived for unity.
“Moi inherited a fairly polarised political landscape when he became President in 1978. He strived to hold the country together as he struggled to unite the people, often with mixed results,” read his statement to newsrooms.
Often credited for being the driving force behind Kenya’s ‘second liberation’, Raila acknowledged he was critical of Moi’s regime and single-party state policy.
“The decision by his administration to make the country a single-party state became a major point of disagreement in our politics that caused the clamour for the repeal of Section 2 (a). To his credit, President Moi gave in to the clamour for change and allowed the country to return to multiparty politics,” Raila said.
“Moi and I reconciled after the political differences of the 1980s and early 90s and we were able to work together to bring more reforms to the country” Raila added, concluding: “President Moi carried and conducted himself with complete dignity befitting an elder statesman. I am grateful for the time I spent with him.”