Uhuru pays glowing tribute to Moi on his 90th birthday
It gives me great pleasure to join the nation, friends and family of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi in celebrating his 90th birthday. This occasion is no doubt a monumental milestone in the life of President Moi, just as it is in the life of our Republic. He was born as Kenya came into being as a colony, and not only lived, but grew to be an active player in every event that shaped our country into what it is today.
President Moi started serving his community at an early age. It is this championship that eventually thrust him to a higher political platform, where he thrived and became one of our country’s iconic nationalists. He was one of Kenya’s earliest indigenous legislators, serving at the Legislative Council where he was able, together with his brothers in the cause, to eventually participate in the Lancaster House negotiations that yielded us a Republican constitution and Independence. The indefatigable patriot served his people after Independence as a minister, vice president and eventually Kenya’s longest serving president. Throughout this time, President Moi made his mark, often in historic, indelible ways.
President Moi is a great believer in national unity. His belief that leadership must do everything to preserve our unity and shun all that threaten it is a salient ethical and ideological beacon, which should continue to inspire all of us.
President Moi is also on record as a leader who achieved a lot in uplifting historically marginalised communities, and in empowering the weak. Through affirmative government programmes as well as his renowned philanthropy, he ensured that historically excluded people made their way to the table of national fraternity and equality. He opened educational opportunities for children from arid, semi arid and pastoral communities and those from poor backgrounds, thereby touching lives and transforming the country.
Especially outstanding has been President Moi’s championship of women and girl – child empowerment. So successful has he been in this regard that many women managers, entrepreneurs and public servants, as well as researchers, academics and other high achievers are direct beneficiaries of Mzee Moi ‘ s deliberate policies. As we speak today, his legacy continues, with more girls enrolling for post – graduate courses than boys in a number of our colleges and universities. His opposition to female circumcision enabled the country to confidently push back an insidious throwback, which harmed our girls and retarded their development into productive citizens.
Mzee is an enthusiastic environmentalist. Long before conservation became fashionable, he had instituted fully – fledged tree planting and soil conservation programmes and rallied the entire nation into keeping the land green.
In everything he does, Mzee Moi has been inclusive, and shunned every manifestation of elitism. As far as possible, he strove to incorporate the views of ordinary wananchi in formulating policies and in Government decision making. His insistence that the ultimate decider and beneficiary of a new dispensation would be ‘Wanjiku’ inaugurated an important era of ‘Wanjiku-driven’ governance in Kenya. He has always walked with kings, yet has never lost his common touch.
A devout Christian, Mzee Moi testified his faith by word and deed without fail. In turn, God has always stood by him.
I have known Mzee since my childhood. He has always been a thoughtful, firm, consistent and punctual man. He is also kind, generous and patient. A great listener, he never rushes to conclusions and reflects thoroughly before speaking. That is why his advice and warnings are almost always prophetic. He possesses a profound understanding of human nature.
Mzee is a great teacher from whom we have all learned a lot. He is also a talented leader, whose legacy will always resound in the annals of our history. He embodies the life of our Republic: it’s humble and tough origins, growth, triumphs and setbacks, and blessed prospects.
We must be thankful always for Mzee’s life and service, and always let him know that we appreciate the blessing and inspiration he has been to us. As we continue the task of nation building as he taught us, let us all reflect on the many ways we can emulate Mzee, and improve on his legacy.
On behalf of the people of Kenya, I am honoured to take this opportunity to wish Mzee a happy birthday. May he continue to enjoy the blessing of health and long life that we have all wished him and prayed for. I want President Moi to know that his birthday is also an historic Kenyan milestone, and that the work he and our founding fathers began continues. Today we rededicate ourselves to live as one nation in peace, love and unity.
Mungu aendelee kumbariki Mzee Moi.