Africans in Canada gathered in Toronto earlier this week to commemorate the life of Kenya’s second president, Daniel Arap Moi. President Moi died earlier this month at the age of 95. He was Kenya’s longest-serving president, from 1978 to 2002.
As might be expected of someone who ruled the country for 24 years, the former president was equally loved, feared or despised, depending on whom you talk to.
The ceremony and signing of a condolence book in Toronto was led by the Kenyan High Commissioner to Ottawa, Ambassador John Lanyasunya and the Honorary Consulate in Toronto, Sunir Chandaria.
Kenyans in attendance were thrilled by the appearance of a surprise guest, Walter Mong’are Sr., simply known as Nyambane. Nyambane, a member of the trio Redykyulass, portrayed Moi in a political satire show that aired on Kenyan TV in the ’90s and early 2000s. He is currently a deputy director of youth programs at the Presidency, in the government of Kenya.
Remarks by the three recognized the President’s leadership and effort in many sectors including:
Education – Moi started off as a primary school teacher and was known to highly value education. Maziwa ya Nyayo was a school feeding program he initiated for all public primary schools to keep poor children in school.
He promoted health services through Nyayo wards; encouraged environmental protection awareness to curb soil erosion ‘mmomonyoko wa undongo’; supported the arts, sports and athletics; engaged the State in peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts across Africa and in Bosnia; and upheld support for Regional Economic Zones.
Mtukufu Rais, as he was popularly known, touted peace, love and unity as the guiding principles for Kenya as a nation.
Though Moi’s legacy is marred by massive corruption, political repression, economic mismanagement and widespread poverty, there are thousands who hold strong affection for the late President and brought it to full display during his State funeral last week.
There is no doubt that whichever side they lean, memories of President Moi will linger.
~Essie for Wakenya Canada