By George Nyongesa
I take great exception to the article by Mr. Nathaniel Otum from Migori, titled “Moi ageing graciously” in one of our dailies dated September 7, 2008 praising Moi’s enviable public charity in relinquishing power, his wise counsel to the public and even going further to associate him with icon leaders like Nelson Mandela. These assertions, especially comparing Moi to Mandela, exemplify lack of understanding and disrespect to historical facts and are highly misplaced.
I would like to inform Mr. Otum that for 24 years, former President Moi’s government besides running our economy down and preaching tribalism in reverse; he presided over massive human indignities and loss of life. The precursor to 2007 election related violence were experimented during Moi’s rule as evidenced with 1992 Rift Valley tribal clashes, Likoni clashes and Wagalla massacres.
Extra judicial killings were perfected under Moi’s reign where security personnel spelled insecurity to their innocent citizens. Remember how many Kenyans died in the clamor for multi-partyism? It was during Moi’s watch that the country lost progressive leaders like Foreign Minister, Robert ouko, Archibishop Alexander Muge and Father Kaiser simply they had dissenting voice.
During Moi’s rule discussions on social injustices was punishable by Kidnapping and enforced disappearance or life sentences. How many journalists were tortured, maimed or killed for practicing truth telling?
Moi has never repented over the Nyayo house torture chambers and the crimes against humanity perpetrated under his government orders. That Moi celebrated his 85th birthday only makes me wonder how many of those who died or those they left behind would have equally wanted a long life. During his rule Kenyans were oppressed, kidnapped, tortured and detained without trial. Does Mr. Otum have any idea how many became widows, orphans or mentally ill during Moi’s rule? Moi’s sporadic appearance and public commentaries are actions of a man who is in the cold and misses the public limelight.
There is a lot that Mandela loses if he is compared to Moi. Moi rightly belongs to the company of former presidents Kamuzu Banda, Mobutu Sesseko or Idi Amin. I am of the opinion if Moi’s claim that he is a Christian be true, he should publicly confess to and repent for the inhumanities he put this country especially to families who lost their loved ones and spend his retirement reciting over his rosary for God’s forgiveness over having misused his power.