How Moi made sure send off would be quick, cost-effective
Alvin Mwangi, Zadock Angira and Noah Cheploen
Former President Daniel arap Moi had given firm instructions on how his funeral should be conducted, including the type of casket that will carry his body to its final resting place at his Kabarak home tomorrow, the People Daily can reveal.
A source close to the family said the former President had given his family specifications of the casket which, he said, should not be unnecessarily expensive.
“He was very particular. He insisted that the casket should be made of hardwood, preferably from the mvule tree.
He wanted a modest but decent casket,” the source who requested not to be identified discussing private family details said.
Besides having stated the design of the casket, the former President is also reported to have requested his family to ensure a quick burial, preferably within a week.
Indeed his burial tomorrow comes nine days after his death at the Nairobi Hospital last Tuesday morning.
Other than giving instructions about his funeral, the former Head of State is also said to have implored his family to reach out to as many of those people he is said to have wronged during his presidency as possible to “iron out his differences with them.”
Retired African Inland Church (AIC) Bishop Silas Yego, whom Moi had appointed to preside over his burial ceremony, seemed to point to this yesterday when he said the family’s major role in the funeral had been to select the casket.
“The funeral steering committee appointed by the government is doing everything. Only the coffin was chosen by the family.
But so far, we are happy that the military and the government are respecting the wishes of the former Head of State.
They have yielded to almost all the wishes he had made on how his funeral ceremony should be conducted,” he said.
Bishop Yego added: “He was very sincere with the forgiveness he sought from Nyayo Stadium which is the same venue he requested his funeral service to be conducted.
Before he died, he had reached out to a number of the people he had wronged, including Raila Odinga and Koigi wa Wamwere. He told his family members to reach out to others.”
Initially, there were plans to import a coffin but the plan was shelved after consultations within the family.
The family felt importing a coffin could have taken some time and would have gone against their father’s wish to be buried within the shortest time possible.
Similarly, the family is said to have wanted to stick to Moi’s wish for a decent modest coffin.
We have established that sons Raymond and Gideon selected the casket at Premium Casket Dealers at the Lee Funeral home.
Moi’s custom-made casket is made out of mvule wood and is dark brown and will cost more than Sh600,000 when the cost of accessories is factored. Some of the material to be used was imported from the United Kingdom, including gold plating.
“The family has been monitoring each and every step in the preparation of the casket. They wanted something that will last more than 10 years,” a source at the morgue said.
A swing bar handle, adjustable bed, urn-style corners and crafted detailed finishing are some of the add-on features.
Yesterday, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka were among dignitaries that viewed Moi’s body at Parliament Buildings.
Contrary to the expectations of many people, who thought that he would don a Luo traditional regalia and chant Luo dirges like he did at the funeral of former vice president Michael Wamalwa; Raila resorted to low-key formal mourning.
Raila, who arrived at Parliament Buildings shortly after 2pm accompanied by his wife Ida turned up dressed in a navy blue suit, a white shirt, dotted red tie, black shoes and a white cowboy hat and a flying whisk.
Today, Moi’s body will be ferried to Nyayo Stadium by a gun carriage, a tradition that is widely used in State funerals. The body is expected to leave Lee Funeral Home at 7.30am escorted by the military to Nyayo National Stadium through State House, Nairobi.
All Kenyans and visitors planning to attend the memorial service are expected to be seated by 7 am, according to Government Spokesman Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna.
The procession will proceed on Kenyatta Avenue then join Uhuru Highway to the stadium.
Among the visitors expected is an Ethiopian delegation led by the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewdie. According to the government, at least 10 heads of state are expected to grace the service.
The funeral steering committee was yesterday putting the final touches to the arrangements.
The body will be flown to Kabarak on Wednesday morning.
Yesterday, news that mourners will be treated to snacks and soda during the burial received a barrage of condemnation with Kenyans on social media saying it was not befitting a man of Moi’s stature.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya told the press in his office that snacks and soda would be provided for the first 30,000 mourners. However, he said the venue is big enough to hold as many as 60,000 people.
Noting that necessary security measures and other logistical plans had been completed, Natembeya urged Kenyans planning to attend the funeral ceremony to be patient, disciplined and to cooperate with police at all times.
He said school buses would provide free transport from Nakuru town to Kabarak from 4.30am, adding that doors to Kabarak will open as from 5am.
At the same time, Senators yesterday held a special sitting to eulogise and condole with the family of retired President Daniel arap Moi who died last week at The Nairobi Hospital.
While moving the motion, Senate Majority Leader Senator Kipchumba Murkomen described the late Moi as an individual who was called by God to leadership.
Murkomen said he was given an opportunity to serve the country and did a splendid job in expanding education opportunities for very many Kenyans.
“He built primary and secondary schools even universities, his investment in education made it possible for a majority of Kenyans from marginalised areas to access education,” the senator said.
His minority counterpart Senator James Orengo, praised Moi for repealing section 2A of the Constitution to allow for the introduction on multiparty politics in the run-up to the 1992 general polls.
Orengo, who is one of the multi-party crusaders, described Moi as a statesman, a person who brought peace and in the region. “We are expressing our condolences.
We are mourning a statesman, a person who brought peace and in the region generally as we see Moi on his last journey,” he said.
After three days of public viewing which saw over 200,000 people pay their last respect to President Moi, MPs saw off the body in a procession which ended at the main gate.
Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) led the leadership and the over 200 MPs in the procession.
Moi’s family led by sons Raymond, Gideon, Philip and grandsons followed the procession.
During the brief ceremony, MPs sang popular patriotic songs in praise of the late president as the casket carrier was driven past them.
The military was not left behind as they performed a parade in honour of their former Commander- In- Chief.
Meanwhile, a caravan of mourners last evening left Mombasa to attend Moi’s memorial service at Nyayo Stadium.
The mourners, drawn from various parts of Coast region, gathered at the Treasury square awaiting to be flagged-off.
Two 45-seater minibuses were availed to the mourners but by the time of going to press, three more buses were expected to join the caravan. The travellers eulogised Moi as an icon of peace. Additional reporting by Hillary Mageka.