Leadership baton handed to Baringo Senator Gideon Moi
Eric Wainaina @EWainaina
The family of the late retired President Daniel arap Moi picked Baringo Senator Gideon Moi as their political heir.
In brief ceremony, the clan handed the baton of leadership to the eldest son, Raymond Moi, who in turn gave it to his last born brother to fill their departed father’s political shoes.
He asked Gideon to not only keep their father’s party, Kanu, alive, but to reinvigorate it— an issue that seemed to preoccupy the minds of most party members, including Tiaty Member of Parliament William Kamket, who spoke at the burial ceremony at Kabarak University grounds yesterday.
The passing of the leadership baton from Moi, who was the reign in the Rift Valley, to Gideon is likely to set stage for a fierce battle for the control of the expansive region between Deputy President William Ruto and the youngest Moi scion.
The ceremony was led by Michael Korir, shortly before Moi’s body was taken to the grave site after the service at Kabarak yesterday.
Korir, who is a member from Moi’s Kapchepkeres clan, was accompanied by two elders who donned traditional regalia, had been tasked by the entire family to seek directions from Moi’s sons on who would be the family’s political face.
Being the current oldest son after the death of Jonathan, Raymond, who is the Rongai MP, was supposed to take the club that was synonymous with Moi during his presidency as the symbol of the responsibility, and was called upon by Korir to receive it.
“The homestead of Mzee cannot just be left like that according to our traditions. Mzee has left us but a lion always sires lions and I think here there are enough lions (sons).
Traditionally, it’s the first born who takes over the role of manning the home and I want to invite Raymond Moi to give the directions,” Korir told mourners.
But Raymond said, while he is the older son in the Moi family, he will only take his position on family matters while Gideon, who is the Kanu chairman takes on politics.
“In terms of seniority, I am now the leader of this family but politically, I want to pass it to Gideon. Politically, it shall be Gideon (who will be the head). For me, like Mzee protected us we (family) are also telling this one (Gideon), that Kanu must be resuscitated,” he said.
Raymond said Kanu needs to be vibrant especially because the members want to participate in the Building the Bridges Initiative (BBI), a process which Ruto and his supporters had viewed it as a plot to scuttle his 2022 bid.
Gideon, who has declared that he will seek the Presidency in 2022, and whose ambitions have fuelled animosity between him and the DP as well as their supporters, was handed a dummy “rungu” similar that his father carried as a symbol of power and responsibility.
“Honestly, I was not expecting this. To the family of Moi, even holding this club…I will take it and I will do my best and I will put God firs.
We shall say much afterwards but thank you to the family and the clan,” Gideon who is Moi’s last son told mourners.
This occurred shortly after former Prime Minister Raila Odinga told off those who have coined the “dynasty vs hustler” mantra ahead of the 2022 poll, saying Gideon like any Kenyan is free to seek any political seat.
The Orange Development Movement (ODM) leader, who is among those who have been categorised as part of the dynasty because he is a son of first Kenya’s Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, said all people are free to seek any leadership regardless of their background.
The ceremony by the Mois took place in the presence of Ruto, whose supporters led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen have been unhappy with Gideon’s ambitions, considering they are both battling for the control of the Kalenjin community.
Ruto is hoping to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 and in the past few years, he and Gideon have been reading from a different political script.
Last week, during a live TV interview, Ruto confessed that he and Moi had a run-in in 2005 over Kalenjin community succession politics after he defied the latter’s wish regarding the region’s kingpin.
Raila, in a thin veiled remark targeting the DP and his supporters, said all Kenyans have an equal chance of seeking any political seat in the country irrespective of their family background.
“Moi struggled and died the way he has died. His children are also struggling other any other Kenyans just like President Uhuru Kenyatta is a Kenyan and Raila is also a Kenyan.
Why should someone think that he is more entitled to lead this country than Raila Odinga because he is the son of Oginga Odinga or Gideon because he is the son of Moi? Gideon has right like any other Kenyan to vie for any position that he wants in this country.