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Meet eloquent Moi grandson who wowed crowd during burial

By Noah Cheploen
Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
Clint Moi (left), former President Daniel arap Moi’s eldest grandson, eulogises him during Moi’s burial at his Kabarak home last week. PD/Gerald ithana

He might have spoken for less than five minutes but his speech and poise generated a lot of buzz with many Kenyans concluding that he is the one who is going to achieve the dreams of his father, Jonathan ‘JT’ Toroitich Moi, who died last year. 

For Clint Moi, the first born child of JT, the burial of his grandfather; former President Daniel arap Moi - last week—could be his turning point considering the excitement and enthusiasm that his short speech elicited. 

In his own words, the death of the former president had put him in a state of mixed emotions, that is: sorrow and celebration. Sad that Mzee Moi is gone forever but also glad that he grew up under his tutelage.

“Today I find myself in a state of mixed emotions as I pay tribute to my grandfather,” the 34-year-old son of former Safari Rally driver opened his tribute as the country’s top leadership listened keenly. 

Great stature

“He was a man of such great stature that the name Moi was once synonymous with president: when I was younger, a common joke amongst my peers was, “Moi wa Uganda ni nani?” he said, attracting a thunderous applause. 

With a tinge of Mzee Moi’s famous husky voice, Clint went on to explain how the former Head of State shaped his life and that of his siblings and cousins saying holidays for Moi family will never be the same again. 

“I am immensely privileged and grateful to God to be Moi’s first grandchild I was thus lucky to grow under the tutelage of one of Africa’s greatest leaders,” he said, adding: “His principles of peace, love and unity are etched deep in every Kenyan’s memory.” 

“He was many things to many. A leader, environmentalist, mentor, educationalist and for those who found themselves on the wrong side of his favour a formidable enemy but to me foremost he was just simply kugo (grandfather),” he said to another round of applause.

He said Mzee Moi instilled in his grandchildren the importance of having ambition, focus, and humility and “above all love of Christ who is the purveyor of all wisdom.” 

But the way he crafted his message didn’t escape keen observers particularly the fact that he took time to appreciate the people of Baringo County where the Moi family traces its roots. 

“He was and remained a dutiful son of Baringo and for that I want to send my deepest and sincere appreciationthe people of Baringo…” said Clint. 

“I want to thank you for gifting Mzee Moi to my family and to the world. We could not have experienced his greatness without your support and I speak for many saying we remain indebted to you all,” he stated.

“True to his programme to self, schools opened up many rural parts of this country. It is not lost to us, people of Baringo, where we have the highest number of schools per capita how important these schools have been in launching us to the national scene, he said, adding that President Moi understood that education is a great equaliser and wielded it as a powerful tool to empower Kenyans. 

He said he will miss watching news and national geographic with his grandfather indicating that Moi, revered and reviled by many, was just an ordinary man in private. “I will also miss his counsel his encouragement, his unwavering support for his grandchildren and his belief in our abilities,” he said. 

Many people in Baringo in particular see Mzee Moi in Clint: the man who lived in the city but loved village life because the young Moi spends most of his time at their home in Kabimoi near Eldama Ravine.

Of all Moi’s grandchildren, Clint is easily approachable just like his late father, JT who lived a modest life and interacted with ordinary villagers for almost his entire life, living side by side with his mother Lena. 

He reportedly applied for a CEC position in Governor Stanley Kiptis cabinet in 2017. However, he was not picked but this goes to show a sneak preview of the young Moi’s future. 

Clint was the most prominent member of the Moi family during the interdenominational prayers held for the former president at Sacho on February 9. His presence couldn’t go unnoticed. 

Finance Graduate

The University of Cincinnati (Ohio, US) finance graduate calmed down locals who were demanding that the body of the former president be taken to Sacho or Kabarnet for public viewing saying the Moi family cherished them. 

“I have seen in the social media people asking these questions but when God blesses you to reach that level the state takes charge… even the family follow what the state says because he doesn’t belong to us alone but the whole world,” he assured. 

Social media users went into overdrive with observations and comments, many trying to put meaning into his carefully presented messages. 

“He did well to appreciate Baringo people for the unwavering support. It is this support that catapulted Mzee to be the ultimate occupier of the house on the hill. We appreciate Mzee’s contribution to us the people of Baringo,” said Luka Kipyegen.

“Clint is articulate. His future is bright. He could be playing strategy. And that is in order,” he added.

“Clint lives amongst us here in Baringo... He knows we need to be recognised. I salute him,” said Philip Koiment.  “In him, I saw the next big thing in Baringo politics from Moi family…” said a Facebook user by the name Nickton Jeremy. 

But it is not the first time that Clint is attracting attention because of his cool demeanour.  When his father died last April, a cool and collected Clint received guests including high profile visitors such as DP William Ruto at their Kabimoi home.  

Carried himself humbly

He also addressed media and briefed country on burial plans describing his father as a generous person, something that endeared him to many.  “It is humbling to see how much he was loved. It was fantastic growing up as his child,” he said at the time.

He also remembers his father as a disciplined and organised man who was in touch with the people. “He always wanted to know what was happening around him. He carried himself humbly, was accommodating and always ready to host those who visited him,” Kiprono said. 

His father, JT, vied for Eldama Ravine parliamentary seat in both 1997 and 2002 general elections but lost in both instances to Musa Sirma.