State agrees with family to bury Moi at Kabarak home
Zaddock Angira and Hilary Mageka
Retired President Daniel arap Moi will be laid to rest at his Kabarak home, Nakuru county, according to his wishes, after the family resisted attempts by the government to have him buried in Nairobi.
The family was yesterday engaged in a heated argument with senior government officials charged with making the former Head of State’s funeral arrangements when they proposed to have his remains interred at a site in Uhuru Gardens, off Lang’ata road, Nairobi, that would later be designated the ‘Heroes Corner’.
The family, led by Moi’s son Raymond, who is the Rongai MP, insisted that though the former President did not make it formal, he had expressed his wish to be buried in Kabarak, next to his wife Lena.
“The meeting at Kabarnet Gardens had to summon elders to give their views. The government had thought that it would accord the retired President more respect by having him buried at the designated Hereos Corner than Kabarak.
But a compromise had to be reached, and that is how we stuck with Kabarak,” said a source who attended the two-hour meeting starting at about 7am.
The government had first floated the Heroes Corner proposal on Wednesday with the Moi family expressing instant opposition.
Yesterday, the government team was led by deputy Head of Public Service Wanyama Musiambo and included Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, and Douglas Kanja, the General Service Unit (GSU) Commandant. Some military commanders and senior government officials were also present.
Retired Africa Inland Church (AIC) Bishop Silas Yego led a team of Kalenjin elders to the meeting at Moi’s Kabarnet Gardens home.
According to the elders, when Lena died, Moi had wanted her to be buried in Sacho, Moi’s rural home in Baringo county, but his friends and elders persuaded him against the move.
In the end Moi caved in and showed them a corner in his expansive Kabarak home and quipped: “This is where I will also rest.”
To buttress their argument yesterday, the government delegation is said to have used the burial of Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta next to Parliament.
Immediately the two sides reached a compromise on the burial site, the government released details of Moi’s funeral programme that will entail the body lying in state in Parliament from tomorrow until Monday.
Viewing the body
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to lead the country in viewing the body as well as paying last respects.
The chairman of the funeral steering committee, Joseph Kinyua, who is the Head of Public Service, yesterday said they had consulted with the family on the programme.
Kinyua said the former President will be accorded a State Funeral with full civilian and military ceremonial honours, as directed by Uhuru on Tuesday.
Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i on recommendation of the committee, declared Tuesday a public holiday to allow Kenyans to participate in the celebration of the life of Moi.
“This will accord all Kenyans the opportunity to participate in public viewing and the paying of last respects to the former Head of State and Government,” Kinyua said.
Uhuru had directed a steering committee be constituted to co-ordinate all the ceremonies leading up to a state funeral on Wednesday.
According to the programme, Uhuru will arrive at the Parliament Buildings on Saturday at 10.15am and all State officials whose attendance is required by tradition and State protocol have been notified and are expected to be in Parliament precincts by 9.45am.
This will kick of public viewing which will be done on Saturday, Sunday and Monday between 8am and 5pm.
The cortege is expected to leave Lee Funeral Home at 8.05am and will be conveyed to Parliament Buildings with the casket being draped in the National Flag and escorted by the late President’s family and the military.
The solemn procession is expected to proceed along Valley Road to Kenyatta Avenue then to Parliament through Parliament Way.
A military guard of honour will be mounted on Parliament Road for the entry procession to Parliament.
After lying-in-state for three days, on Tuesday February 11, the gun carriage and State Funeral Procession will leave Parliament to Nyayo National Stadium where the national memorial service will be held.
Kinyua said the service will be an inter-denominational one, led by the Africa Inland Church (AIC) where Moi worshipped.
He said the committee was in the process of compiling the list of Heads of State, government and other foreign dignitaries who have expressed their wish to attend the funeral. The list would be released later.
The former Head of State will be accorded full military ceremonial honours, which include conveyance of the body in a gun carriage, accompanied by military honours and music.
There will be a 19-gun salute. The well-known 21-gun salute is reserved for the highest offices such as a sitting president.
The number of shots fired, usually odd numbers, decrease from there depending on the rank of the deceased.
The committee urged Kenyans to plant a tree, or undertake an act of benevolence for the most needy members of society, in memory of Moi.
Condolence books have been opened at Harambee House, Supreme Court building, parliamentary buildings, all Regional Commissioners offices, all County Commissioners offices across the country and in Kenya’s High commissions, embassies and missions abroad.
The memorial service is expected to be broadcast live by all national televisions and radio stations to ensure Kenyans in every part of the country will be able to take part in giving Moi a befitting send-off.
Broadcasting screens will be mounted in designated public places in Nakuru, Sacho, Eldama Ravine and Kabarnet.