Moi burial plans in top gear as date set for grand ceremony

What you need to know:

  • The tentative programme proposes a public memorial service to be held at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Tuesday.
  • A more elaborate announcement will be made tomorrow after a meeting of the committee with President Kenyatta, who is expected back from his US tour with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Former President Daniel Moi will be buried on February 12 if the proposed date is agreed upon by the President.

The family and the funeral committee have also agreed that there will be public viewing of the body at Parliament Buildings for three days -- Saturday to Monday.

President Kenyatta is expected to view the body on Saturday.

The tentative programme proposes a public memorial service to be held at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Tuesday.

A more elaborate announcement will be made tomorrow after a meeting of the committee with President Kenyatta, who is expected back from his US tour with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Meanwhile, the burial preparations are in top gear at the former Head of State’s Kabarak home in Nakuru County.

There was a meeting at the residence yesterday chaired by Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya, who was accompanied by a number of senior regional security bosses.

“As you are aware, the State has taken over the funeral programme. We held a meeting at Kabarak to ensure that the former President is accorded a befitting send-off. Mzee Moi’s burial plans will be made public soon. We shall give updates about the arrangements later this week,” he said.

A source at the meeting revealed that several elders, church leaders, local politicians, security chiefs from the region and Nakuru county government officials were also there.

“We spent the better part of Wednesday morning in a meeting at the former Head of State’s Kabarak residence. This is the first meeting as we plan to liaise with State organs to ensure he’s given a burial befitting a former President,” the source, who sought anonymity, said.

“We’ll do everything within our means, in conjunction with the national government, to ensure he gets an honourable send-off.”

The meeting was also attended by Kabarak University Vice-Chancellor Henry Kiplangat, who is expected to take a lead role in the burial preparations.

Security has been tightened at the residence with the entrances manned by several General Service Unit (GSU) officers.

Generally, security has been beefed up at various points within the residence. Nobody is allowed into the home unless they have permission from security.

Journalists were blocked from accessing the posh residence yesterday.

There was tight security at the expansive residence, which neighbours Kabarak University, Kabarak Primary and secondary schools and Kabarak Guesthouse.

Roads leading to the institutions are manned by GSU and general police officers, who vet those accessing the premises.

A source told the Nation that the police have been instructed to only allow Mzee Moi’s family members and select VIPs to access the Moi residence.

A few kilometres away, a number of youths have been engaged to repair a road that leads to the home.

Already, some employees have been tasked with chopping firewood, ensuring water and electricity connections are up and running, and making security adjustments to the home.

On Tuesday, President Kenyatta said the former Head of State will receive a State funeral, setting in motion elaborate and complex procedures whose end will be a grand ceremony that will be witnessed for the second time in Kenya.

The family says burial preparations will be made by the government following President Kenyatta’s proclamation.

At the neighbouring Menengai Trading Centre and Rafiki Farms in Kabarak, residents yesterday said Mzee Moi’s death had dealt a blow to the local community.

“We benefit a lot from the former President’s establishments, including the university and the other institutions. A majority of us are employees at the home. He is a man who has been fixing our problems even at his old age. It’s sad to lose such a pillar, but we shall soldier on,” said Mr James Kipsang, a resident.

The military element

Mzee Moi’s funeral will be the sixth State funeral, but only the second to have full military honours.

The only other person to be treated thus was founding President Jomo Kenyatta in 1978.

Former Vice-President Kijana Wamalwa, Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, former Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru and former First Lady Lucy Kibaki were given State funerals minus the military element.

Like happened in 1978 when President Kenyatta died, the military has taken over preparations for Mzee Moi’s burial after his death on Tuesday.

The funeral will include pallbearers from the military, a volley of gun salutes, renditions from Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) bands and choirs and chaplains chosen from the military and religious groups.

There is, however, a question of where Mzee Moi will be buried.

However, a number of Nakuru residents interviewed yesterday said they will prefer Mzee being laid to rest at his Kabarak home.

“We shall be happy if Mzee Moi is laid to rest alongside his kinsmen and his wife, Lena, who was also buried at the Kabarak home,” Mr Jeremiah Ng’eno, a resident, said.

During Lena’s burial, in 2004, Mr Moi expressed his wish to be buried next to her in Kabarak “when my time comes”.

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