Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga caught the attention of thousands of mourners in the burial of Former President Daniel Moi at his Kabarak home when he broke in to a traditional song.
Mr. Odinga paid tribute to the family and friends of the Moi’s family describing him (Moi) as a hero who had led the country diligently and cherished peace, love and unity.
During Wednesday burial ceremony, Raila could not end his almost 10-minute- speech before giving Moi what he referred to as an heroic send off.
He chatted, “ Yawa, par uru lowo, lowo wang’e tek. Yawa, par uru lowo, lowo wang’e tek. Eeee, wuoyi, gimichamo e mari, gimodong’ to kik igen. Eeee, wuoyi, gimichamo e mari, gimodong’ to kik igen. Jowi! Jowi! Jowi! Jowi!” (Please remember the soil, and the soil is stubborn. Only consider what you have eaten or what you have, forget about whatever remains or which you do not have).
Among the Luo community, the term ‘Jowi’ is used to mourn the passing of a respected person in the society.
It is remembered, when the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978, the late Jaramogi Odinga broke into the same chant when sending him off.
He also said the words raising his signature fly whisk, also used by his son, Raila Odinga during the viewing of Moi’s body at Parliament buildings last weekend.
Addressing the mourners, Raila recalled the times he met the former President –he recalled the first incident when he was a toddler and Moi had come to visit his late father at their home in Bondo –the two were by then, colleagues in the Legco among the eight elected Africans.
They met again and in many instances during Moi’s presidency and recently in his Kabarak home where they reconciled and shook hands. That, he says, was the first “handshake” he did.
He left the crowd laughing when he opened up that Moi promised his son, Raila Junior a cow during his wedding.
Reading from his father’s book, the ODM Leader described Moi as a “giraffe with a long neck that saw from afar.”
“Moi could predict what was going to happen in the future and warn them so that they became careful as they were confronting imperialists,” said Raila.
In what was seen as a tackle to his political enemy, the Deputy President Dr. William Ruto, Raila dismissed the narrative of perceived three dynasties in Kenyan politics, that is the Kenyatta’s, the Moi’s and the Odinga’s, saying that their fathers were from very humble families and only worked hard to liberate the country from colonial rule.
“He came from poverty, just like Mzee Kenyatta also came from poverty. So nobody can therefore talk of dynasty,” said the former Premier.
He added, “We had a history with him of love-hate. Eventually we met here. He sent Reuben Chesire to go and look for me, and we came with Job Omino, and we had a very long discussion here until we said we forgive each other, and we shook hands. That was the first handshake I did.”