Reflection: Gideon on Mzee Moi's integrity, selflessness
2 months ago, 10 Oct 00:00
Sitting under a towering palm tree, a giant bamboo tree on the side and striking reflective poses, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi opened up for the first time on rare values of his father, retired President Daniel Arap Moi.
Ageing but graceful, Mzee Moi stands up for his son when he walks in - out of ingrained respect for official positions - but also roundly puts him to task on his Senate duties and obligations.
His old man’s natural simplicity, love affair with carnations, devotion to prayer, adoration for diligence, commitment to civic duty and his unique way with words - the political punchlines - the younger Moi bared it all, attributing all to strict missionary upbringing.
“He’s my father, a devoted father… he puts me to task on what I'm doing or not doing. When he is in good moods, and I walk in, he tells me wacha nisimame (let me stand up), all effortlessly and in the manner of his Christian upbringing. He’s quite solid in values,” Gideon told The Standard yesterday.
Growing up, Gideon revealed, Mzee Moi was quite the disciplinarian who was determined to bring them up in strict Christian ways. Gideon refused to tell of any spanking he may have gotten from the old man, but extolled his values on waking up, disdain for mischief and concern for others.
“He has never faltered. He led and continues to lead a simple life. He’s not the sort of a person to have four or five course meals - just a simple meal: Greens, ugali and mursik, hiyo tu!” he said.
Mursik is a traditional fermented milk variant of the Kalenjin people.
He revealed that their young life was characterised by prayer, song and family discussions.
Asked what was the one thing he cherished most about his father, Gideon did not even blink: “Integrity and selflessness.”
He added a third one: “And being in touch with the people. With him, it was always about the people. It still is. And it is never about the people of his caliber, rather that common man from where he came from.”
Gideon believes Moi’s political punchlines, which enthralled journalists for the decades he was in power, came out quite naturally. Although he is incrementally taking after the old man in that line, the younger Moi was quick to draw the line: “He is in a league of his own,” and struggling to explain the staccato thoughtfulness they share in between speeches, added: “It comes out quite naturally, sometimes you are just completely lost for words. It happens.”
Gideon also reflected on his famous #Beringo ya keti challenge when he joined elective politics in 2002. He conceded that he was not very good in Kalenjin and Swahili languages then but took time to learn from the best and perfected both.
On this Moi Day, Gideon wants Kenyans to reflect on the plight of the less fortunate - orphaned children, the sick and the poor.
Gideon’s niece Denise Cherotich said their grandfather was funny, great in ...
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