Nairobi Gov. Mike Sonko has challenged political leaders to embrace national unity and inclusivity in remembrance of the late retired President Daniel arap Moi.
The governor noted that Moi found a way to make all communities part of his government, so leaders should shun tribal alignments in his honor, the Daily Nation reported.
Sonko, who spent most of his youthful days at the coast, reminisced about Moi’s value for the region, saying he demonstrated it through appointments.
“He was a frequent visitor to the coast. He made many friends in the region and almost every other part of this country,” he said.
“Moi set a precedent on matters of national unity and appointments that reflected the true face of Kenya. He always spoke about unity in every corner of the country,” Sonko said, adding that like the former president, Nairobi had ventured into distribution of free milk to schools.
The City Hall boss further said the death of the second president should motivate Kenyans to rally behind the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
“Moi wanted national unity and that is what the BBI is all about,” Sonko said Sunday, when he joined the public in viewing the body at Parliament buildings. “So we are fully behind it. This has been my message since the handshake.”
He pledged to support youth groups campaigning for peace across Kenya. Sonko further asked all the 47 governors to emulate Moi in public appointments.
“We have to consider everyone without looking at tribes or political inclinations. [We have to give] equal opportunity,” Sonko added.
Daniel arap Moi, a former schoolteacher who became Kenya’s longest-serving president, died Feb. 3 at the age of 95. Moi, who ruled Kenya for 24 years, had been in hospital for over a month.
Despite being called a dictator by critics, Moi enjoyed strong support from many Kenyans and was seen as a uniting figure when he took power after founding President Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978. Some allies of the ailing Kenyatta, however, tried to change the constitution to prevent Moi, then the vice president, from automatically taking power upon Kenyatta’s death.
Moi was so wary of any threat during that uncertain period that he fled his Rift Valley home when he heard of Kenyatta’s death, returning only after receiving assurances of his safety.