Nairobi: On the occasion of the burial of Daniel Arap Moi, the country's longest-serving president, who passed away last week at the age of 95, African heads of state and government in Kenya have praised his role as a peacekeeping force trying to To mediate conflicts, including in Uganda and Ethiopia.
Despite its longevity, Moi was a controversial figure who won admirers for keeping Kenya at a balanced level for much of his rule, but was hated by others for a legacy of corruption that continues to haunt the East African nation to this day.
Tens of thousands of people came to the capital, Nairobi, to watch Mois' coffin, hanging under the Kenyan flag, take a cannon wagon from the State House, the president's official residence, to an open-air stadium 5 km away).
Army, Air Force and Navy personnel accompanied the coffin into the stadium, where the choirs sang gospel songs while waiting for the troop.
"As a zealous peacemaker, statesman, pan-Africanist, and advocate for a more united and just world, Moi has led a number of initiatives that bring peace to our region and beyond," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta told mourners.
Tuesday was declared a public holiday so that people could mourn Moi.
"Moi was a humble man. Anyone who knew him knew that he was a humble man. President Moi never bragged about success but attributed it to God," said long-time friend Silas Yego, a retired bishop of Africa's interior Church where Moi had worshiped.
Moi came to power in 1978 when he became vice president after the nation's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, died.
Makau Mutua, who was arrested by the Moi regime as a young law student at the University of Nairobi in 1981 and then exiled for the next 10 years, warned not to forget Moi's excesses.
"We cannot forget or forgive. If we do, we will continue to repeat our terrible story," he wrote in his weekly column in the local Sunday Nation newspaper.
During the reign of Moi, thousands of activists, students, and academics were held without charge in underground cells. Prisoners say they have sometimes been denied food and water.
The poverty on his watch deepened and corruption blossomed. In a 2004 report by the Kroll group of companies, Moi and his inner circle were accused of stealing $ 2 billion in state funds, an allegation that the government at the time rejected.
Moi won the 1992 and 1997 elections and defeated a split opposition. But he was booed and retired when his tenure forced him to resign in 2002 and he lived quietly on his sprawling estate in the Rift Valley.
He will be buried there on Wednesday.