It is almost 20 years since the late President Moi ceded power after 24 years of savage leadership. His death leaves many with mixed feelings, wondering how to eulogize a man who had so much power and wisdom, yet left a legacy of deficient leadership.
In 2003 as Moi was handing over power to President Kibaki, knowing too well that he was not perfect and not even close to it, Moi apologized to Kenyans with a lot of humility and gratitude. His motorcade was chased away from Uhuru Park by angry citizens who believed that Kenya had seen the light, casting stones at the state chopper that took off from the Statehouse en route to his home in Kabarak.
While Kenyans don’t have to forgive President Moi for all the atrocities that he committed, they also don’t have to bring all his flaws with them into the future.
It is clear that Moi led a dictatorial era that strengthened ethnic differences in Kenya. The rampant corruption in Kenya today is thriving on strong pillars established under his rule. However, in contrast with what we have today, he was bad….but not that bad. Actually, he could score higher in terms of regulation and law enforcement.
The worst-case ever reported during the Moi regime was the Wagalla Massacre in 1984 that left over 5,000 innocent lives lost. However, we can’t say that Moi was bad and fail to mention that what we have in the office today isn’t any different. The current regime that’s now a coalition government hidden in an enigmatic handshake has collectively caused more deaths during their tenure than the Wagalla massacre… and counting.
Although the Nyayo House chambers have been latched, the current regime has made the constitution their chamber, trapping wananchi in regulations that only benefit the powerful and maligns the public, amending the law every so often to suit their needs (read referendums, read BBI). Research abstract on corruption in Kenya once summed this up by saying that “In the absence of effective regulation, law often aids the abuse of power and corruption. Although the new constitution establishes principles and mechanisms that may enhance government accountability, the statutory order must be aligned with the values and principles of the constitution if abuse of power and corruption are to be curbed.”
The current regime has no opposition because in Wanjiku’s assumptions “everyone is in it to eat”.
Moi died a great family man and a resourceful elder, but throughout his regime, he was bad for the country. Period. What should concern Kenyans, however, is that we have in office his offsprings; and that, should be our focus.
May H.E. retired President Daniel T. Arap Moi rest well with the angels…..I hope and pray.
By Anthony Thuothuo, a Cybersecurity professional and an entrepreneur based in Boston, USA.