Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

We are born young and we must die at one point or another. I woke up yesterday to the sad news of the demise of Kenya’s second President after independence, Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi at the age of 95 years. May the almighty keep his soul in enternal life. It was sad because this is one man whom l knew and understood some of his inspiring doctorates very well. His contribution for the CPA which led to the birth of this nation can surely get solace somewhere in the historical archive of the great men of the world who stood with this country at the time of need. Indeed he could not be singled out as the only one because there are others who did more towards this goal, but Kenya can be considered like one of the countries which did not waiver their support then.  Moi, who was to be nick-named professor of politics and whose main theme was “Fuata Nyayo” (follow footsteps) which was coined to mean he was following the foot of the founding father of Kenya, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. At close range l had one on one with the late not once but on different time in State Houses at the time l was working with the Standard Newspaper which he had majority shareholding by then. I had occasions to meet the late in his Kabarak home in Nakuru, Kabranet Garden near Kibera in Nairobi  and before then when he was the Vice President to the late Mzee Kenyatta, at his Kabimoi home in Eldama Ravine, Baringo. Although known for no nonsense, he was a father with a lot of wisdom and one would have wanted to have his wisdom words all the time. One time he took on me when l was the duty editor, my editor in chief had decided we ran a front page story which we little new or did not know that would land in the wrong side of the president. He called the newsroom at around 11.30am and went the point. Although he knew me by name this time he did not mention it. “Mr Editor who put this story in the front page” after that he talked for more than 20 minutes lecturing me. I did not answer back but remained with the only two words Yes, your Excellency and yes Sir” until the lecturing session was over. What l remember vividly is my attire for the day which was jeans t-shirt and black god-father on my head. I remained standing and when he finished, he had one way of disarming people. Remember, he was the main shareholder and at the same time your president.  Although young and up-coming journalist with future ambition, l come not to near telling him what my professional ethics dictated. At last he invited me to have tea with him at State House two days from that day when he was to come back from Nakuru to Nairobi. Indeed he came and remembered to invite me for the tea appointment. It had remained a cordial friendship and one thing the late Daniel Arap Moi respected professionals who respected their work and loved what they knew in the line of duty. Having reached this apex of life, l want to join President Uhuru Kenyatta and the entire Kenyan citizens at this time of mourning this great leader whose focus was like that of a giraffe with ability to see very far from its standing point.

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