Some memorable quotes by former president Daniel Moi

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Former President Daniel arap Moi speaking on October 10, 1999. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

By WALTER MENYA
By STEPHEN OKETCH

When giving his speeches, former President Daniel arap Moi would always give an off-the-cuff speech after his official written speech.

It is these off-the-cuff speeches, often made in Kiswahili, that Mr Moi said some of the most memorable things.

Below are some of the memorable quotes by the former president who died at The Nairobi Hospital on February 4, 2020.

Speaking ahead of 2002 General Election:

Nilisema mwaka wa 1998 kwamba nitajiuzulu ama nitastaafu kipindi hiki cha miaka mitano kikiisha. Wengine hawakuamini kwa sababu wanaamini kwamba hakuna mtu anaeza kuacha power ya urais. Power iko kwa wananchi na sisi tu ni wadhaamini wao. Na ndio nataka kuwaambia wananchi wenzetu wanaotafuta democracy, tafadhali muwe na principles ya kuamini yale munayoyaamini. Haiwezekani kiongozi kuruka hapa kesho anaruka hapa. Inafaa uamini kwamba naingia chama cha Kanu kwa sababu gani. (I announced in 1998 that I will retire when the current five-year term comes to an end but some people doubted this because they think that in Africa, people do not just relinquish the presidency. The real power is with the people and we are just their trustees. And that is why I keep telling those who are eyeing leadership of this country, please be principled. You cannot be jumping from one party to another. If you decide to join Kanu you must understand what Kanu stands for and why you are joining it).

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“Forgive me”

Mimi naenda kuwa raia mwema. Lakini wale wanaozingatia kuongoza msiweke Kenya chini. Msiweke msingi wa siasa zenu kwa chuki. Kama yuko mtu ametukana mimi namsamehe. Na kama yuko mtu ambaye nimesema kitu chochote ambayo imeumiza roho yake unisamehe. (I will be leaving to be an ordinary citizen. But those who will assume the leadership of this country I appeal to you not to bring Kenya to shame. Don’t anchor your politics on hate. If there is anyone who insulted me, I forgive him. If I said something that hurt you, forgive me).

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Telling foreigners to keep off Kenya’s internal affairs:

When I talk about politics people think I am a racialist. I am not a racialist at all. I am an African believing in nationhood…In Kenya everybody is free, foreigners, business men…do business. You have unlimited opportunities but not political leadership.

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Ceremonial president? Atakuwa na sauti gani? Hata sauti yake si ya siasa, ni ceremonial. (Ceremonial president? Will he even have a voice? Even his voice would be ceremonial). – Voicing his opposition to proposal for a ceremonial president during the constitution review.

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African unity:

Mimi naimba mara kwa mara umoja wa Wafrika. Na niliwaambieni wananchi tusimame kwa kupendana, tusimame kwa kukaa kwa amani. (I have always called for African unity. And I have told you that we should love one another and live in peace).

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Wananchi walitupa madaraka. The voters throughout the republic gave members of parliament mandate kufanya yale yanafaa kufanywa. Wanjiku baada ya kutoa mandate, sasa tunarudi tena kwa Wanjiku kusema onyesha sisi njia ya kuandika katiba ya Kenya?Huo ni mchezo wa aina gani? Three years na hata hadi leo katiba bado kuwa tayari. (The people gave us the mandate and empowered the Member of Parliament to represent them. Of what use is it to go back to Wanjiku to write the constitution? What sort of game are we playing? It is three years already yet the constitution is not ready yet). - Restating his opposition to the Prof Ghai-led popular initiative in drafting the constitution.

President Moi had wanted a team of experts to draft the document instead of going around the country collecting views.

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Change of guard:

Uongozi utabadilika mwaka ujao. Ukibadilika mambo mengi yanaweza kubadilika. Kwanza Moi hatakuweko uongozini. (The leadership of this country will change and when that happens, a lot of other things will change too. Foremost, Moi will no longer be the president) – Speaking about his impending retirement ahead of 2002 elections.

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On being president:

Those who are fighting to be president suffer from a sense of self-importance… Kutaka kuwa rais ni rahisi kusema. Lakini lazima kuwa na fikira sawa. (Aspiring to be president is easy but you must be clear in your mind about it?) – cautioning leaders ahead of the 2002 elections.

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When we debated at Kasarani, of course wananchi did not want to move into multiparty system and I urged them to do so because of pressure. We moved from one party to multiparty system sincerely hoping that everybody will believe in what they believed on. But when Kanu succeeded in 1992… and in 1997, there was no satisfaction with the results. They then demanded a government of national unity. Then I asked myself why didn’t we just remain in one party? – Speaking after the 1997 elections in which KANU controversially won

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On choice of his successor:

Nilipochungulia kamili nikasema kwamba Uhuru Kenyatta ndio anaweza kuishikilia. Ndio makamu wa raisi ni rafiki, lakini urafiki, skieni, ni tofauti. Kukua kiongozi sio kwenda kwa laini rahisi. Ukitukanwa, lazima kuvumilia. Moi ametukanwa mara ngapi? Kama ningekuwa na roho kama ya panya, ningekuwa kwisha tupa nyinyi. (I looked around and concluded that Uhuru Kenyatta is the one who can competently lead this country. Yes, my vice president (Prof Saitoti) is my friend but friendship is not the same as leadership. Being a leader needs perseverance. If you are insulted you must persevere. I have been through that and if I was bad person I have dealt with them) – Speaking in Kilgoris, 2002 ahead of the General Election.

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Kasarani Kanu meeting:

Profesa tulia! Kimya Profesa! (Calm down professor! Quiet!) – Admonishing his vice-president Prof George Saitoti on March 18, 2002 at Kasarani Stadium during the Kanu-NDP merger.

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Nyayo philosophy:

“The spirit of Nyayo is leading us to peace, love and unity; they are not slogans or vague philosophies but practical foundations of countrywide development. Where there is peace, then there is stability and only in the arena of stability will you find investment, enterprise and progress.” June 1, 1981

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Siasa mbaya (bad politics)

One of the most famous quotes by former president Moi is “Siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya.” (Bad politics results to a miserable life for citizens).
Moi made this quote while urging opposition leaders not to use divisive politics.