NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – Retired President Daniel arap Moi has said he is saddened by the death of former Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, and revealed that he was helping his one-time deputy to clinch the presidency in next year’s general election.
Moi made the revelation on Wednesday afternoon when he visited the late minister’s home in Lavington.
“George did not quarrel with anyone; he was a man of few words and during this period I was trying to help him fight for the presidency in Kenya so we have been talking all the time,” the retired president said.
“Now that he has passed away I pray God will give Kenya a good leader who will unite Kenyans and one who will work for the good of Kenyans,” he added.
Saitoti was a close ally of the former president during his reign but Moi did not find him as suitable to succeed him and instead endorsed greenhorn Uhuru Kenyatta for the presidency in 2002.
“It is a great loss to the country and the family… it is only God who can give you genuine protection,” he told the late minister’s family.
The retired president urged leaders and Kenyans to always do what is in the interest of the nation.
“God knows what is wrong with all of us and we should make sure that whatever we do, we do it for the good of this nation,” he said.
Moi once differed publicly with the late Saitoti during a KANU delegates’ conference, prompting the fallen minister to make the now famous statement: “there comes a time when a nation is more important than an individual.”
Former legislator Joseph Kamotho who was also a close ally of the fallen minister said Saitoti had great potential to lead Kenya based on his experience and performance.
“He had all that it takes to be president of the country. He was vice president for about 13 years; he has been a minister in several ministries of government which have performed exceedingly well and as far as I am concerned, he was a potential president for this nation. I would have had no problem supporting him,” Kamotho said.
Cardinal John Njue also condoled with the family of the late minister and termed this as a painful period for the country.
“Those who have known George have known him to be a firm and oriented person but here we are, he is gone. It is a painful moment from a human point of view. We hope that proper investigations will be done so that at the end of the day the truth will be known,” Cardinal Njue said.
The late Saitoti was seen as a key figure in the presidential race in which he had declared interest on a Party of National Unity (PNU) ticket.
Saitoti died in a helicopter crash on Sunday alongside his deputy Orwa Ojode, two bodyguards and two pilots.
The cause of the accident is the subject of government instituted public inquiry.