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Dr. Sylverstein speaks of his relationship with Moi

Moi’s Physician Dr. David Sylverstein. /COURTESY.

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 13 – Dr. David Sylverstein, former President Daniel arap Moi’s personal doctor is a man who knew the late leader in and out. And literally so.

When he stood to speak at Moi’s funeral on Wednesday, Dr. Sylverstein recounted fond memories the two shared during their 42 years of friendship that blossomed in 1977 when Moi was Vice President.

He told thousands of mourners gathered at the Kabarak University that the Moi was an exemplary patient who always followed his medical advice.

Dr. Silverstein rekindled the talk that President Moi died aged 103 as told before by his eldest son Raymond as opposed to 95. Moi died on February 4 at the Nairobi Hospital.

Silverstein at the time of their meeting said he was a young cardiologist aged 33, who never imagined that his stint with the retired leader would lead to an unformidable friendship that would span for years, including when he ruled Kenya for 24 years.

Military officers final salute before Moi’s body was lowered to the grave in his Kabarak home. /PSCU.

“At our first meeting, I was impressed by Mzee’s commanding presence. Our relationship as doctor-patient warmed over the years with his deepening trust in me and mutual respect and growing respect,” he said.

Silverstein revealed to the congregation that President Moi was always overly concerned that he was taking too much of his time and asked him to also not forget his other patients.

“He was always concerned about the time I took on him, and could often remind me that I have other patients to take care of,” he said.

Later in the evening at State House, Silverstein recounted that they could catch up over a cup of tea as they discussed President Moi favorite subjects namely: the latest in medical developments, the old testament and its application in the world, international politics and the state of Israel.

He recalled how President Moi was an exemplary patient who always adhered to his strict medical advice that ranged from medicine and diet.

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He sparked laughter when he reiterated Senator Gideon Moi’s revelation on how his father loved beef.

“For the record, yes Mzee loved his meat,” he said.

He also revealed how Moi loved to share a small glass of sacramental wine from Israel with him and Sir Charles Njonjo with their consolation being that the wine was “Dawa ya wazee”.

President Moi’s persistent nature to put in long hours at work during his 24-year tenure as the Head of State was a subject that always put them on a collision course.

“On that I could not sway him. At some point, I quoted the Bible just to make him slow down but he never listened or let it influence his work ethics,” he said.

Another memorable moment that Silverstein recalled was during their tours abroad especially in China that he said his business was to make sure that they do not eat “exotic animals like cats, snakes, dogs nor drink buffalo milk”.

He said that in fact, Israel was his preferred country during his time of seeking medical treatment ostensibly his cataracts condition and the knee injury he suffered in a 2006 road accident.

Dr Sylverstein revealed that in the months ahead when Moi was hospitalized at the Nairobi Hospital, he responded well to medication admitting that the former President had retired to fate that he was ready to go and meet his maker.

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