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Raila says his handshake with Moi paved way for electoral reforms

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (left) with former President Daniel Arap Moi in their happier days when their parties merged. Moi died on February 4, 2020.

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 5 – ODM Party leader Raila Odinga has revealed how his handshake with former President the late Daniel arap Moi helped unite the country, after setting aside their political differences, opening up for multiparty democracy in the country.

In his condolence message to the family, Odinga who was once a political detainee of the oppressive Moi regime, said the two reconciled soon after the clamour for a multi-party state was realized in the country in 1992.

Odinga whose political journey was marred by controversy was arrested thrice during President Moi’s regime. He was first arrested in 1982 when he was linked to a failed attempted coup.

He was subsequently detained without trial for six years until February 6, 1988. Moi’s son Gideon who is also the Baringo Senator said the former Head of State died peacefully at the Nairobi Hospital, surrounded by his family.

Moi’s son Gideon with military chief Samson Mwathethe, Interior CS Fred Matiangi and Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai. /CFM.

His subsequent arrests followed in 1988 for his involvement in human rights and pro-democracy activists pressing for multi-party democracy in Kenya but was released in 1989.

In 5 July 1990, Odinga was yet again a detainee of the state alongside Kenneth Matiba, and former Nairobi Mayor Charles Rubia.

Odinga was released on June 21, 1991, and in October, he fled the country over fears that he was to be assassinated.

“Moi and I reconciled after the political differences of the 1980s and early 90s and we were able to work together to bring more reforms in the country,” Odinga said in a statement from Washington DC in the US where he was set to attend a National Prayer Breakfast with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The former premier revealed that following their reconciliation, their pact led to numerous reforms including the merger of his National Development Party (NDP) with KANU.

He acknowledged that their political differences dating back to 1980s was purely pegged on Mzee Moi’s love and desire to see the country remain a one-party state.

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“Our cooperation gave way to the merger with his party KANU, which put the country firmly on the path to a new Constitution by enabling the formation of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission,” Odinga said.

Eulogizing the former President as a statesman who despite his often-dictatorial leadership style was questioned and opposed, Odinga credited the former president of finally conceding to multi-party democracy.

Even though the family has not formally made any announcement on the burial date, there are reports that he will be buried on Wednesday next week.

Moi’s family members at the Lee Funeral Home where his body was preserved following his death on February 4, 2020. /CFM.

The military has since taken charge of the burial preparations with President Moi set to be accorded a state funeral, with all the appropriate civilian and full military honors being rendered and observed.

President Kenyatta in his proclamation on Tuesday declared national mourning until after Moi’s death.

The Kenyan Flag is flying at half-mast throughout the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta declared a national mourning until Moi is buried, during which flags will fly at half-mast. /CFM.

President Moi who served the country for 24 years making him the longest-serving President thus far, died on Tuesday morning after battling a long illness.

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