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Mzee Moi’s political ‘orphans’ Ruto, Uhuru, Gachagua skip June’s burial

The late June Chebet Moi, daughter to Kenya’s second president, the late Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, was buried on Thursday, April 18, 2024, at the family farm in Kabarak, Nakuru County.

She passed  on a week earlier at the age of 60.

“Today is our sister’s final journey in this world. June has left a deep hole in our hearts that can never be filled. But with faith, we know that we shall meet that beautiful morning when Christ our Lord returns. May our sister’s soul now rest,” said Mr Gideon Moi, the last born child to the late Mzee Moi.

Gideon Moi is a former Senator for Baringo County and the party leader of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party that his father previously vied on to rule Kenya for 24 years.

Present at the late June Moi’s funeral were a host of politicians including Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Eugene Wamalwa, Mwangi Wa Iria, Lee Kinyanjui, Alfred Keter and Peter Salasya among others. Former Chief Justice David Maraga and renowned lawyer Philip Murgor were also in attendance.

However, several politicians who owe their careers and ascension to power to the late Mzee Daniel Moi, often branded as political ‘orphans’ since he died in February 2020, were conspicuously absent at the funeral and burial of the late June Moi.

The top three ‘orphans’ missing at the funeral included President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and former president Uhuru Kenyatta.

President William Ruto grew his political wings under the shadow and tutelage of Daniel Moi.

With a moving prayer, he managed to catch the attention of the late president and this is when his life changed. Ruto went on to co-found the infamous Youth for Kanu 1992 (YK92) lobby group that campaigned for Daniel Moi during the 1992 elections.

Ruto’s political star began shining ever brighter since then as he clinched positions in parliament, the then ruling KANU party, several government ministries and onwards to becoming president.

As the late June Moi was being buried, on President Ruto’s schedule was attending the national drama and film festival winner’s state concert at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri County, flagging off the representatives of the International Schools Sports Federation World Cross Country 2024 and later condoling with the nation following the sudden tragic demise of the Chief of Defense Forces, General Francis Ogolla.

“My heartfelt condolences to the family of the late President Daniel Arap Moi over the loss of June Chebet Moi. May God give you strength at this difficult time. Rest In Peace June,” said President Ruto on April 11, 2024.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua also owes his meteoric rise to the late Daniel Moi. During the Moi-era, following his graduation, he was briefly employed at the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage before he joined Administration Police Institute in 1990.

The following year, the late Daniel Moi appointed him as a District Officer Cadet in the Office of the President before he moved on to Kakamega, Ng’arua and Laikipia Districts.

He then charted a path into being a businessman and career politician and rose to heights of being the personal assistant of former president Uhuru Kenyatta before he later re-emerged from the political cold to become Kenya’s deputy president.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi was also absent from the burial of the late June Moi.

His political career is also owed to the late Daniel Moi considering his father, Moses Mudavadi, was a close ally of the late Moi who influenced his ascension from being a Parliamentarian to a minister in Moi’s government.

Following Moses’ death, his son, Musalia Mudavadi, was tapped by the late Daniel Moi to succeed him and he won with a landslide. Moi then went on to swiftly appoint Musalia a cabinet minister, the youngest at the time, aged 29.

The Mudavadi and Moi families have had close ties since then, and over the years, Musalia rose to the senior rank of Prime Cabinet Secretary- infamously touted to be the right hand man of President Ruto whenever DP Gachagua is not assigned a task on behalf of the presidency.

Despite his absence, he sent a public condolence message to the Moi family once news broke of the late June’s demise.

Former president Uhuru Kenyatta is perhaps one of the greatest beneficiaries of the Moi-era having grown up from a very young boy into a budding politician in the presence of Daniel Moi who served as the late Jomo Kenyatta’s vice president for years. Following the death of his father, it was under the late Moi’s wing that Uhuru’s political career budded.

Mzee Moi was known for having an eye for potential politicians and taking them under his wing and shaping them into successful politicians. He first appointed Uhuru as chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board and in the ensuing years, the political battlefield witnessed Moi grooming Uhuru to be his successor. This began with getting Uhuru into Parliament before he was later named minister for local government.

Moi also ensured Uhuru’s establishment with KANU leadership ranks was firm by appointing him the first vice chairman of the party. Uhuru would later go up against the late president Mwai Kibaki but he lost the race in 2002. Fast forward to 2012, Uhuru was finally able to clinch the presidency for two terms having treaded the murky political waters in Kenya.

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