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October 11, 2003

Moi marks day with needy

From: East African Standard, Kenya - Oct 11, 2003

By Peter Mutai and Samwel Mburu

Retired President Daniel arap Moi yesterday marked the holiday named in his honour by visiting and donating food to four institutions for the needy in Nakuru.

A relaxed Moi took destitute children at the St. Nicholas Home on Lake Nakuru Road by surprise when he visited their dormitories and classes.

Moi Day was first celebrated in 1988 when the former President marked his first decade in power. Until last year, the day has since been celebrated with pomp and pageantry as a public holiday.

As he prepared to leave office last year at the expiry of his last five year-term in power, Moi said no celebrations would be held on the day. He instead asked Kenyans to donate to needy institutions and individuals to mark the day.

Yesterday, Moi criss-crossed Nakuru in a convoy of five vehicles and rode in a navy blue Volkswagen Kombi. He was accompanied by his press secretary, Mr Lee Njiru.

At St Nicholas, the 82 children who were doing their washing quickly gathered and sang songs for the retired President before he donated bread, cooking oil, wheat and maize flour, rice and sugar.

Moi yet again took teachers and pupils of Ngala School for the Deaf by surprise when he toured the institution, one of the oldest in the town.

He also visited the Street Children Assistant Network of Nakuru (Scann) centre on Shadrack Kimalel Road, where he was entertained by an acrobatic troupe.

He also heard moving tales of woes from former street children rescued by the centre that has about 140 children.

Moi wound up his tour at Arap Moi Children’s Home which he launched in March 1968.

Moi said he had visited to check the state of the institutions, adding that problems affecting children should be addressed.

He said there were many needy children, especially owing to the HIV/Aids pandemic, and appealed to Kenyans to help the poor.

He said Moi Day was set aside for people to help the less fortunate members of the society.

"I wonder why most Kenyans are putting more emphasis on matters which are irrelevant instead of highlighting problems facing children," he said.

He urged Kenyans to recognise the abilities of children with disabilities. The deaf have special talents that need to be exploited, he added.

He said he visited China in 1984 and sent a group of youth for acrobatic training, which he said has been well adopted in the country, especially by children’s homes.

In Nairobi, most Kenyans went about their normal weekend business.

There were no special functions or events marking the day, save for those who took advantage of the long weekend to travel to their rural homes.

Nairobi streets were relatively empty as most people preferred either to stay home or visit drinking and other entertainment joints.

And business premises were closed yesterday in Kisumu’s Central Business District. The town was deserted while the suburban areas witnessed business as usual. Revellers patronised entertainment joints in large numbers. Copyright

© 2003 . The Standard Ltd