Former Kenya Army Commander, Lieutenant General (Rtd) Lazarus Sumbeiywo has revealed that one of the last wishes of the late Retired President Daniel Arap Moi was to have peace and stability restored in the turmoil-hit Somalia.
Lt. General Sumbeiywo told mourners during the burial service of the former Head of State held at his Kabarak home in Nakuru County on Wednesday that Moi was always saddened that though several meetings had been held to end the anarchy in Somalia, warring factions had continued to cause huge losses of human lives and property.
“Long after he retired, he would always tell me whenever we met that it was his daily prayer to God that Somalis wake up to the reality of what is happening on the continent and reconcile with each other.
“Whenever he met factional leaders he always prevailed upon them to put down the weapons of war and embrace the promise of peace,” said the former Army Commander.
He told mourners that Moi was disappointed that though Kenya was instrumental in the birth of South Sudan through the Second Sudanese Civil War and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was finally signed in 2005, the country slid in yet another orgy of lawlessness pitting supporters of President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar.
In 2002 Moi appointed General Sumbeiywo as Kenya’s Special Envoy to the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization for the Horn of Africa. In this position, he was the lead mediator in the Sudanese North-South peace process.
“When you share happy times and calamitous times with a man, a bond is effected that not even time is able to ravage. I and Moi shared the vision of a peaceful, united Sudan and we had single-mindedly committed ourselves to that cause,” he reminisced.
General Sumbeiywo noted that former Head of State was also involved in mediation between various conflicting sides in Uganda, Congo, Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Mozambique, Eritrea-Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Burundi.
“Moi was invited as President to provide peacekeeping forces in troubled parts of the world such as Chad, Uganda, Namibia, Mozambique, Iran-Iraq, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Liberia, Morocco, Angola, Serbia-Croatia, D.R. Congo, Sierra Leone and East Timor,” he noted.
“At different fora, he stressed that unless Africans cemented their unity and solidarity, solutions to the many internal and external problems afflicting the continent would remain elusive,” said the former Army Commander.
General Sumbeiywo told mourners that Moi was convinced the only way to end violent cultural practices such as armed cattle rustling activities and inter clan conflicts was through promotion of education.
He said that the former head of state was instrumental in mediating peace between members of the Samburu, Pokot and Turkana communities who were perennially in armed combat against each other.
Sumbeiywo hailed Moi for being instrumental in the revival of the East African Community that had collapsed in 1977, and together with Tanzania’s then President Benjamin Mkapa and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, they signed it back to life.
Moi was further eulogized as regional peace marker and praised for convening peace negotiations in Nairobi in 1985 between then Ugandan leader, Gen Tito Okello and Museveni.
“He reached out to his counterparts in the region and initiated and pushed various peace processes and especially through Inter-governmental Authority on development (IGAD), to incorporate peace building and deal with issues related to drought and desertification in the Horn Africa,” he said.
“Moi also understood that it was only through the East African Community that sustainable social and economic growth could be achieved,” stated the retired army commander.
By Anne Mwale