By Davis Ayega, Nairobi — PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta drove himself to Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday, to inspect preparations for the memorial service of former president Daniel arap Moi that is set for Tuesday.
Journalists and photographers present were restricted from taking pictures of the president as he arrived to inspect ongoing work at the stadium, and those who had taken pictures were forced to delete them.
On Saturday, President Kenyatta paid his last respects to former President Moi whose body is lying in state in Parliament.
In his address to the nation from State House Nairobi before he went to Parliament, President Kenyatta said he had lost a mentor.
"President Moi was a mentor to many, including myself," he said in his tribute to the former Head of State who propelled him to national politics at a young age.
Against all odds, Moi surprised the country when he declared President Kenyatta as his preferred successor at the end of his 24 year-rule.
Uhuru then vied for the presidency on a KANU ticket but lost to Mwai Kibaki who ruled for two terms, before handing over to Kenyatta who won the 2012 presidential election.
"We commence the final journey of a great son of Kenya, a cherished brother, loving father, father of nation, champion of pan africanism and second president of Kenya, he taught for life and was a mentor to many, including myself , his works and legacy will remain immortal," Kenyatta said, in his first address to the nation, since February 4, when Moi died at the Nairobi Hospital.
Kenyatta celebrated Moi as an icon leader who helped build Kenya out of the shackles of colonial rule and into the freedom and self-determination of a modern independent state.
He described the former president as a balanced leader who during the clamor for multipartyism, listened to both sides and chose well, setting the stage for a national rebirth through the introduction of multipartyism.
"He was a visionary leader. When his party lost in 2002 election, he left office with a gracious last word of advice to those who took the heavy responsibility. The sun has set on a truly extraordinary man, a masterful yet thoughtful leader, a suave yet firm diplomat. One who served the nation with dignity and honor," President said, before heading to Parliament when he led the public in viewing Moi's body that lay in state.
Furthermore, the Kenyan President who has been on an official visit in the United States described Moi as a Pan African who believed deeply "that we had answers for the troubled continent."
"Our nation is not alone in mourning the passing of the former president, the whole of Africa is mourning, we continue to receive messages of sympathy and admiration for the life and service of Moi from around the world," he said.
After lying-in-state for three days, the gun carriage and State Funeral Procession will make its way from Parliament Buildings to the Nyayo Stadium, the venue of the National Memorial Service.