Former prime minister Nahas Angula said Namibia remains indebted to former Kenya’s president Daniel Arap Moi.
Moi died yesterday at the age of 95.
Moi was Kenya’s second president and ruled the country from 1978 until 2002, after succeeding that country’s founding president Jomo Kenyatta.
Angula said at independence when Namibia was faced with considerable challenges in terms of security, Founding President Sam Nujoma made an appeal to then president Moi for the Kenyan Blue Helmet Contingent to remain behind to help maintain stability in Namibia.
Kenya was one of the countries that had deployed military forces in Namibia in 1989 as part of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (Untag) to monitor peace during the country’s first democratic elections.
“We were faced with a problem that there were some elements of the South African army still in Namibia. Founding President Nujoma, on behalf of Swapo, approached the government of Kenya under the leadership of Moi to assist by allowing the Kenyan contingent to remain in Namibia when Untag had withdrawn. Then president Moi agreed and Kenya had to fund its own troops in Namibia – and that helped to stabilise the security situation in the country,” said Angula.
Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi described Moi as a leader who had great expectations of universities towards empowerment on the continent.
“The fact that somebody of his generation could appreciate the role of education in shaping the future of Africa was remarkable. As we all know, by then, he was one of the longest serving presidents in Africa and he had seen it all. His insight about the Africa of tomorrow was a source of inspiration,” Katjavivi said.
Katjavivi added he vividly recalls that during his tenure as vice chancellor of the University of Namibia, they were hosted in Kenya as an association of VCs of African universities.
“Former president Moi was our guest speaker. He indicated that he attached great importance to the role of universities in transforming nations on the continent,” Katjavivi said.
When Kenyatta died in 1978, Moi succeeded him, fighting a tough political battle to secure it from rivals.
Moi’s rise to power heralded Kenya’s final descent into a single party state, with the multi-party system crushed and critical voices tortured or jailed without trial.
A botched coup in 1982 by air force officers was a turning point, with Moi’s reaction swift and harsh, arresting or sacking dozens.
Lines were drawn and perceived enemies were mercilessly tackled, with those in the regime’s cross hairs, including cultural or rights activists such as author Ngugi wa Thiong’o or environmentalist Wangari Maathai, who later won a Nobel Peace prize.
The 1980s in Kenya were tough times, with university students demonstrating – protests that were quickly crushed – amid runaway inflation, high unemployment and rampant corruption by Moi and a powerful surrounding clique.
Top of the graft scams was the Goldenberg scandal, dealing a crippling blow to the economy, with around a billion dollars siphoned from government coffers under a compensation scheme for export of non-existent gold and diamonds.
As recently as May 2019, a court found Moi guilty of grabbing land and ordered he pay part of nearly US$10 million to the rightful owners of a property he sold.
- Additional reporting by Nampa/AFP
2020-02-05 09:00:56 | 18 days ago