Moi's Message to Kenyan Military: Back the New President

State House (Nairobi), 28 December, 2002

Nairobi—Outgoing Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, attended a farewell parade in his honour on Saturday, at the military headquarters in Langata Barracks in the capital, Nairobi.

Addressing hundreds of service men and women from the army, airforce and navy at the ceremony, Moi urged the military to respect and support Kenya's new president and to keep up the good work.

The head of the Kenyan armed forces, Major General Joseph Kibwana, responded by saying We take this opportunity to pledge our loyalty to the next president. Thanking Moi for his service to the military and the nation, Kibwana wished him well in retirement.

Kenya held presidential, parliamentary and local elections on Friday, marking the end to 24 years of Moi's presidency.

Kibwana handed Moi retirement gifts from the forces—including a tractor, a plough, a specially embroidered and encased commander-in-chief's uniform and, a ceremonial sword. He also received as a gift a giant painting depicting Moi, with his trademark gold-tipped ivory rungu (short staff), hovering in the sky above a military flypast, with a ceremonial guard on the ground standing by for inspection.

Moi was also given a cheque for KS1m (one million Kenyan shillings (US$12,500) as a contribution from the military to the Moi Foundation he has said he will set up to honour his retirement pledges to focus on conflict resolution in the Horn and East Africa and concentrate on children's welfare, especially HIV/Aids' orphans.

Below, in full is President Moi's address to the Kenyan armed forces.

In the 24 years that I have been president of our beloved country, the armed forces have given me much to be proud of. You have made Kenya a proud nation all over the world. Your dignity and discipline have seen you participate in the United Nations' peacekeeping forces all over the world.

You service in Zimbabwe, Namibia, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, East Timor, to mention but a few places, brought honour and respect to your country Kenya and all its people.

Those responsibilities were a great source of pride for me, in particular as your commander-in-chief and to our country. I have continued to receive congratulations on your behalf. You must keep up this wonderful reputation.

Ladies and gentlemen, in a civilian system of government such as ours has been, the military is not always visible to civilians except on national day parades. However, there are occasions when you have responded to important national issues to render service. We witness your invaluable assistance to our people during the tragic accident at Mbaraki River Bridge and the Nairobi and Mombasa bomb blasts, where your support mitigated their suffering. It is my wish that you keep this up.

Ladies and gentlemen, if there is one area where Kenya is positively identified internationally, it is in the world of sports. In this field, I'm pleased to say that sports men and women of our armed forces have represented Kenya most commendably.

The first African military games held in Kenya last year, not only served to strengthen Kenya's international reputation as a sporting nation, but demonstrated the organisational capabilities of the armed forces of our country. I congratulate you most heartily.

I want to thank you and salute you for being loyal and supportive during the 24 years when I have been your commander-in-chief. I have not taken your loyalty and dedication for granted. I have always appreciated it.

As I relinquish power, my one message to you is that you should support our new president in our country and keep up the good work that you have done so well and to earn the respect that you have.

I want to thank you for the wonderful gifts you have just given me. I say thank you. I am tremendously moved by these presentations. I want to wish your families well. Now and in future I will always remember you.

May God continue to bless you and to bless our beloved country for which you have served so well.

Keep this in your minds, that you have served Kenya and, within this region, you have shown your capabilities as professional soldiers.

May God bless you, guide you and protect you.

Thank you.