Kenyans were taken by a surprise when President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over his speech to ODM leader Raila Odinga to read during the Tom Mboya memorial which was held in Nairobi yesterday.It is usually the tradition that when the President away and an event warrants his speech, the Deputy President of government officials present read the speech.President Uhuru Kenyatta is away on a two day private visit in Tanzania.
Uhuru described Tom Mboya as an icon of post-independence Africa and one whose systems revolutionized the world.He said Mboya was an acutely intelligent man whose hard work opened doors for hundreds of people to access education and employment.
The president continued to say that Mboya was a pioneer of Africa’s independence and our modern states and Kenyans continue to find guidance and inspiration from his life.
Tom Mboya was a family man and had five children together with his wife the late ambassador Pamela Mboya.
His five children are Justice Moureen Odero, Luka Mboya, Susan Mboya-Kidero, the late Peter Mboya who died at an age of 39 and late Patrick Mboya who died at four years.
Tom Mboya will forever be remembered as a man whose legendary status bestowed unity bridges.
Dignitaries who joined the family to commemorate him include Raila Odinga, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, former attorney-general Charles Njonjo, and senators Amos Wako and James Orengo.
While speaking during the memorial service, Raila defended his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta saying, “Mboya stood for a nation that was blind to tribe and ethnicity, and that is why he was able to win elections in Nairobi which is made up of different communities.”
The ODM leader said this is where he and Uhuru Kenyatta are trying to lead Kenya, where being Kenyan will come first ahead of ethnicity. He stated that Mboya saw Kenyans as Kenyans and not through their ethnic background. But politics was not left behind as Raila took a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto and his ‘hustler’ tag.
He recounted how Mboya started off as the son of a sisal cutter who worked honestly to create wealth and that it does not matter where a person starts from but what they stand for.The ODM leader said: “Mboya lived in a two-roomed house in Ziwani and took a bank loan to build his first house but never referred to himself as a hustler.”