How young Moi walked 240km, sold his only cow to buy first Bible

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Moi’s Bible and famous rungu at Parliament yesterday. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Former President Daniel Moi once walked for over 240km from Kapsabet in Nandi County to Kapsowar in Elgeyo Marakwet to buy a bible.

A close friend of the late Moi, Joel Chebii, says the former President narrated to him how, in 1940’s, he went all out to buy his first Bible from white missionaries who were then based in Marakwet.Mr Chebii, who is the first vice chairman of Cotu, a position he has held since 1980s, says Moi walked with a cow, which he sold to buy the Bible.He says Moi confided in him that he had been given the cow by well-wishers in Kapsabet and because of his strong Christian faith, he sold it to buy the Bible. It took Moi six days to cover the distance from Kapsabet to Kapsowar and back.Upon reaching Kapsowar, Moi sold the cow at Sh2.50, the exact cost of the bible and then walked back to Kapsabet.“I knew Moi in 1986 through former Eldoret North MP Reuben Cheshire, and we became close friends. I invited him to a service at our Eldoret Baptist Church where I serve as a reverend in the 1990s. I was surprised when Moi showed up and when elders offered him a bible, he told me he had his own, which he bought in Kapsowar in the 1940s,” Chebii recalls.He says in his journey to get the bible, Moi spent the night in Mosoriot, about 35km from Kapsabet, with his cow on the first day.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.   Subscribe Now »On the second day, he spent the night in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, about 35km away from Eldoret before walking 41km to Kapsowar.“Mzee Moi was a true Christian. He was a humble and kindhearted man who came to our church seven times. He came to church with his bible, a notebook and a pen. We would see him writing notes like a student regardless of who was preaching,” Chebii says.Chebii says when he went to check on Mzee Moi a week before he died, he found that the former President still owned the Bible he bought more than 70 years ago.“Moi feared God. When he came for a fundraising, he never brought government money. He would come with a cheque from his Kabarnet farm. He always told me that he donates cash from his agricultural investments. I urge other leaders to emulate him,” he says.Chebii says Moi told him to build a foundation for everything he did on God and donate 10 per cent of his wealth to the needy.“My friend Moi was concerned about workers’ interests and he religiously attended Labour Day celebrations every year and he gave Kenyan workers hope,” he says.Meanwhile, the chairman of Uasin Gishu Council of Imams and Muslim Preachers of Kenya Sheikh Abubakar Bini has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare Wednesday next week when Moi will be laid to rest a public holiday to give Kenyans an opportunity to reflect on the former President’s leadership and contributions to the country.Bini said the best way to remember Moi would be to declare his funeral day a public holiday.“We can’t pay Moi for what he did to this country. Children from poor families were given free milk during his tenure. We are urging Uhuru to declare Wednesday next week a national holiday,” said Bini.Sheikh Bini told current political leaders to emulate Mzee Moi by making Kenya a united country.

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