Lessons From President Moi
The other day, I was surprised to learn from my parents that 10th October is still a holiday, known as Moi Day, here in Kenya. I was surprised because the last time I checked, the holiday had been done away with when President Moi, after whom it is named, relinquished power in December 2002. As to why the holiday was reinstated is something I am yet to understand.
Anyway, when I learnt from my parents that Moi Day is still celebrated, I couldn't help remembering President Moi and how I adored him when I was a boy. He was the first Kenyan president whose rule I witnessed because he took over power about a decade before I was born and ruled for 24 years.
Back in the early '90s, KBC - the then only television station in Kenya - used to paint President Moi as a great leader. The station always began its evening news with what Moi had done that day. And on Sundays, it would let us know where Moi had attended church. I guess it is as a result of that positive coverage of the president's day-to-day activities that I came to adore Moi.
So much did I come to adore President Moi that I would sometimes get into heated arguments with my eldest brother Joe Kagigite who disliked Moi. Joe thought Moi ruined our nation's economy because Kenya registered negative economic growth during some years of Moi's rule.
Unable to stomach my support for President Moi, Joe once remarked to me in Kikuyu sometime in 2001, "You know you love Moi because you always have bread for breakfast every morning; you don't know how people out there are suffering because of his bad rule." I didn't know how to react to that Joe's remark.
Joe's assessment of Moi's rule notwithstanding, I still believe Moi was an able leader because our country enjoyed peace during his 24-year reign, at a time when some African nations were getting torn apart by coups, genocide and civil war. And I have always loved Moi's philosophy of peace, love and unity. In recent years, I have been having an opinion that Moi would have fared better as a leader if he had added "prosperity" to his philosophy so that it read "peace, love, unity and prosperity".
It has been seventeen years since President Moi relinquished power. As I write this story, Moi is still alive at 95 years of age. I am thinking the following could be the secrets to his longevity:
- Believing in God: Moi is a staunch Christian who believes in God and in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. I once read in the newspapers of him awarding students with Bibles. He advised the students to study the Bible diligently because therein lies a lot of wisdom.
- Laughing: Moi used to sometimes laugh in public when he was president. I particularly remember one time in 2002 when he was captured on camera laughing uncontrollably during a national holiday celebration. And that has contributed to his long life because scientists say laughter reduces stress and speeds healing.
- Having a forgiving attitude: During his last weeks as president, Moi publicly asked for forgiveness from all those he had wronged during his reign. He also stated that he had forgiven all those who had sinned against him.
- Being generous: Moi was generous when he was president. He regularly donated money during fundraisers (popularly known as harambees here in Kenya). And he would sometimes buy bananas for members of the public during his meet-the-people tours. As a pupil, I got to enjoy the milk his administration gave out to school children.
- Pride in his culture: Moi was proud of the cultural heritage of the community he hailed from - the Kalenjin. He always carried a spear as it is a custom of the Kalenjins. And he had one of his lower teeth extracted as it is a tradition of his community.
- Patriotism: Moi loved our country when he was president. I could tell it from the way he governed with zeal. In 1996, I once heard him on TV telling Kenyans that "siasa mbaya, maisha mbaya" - a Swahili statement which means bad politics results in low standards of living.
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The Almighty God vs the Devil
As a Christian, I believe that God exists as it is told in the Bible. And if I weren't a Christian, I would still believe in the existence of God because of all the wonders of nature that I observe. The fact that I live also sufficiently convinces me that there is a Creator because I didn't create myself or choose to live in this age; I just found myself living.
I also believe that the Devil exists as it is told in the Bible. The evil that I witness in this world makes me believe that the Devil does exist for real; evils such as rape, theft and murder that I read all too frequently in the media.
Personally, I have seen the Devil at work in my life because there is that internal force (which I believe is the Devil) that is always trying to steal my joy by making me hate others, causing me to worry about trivial matters and inflicting me with guilt by reminding me of my past mistakes. Does that sound familiar to you as well? I guess it does.
Yes, I believe in the existence of God and of the Devil. And I have come to realize that God is as different from the Devil as the Sun is different from the Moon. Okay, let me amplify my point.
To our earthly human eyes, the Sun and the Moon appear to be of equal size. But how severely misguided our perceptions are! The Sun and the Moon are vastly different in their size and nature.
The Sun, on the one hand, is massive and very massive indeed. It possesses 99.9% of the mass in the solar system, which is why nine planets revolve around it, including our own Earth. The Sun also consistently produces enormous amounts of energy without which life on Earth would be impossible. And so intense is the energy it produces that gazing at the midday Sun with naked eyes can cause eyesight complications as it once happened to Sir Isaac Newton.
On the other hand, the Moon is, celestially-speaking, just a tiny piece of rock. It is so tiny that it has to depend on the Earth in its revolution around the Sun. And the Moon never produces its own light; it just reflects the portion it receives from the Sun.
While the Sun always appears to us as spherical, the Moon keeps on changing shapes and it is sometimes not even visible at night. And while the Sun religiously rises in the East every morning, the Moon just appears anywhere when the Sun goes down. It is interesting to note that when the Sun shines, the Moon is overwhelmed out of sight. That's why the Moon is unnoticeable during the day.
When I reflected on those differences between the Sun and the Moon, I discovered in them many parallels between the nature of Sun vs the Moon and the nature of God vs the Devil.
Like the Sun, God is a mighty supernatural being who remains the same in every age and is always with us every passing day. It is due to His power that we exist. He is the source of light without which we lead miserable lives. He is faithful, dependable, capable and reliable. When we allow Him into our lives, the Devil is overwhelmed out of action.
And like the Moon, the Devil is a small weak being who derives his power from God. He is unfaithful, undependable, unreliable and incapable. And he depends on us human beings to satisfy his feelings of happiness. The Devil - how weak he is!
So if God is like the Sun and the Devil like the Moon, that tells us that we have to turn to God every moment if we are to experience His love and peace. You see, the hemispheres of the Earth have darkness when they face away from the Sun. And in the same way the Moon is visible when the Earth faces away from the Sun, the Devil is encouraged in his actions when we turn away from God.
Let us therefore always be dependent on God and resist the Devil. By being dependent on God, I mean thanking Him, seeking Him, praising Him and communing with Him daily through prayers. And by resisting the Devil, I mean refraining from such evils as lying, stealing and gossiping. I believe that it's only when we depend on God and resist the Devil that we can experience the peace and the never-fading bliss we all crave for in our souls. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on the Almighty God vs the Devil, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Proof That God Exists". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.