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Moi hated civil servants who dabbled in politics, says former head of public service

Former Cabinet Minister Dr. Sally Kosgei has eulogized the late retired President Daniel Arap Moi as an efficient manager who ensured that civil servants did not dabble in politics.

Dr. Kosgei, the long serving Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary and the last Head of Public Service who served under the late President told mourners during his burial service which was held at his Kabarak home in Nakuru County that Moi perfectly understood that by engaging in active politics, public servants not only violated national laws but also eroded public confidence in the institutions.

“To Moi the participation of public officers and use of public resources in political activities, politicized, created anarchy and patronage in the public service and other appointive positions, thereby undermining the Constitution.

He also made it clear that those heading other state agencies or in positions of authority would be in breach of the Public Service Code of Conduct and Regulations if they engaged in politics,” she said.

Section 16 of the Public Officers Ethics Act requires them not to engage in any political activity that may compromise or be seen to interfere with the neutrality of their office.

Dr. Kosgei who also served as a Member of Parliament for Aldai constituency from 2007 to 2012 told mourners that she first met Moi in 1972 and was immediately struck by his down to earth personality.

The former head of public service is best remembered for weeping in public when the Kenya Air Force helicopter was just about to lift Moi out of the State House in 2002, a symbolic final flight to Kabarak marking the end of his 24-year reign.

She would later recall it as a trying moment when a victorious Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as President.

The former Minister further told mourners that when she served as Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs one of the things Moi would not tolerate was interference by foreign envoys in Kenya’s local politics.

“I recall during 1992 General Elections the then German ambassador Bernd Mutzelburg was going round polling stations purporting to monitor the exercise. Of course on learning about it Moi was not amused.

He placed a call directly to the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to register his displeasure. It worked because I noticed the ambassador slowed his activities and involvement in local politics,” explained Kosgei.

She said that Moi’s patience and diplomatic skills made him hold the country in stability as he could not react to situations out of panic and emotion.

Those who worked with the head of state she said would be warned if they engaged in supremacy battles and personality attacks at their workplaces.

“Moi was a firm believer in discipline and a stickler for rules. He could notice if a working relation between senior civil servants was sour and would move to act decisively”

Dr Kosgei said Moi’s body language was an indicator whether he approved or was displeased with an individual’s activities.

She also described the late head of state as an environmentalist who worked tirelessly against soil erosion and deforestation and a promoter of girl child education.



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