Slightly less than a 100 meters from the palatial house, the State is working hard to make the final resting place of former President Daniel arap Moi the best it could be ahead of his burial on Wednesday. Mzee Moi’s final resting place looks like any ordinary grave.
Near the one storey house with lightning arresters at strategic points and a DSTV dish is one large satellite dish.
The grave, which is less than 100 meters from the expansive diamond shaped home, is the second one in the expansive land that is estimated to be in excess of 2,300 acres.
The burial site had been identified by the former Head of State during the burial of his wife Lena in line with Kalenjin traditions.
And, as those digging the grave shoved the black soil from the grave with brand new spades, a few meters away from the site, a committee organising the burial of Mzee Moi and top security officers were briefing Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho on the progress.
For the first time since the funeral of Mzee Moi’s wife Lena, there was no restriction at the grave site.
Top security officers and some members of the steering committee were visiting Mzee Moi’s homestead for the first time. The visitors at the burial site included the family of the late Paulo Tuitoek arap Moi, the former president’s brother, who died on August 28, 1993 aged 104.
The preparation of Mzee Moi’s grave has taken less than three days.
“We are working hard to beat the deadline tomorrow (Tuesday). We had to make sure that everything is in order as Mzee Moi was a larger-than-life personality and the world will be watching the funeral,” said a young man at the grave site on Sunday.
The digging of the grave is being done with due diligence.
“We are very careful not to disturb the soil next to the grave of Mama Lena,” said another man.
Interestingly, Lena was buried in 2004 at a place where she had never visited. The compound is a testimony that Mzee Moi loved trees.
The lush green lawn is dotted with beautiful flowers that make the compound look like a small paradise.
Mourners who were visiting the home for the first time on Sunday stopped to admire one of the most guarded houses in Kenya.
Several water fountains are strategically placed in the compound. And the mourners who thronged the compound for last Sunday service enjoyed the shade from the trees.
“I have been under a tree shade in the past but today, as I mourn Mzee Moi, this shade is just very cool and refreshing,” said Mr Joel Kiarie.
One would expect to find a big tombstone at Lena’s grave site. However, it is a simple grave that is slightly raised from the ground on a marble with inscriptions of her dates of birth and death.
In front of the beautiful house is Mzee Moi’s presidential standard flag that has the Kanu symbol of a red cockerel and a national flag flying at half-mast.
Next is a massive car garage that can accommodate more than five vehicles at one go.
The clean pathways are dotted with garden lanterns. The house, which is sandwiched between Kabarak University and Kabarak High School, is next to an airstrip.
Unlike in the past when the airstrip used to roar to life with light aircraft bringing delegates to Mzee’s home, it has been relatively quiet.
However, after Mzee Moi relinquished power in 2002, after serving as Kenya’s president for 24 years, the airstrip has largely remained inactive save for a few occasions when Mzee Moi was airlifted to The Nairobi Hospital for medical check-ups.
As burial plans gathered momentum, next to the grave site is a farm that had several cattle that were grazing.
The steering committee led by Dr Kibicho visited on Sunday to inspect the grave site where he was briefed by military officers on the progress.
At the venue where the ceremony will be conducted Wednesday, Wonderjoy, the company contracted to put up the massive tents, is doing the final touches.
The tarmac roads leading to Kabarak Primary School next to the main venue have been repaired. National Youth Service officers were sprucing up the venue.