(Mama Ida Odinga: photo courtesy)
Mama Ida Odinga, wife to Raila Odinga the former prime minister of Kenya, says she forgave former President Daniel Moi for all the ills he subjected his family to long before he passed away.
“You cannot live with bitterness your entire life. You must learn to forgive and be free at heart. After 1993, we forgave each other with Moi and moved on,” she was quoted saying
Ida who lived with pain and bitterness of untold proportions after Raila was detained and the state subjected her and family to untold misery including losing her teaching job wilfully forgave the former head of state.
“Those frustrations could make someone bitter with the ruling system,” she said in an interview with local media.
Ida still remembers her last words to her students at Kenya High; “You people, there is only one thing I want you to promise me; that you will work hard because your future depends on your learning; your future does not depend on your teachers but on your learning. Work hard for my sake, work hard and do well. If you do that you’ll have done it for me.”
Her husband Raila was charged in 1982 with treason over the abortive coup and detained for six years, released shortly in February 1988, detained again six months later that is June 1989 and jailed again in 1990 and finally released in 1991.
How they reconciled
President Moi had wanted the Odingas to forget the past and work together for the common good of Kenya, the two families remained friends to date.
“I was never happy at all with Moi until one day one of his close friends, Reuben Chesire, took me to his home and we both said sorry and forgave each other,”
- Ida and Raila at a past interview. Photo courtesy
She went on to say, “Forgiving people isn’t an easy task. But as Moi said, Kama iko mtu nimekosea anisamehe (If there is someone I have offended I ask for their forgiveness). We followed his wise counsel,”
“When you forgive, you became free in your heart. Friendship flourishes. God will rest Moi’s soul in eternal peace. He was a man with a clean heart.
“Once I decided to go all-in, I thought perhaps Moi needed to hear me out on this forgiveness call. I felt the need that I would have to reiterate the wrongs done to me, before we reconciled with Moi,
“In the spirit of national cohesion, let’s embrace his leadership virtues,” she said.
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