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Read my book, don’t tell lies about me when I die

Former Vice-President Moody Awori says he wrote his biography to set the record straight, so that people don’t “tell lies” when he is dead.

At the launch of the autobiography on Tuesday evening, the octogenarian said he had been appalled at how people abandon truth when a prominent person dies.

“The reason I wrote this book is simply that every time a public figure passes away and there is a funeral, people come and tell lies,” he told a chuckling audience at the Michael Joseph Centre in Nairobi. “I thought that before my time comes (to die), let me tell people what actually happened.”

Mr Awori became Kenya’s ninth — and President Mwai Kibaki’s second — VP, following the death of Michael Kijana Wamalwa in 2003, until 2007.

The autobiography, Riding on a Tiger, published by Moran Publishers, is a story about Mr Awori’s personal life, his family and his experience of politics as Funyula (then known as Busia Central) member of Parliament from 1982 to 2008, when he lost to Dr Paul Otuoma and subsequently retired from politics.

RISE TO FAME

At the launch, the former VP said the book was a depiction of how his family and friends helped him to rise to fame.

“My story, frankly, is a story of people. Good people. I always made friends and it was through friends that I was able to progress,” said Mr Awori.

Once famed for wearing fashionable shorts and a hat, Mr Awori, fondly known as “Uncle Moody”, has been an influential personality in defending the rights of the disabled and prisoners.

As Home Affairs minister, he helped to bring reforms that saw prisoners allowed to watch television and take part in recreational activities such as sports and also enjoy family visits.

As a politician, however, he got a lot of stick for staying around too long. Some say he should have retired long before Dr Otuoma humiliated him in 2007.

Yet the 88-year-old said his time as one of the early black African students at Mang’u High School enabled him to live with people around the world.

CURSE OF TRIBALISM

“Our generation refused the curse of tribalism,” argued Mr Awori, citing his marriage to a woman from Ukambani.

One of his daughters married a Muslim despite coming from a staunch Catholic background, another tied the knot with a Kikuyu and yet another got married in Luoland.

One of his brothers married a Liberian and his family has connections in East Africa, around Africa, Europe and America, he argued, stating that his family is a true “United Nations”.

Said Mr Awori: “How can I not just be a Kenyan? My book just shows the question of how someone should live in this world.”

While he paid tribute to his friends, he argued: “I get a lot of inspiration from family, from the nest.”

The book will retail at Sh3,400 for the hard cover edition and Sh2,000 for the paperback.

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