Doctor close to the late Daniel moi Speaks
The late President Daniel arap Moi’s long-time personal physician, Dr David Silverstein, yesterday gave a rare glimpse into their friendship that spanned more than four decades and went beyond patient-doctor relationship.
Speaking during the former President’s burial at his Kabarak home yesterday, Silverstein stated that he first met Moi in 1977 when Moi was 60 years and he was a 33-year-old cardiologist starting out his career in Kenya.
“His secretary, a Mrs Smith, called to ask me if I could see him and I told her I could see him any time at Kenyatta National Hospital. That is how we began our 42-year-old relation,” said Silverstein, who is rarely seen in public.
Their friendship was so strong that he revealed how they often shared a glass of “sweet kosher sacramental wine” from Israel together with former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, who last month celebrated his 100th birthday and John Cardinal Njue before retiring to bed.
In his moving tribute, Silverstein described the late Moi as a workaholic, said the former President was not only an exemplary and prayerful patient, but also an obedient patient who followed his instructions on medicine, diet and lifestyle.
Silverstein attested to Moi’s love for meat, as was revealed by his son Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, but said the retired President continued to follow all his advice up to his last day.
At State House, whenever he went to check on him, Silverstein said Moi was always concerned about the time he spent with him at the expense of his other patients, but was quick to point out that he never allowed him to leave without offering him a cup of tea and engaging in discussions touching on new medical developments, the Old Testament and its application in today’s work, international politics and the state of affairs in Israel.
“During his last days, Mzee continued to be a strong leader. In hospital he appreciated the care he was being given, he listened to his angelic hymns everyday and he was mostly happy when he saw his sons Gideon and Raymond on TV.”
Silverstein, who said Moi was about 103 years old when he died, said his closeness with him saw the President participate in major events in the doctor’s life including attending his wedding to his wife Channa and also attending his son’s birth and circumcision.
He said he always accompanied him to various overseas trips including China and his main role in the Asian country was to ensure the Head of State did not eat exotic animals such as cats and snakes, or drink buffalo milk.
The doctor added that although nothing much was realised apart from physical therapy to deal with his legs, Moi received emotional therapy, especially when he visited the tomb where Jesus was laid, a move that led to great improvements on his health.
He said during the last four months before his death, Moi made great improvements and normally focused on making special prayers every Sabbath.
BY MAINA DAVID