In 1950, the late president Moi married the love of his life Helena ‘Lena’ Tungo Bomett at the AIC mission church in Eldama Ravine. This was after paying two heifers, one ox, and four sheep as dowry to her family.
A woman who bore him many children and later became instrumental to his success.
“I owe her much of my success in the service of my people and my country. She has always been an encouraging factor in all aspects of my political life,” Moi was quoted in his biography, The Making of An African Statesman, by Andrew Morton.
During his time as the Vice President in the early ’60s and ’70s, Lena was by his side before stepping away from the public eye in the middle of the 1970s. It was around this time that their marriage was shaken because Lena refused to dance with the late Jomo Kenyatta during a dinner dance at the Rift Valley Technical College because she believed that it was sinful.
An act that greatly humiliated Moi who sent her away from the Vice-President’s official residence at Nairobi’s Kabarnet Gardens to Kabimoi, Baringo County.
The two divorced towards the end of the ’70s and that was the last time the public heard of Lena until her death in 2004.
Despite their fallout, the late president Moi still desired to rest alongside his beloved in Kabarak.
“Her funeral and everything will be at Kabarak, not Sacho. She will be buried in Kabarak where I will also be buried. When the times comes, I want to be buried there, beside her,” Moi had told the press following the death of his ex-wife in 2004.
To fulfil his wishes, Lena’s gravestone was cleaned and flowers laid ahead of Moi’s burial.