In a statement, the former president said he was overwhelmed by messages of goodwill from Kenyans.

He thanked them for their love and digging up fond memories, and said he prays for blessings for Kenya and its people.

There was no national function to mark the day and Mr Moi said it was not meant for pomp and colour. He termed it an opportunity for the well-off to assist the less fortunate.

He said it should also be a day of reflection and acknowledgment of God’s blessings, and resolves to fulfil his wishes.

“I thank those who sent me messages of goodwill. My everlasting wish is to see all Kenyans live in peace and harmony as children of one God."

Mzee Moi also called on Kenyans to proudly support economic advancement and the well-being of families and communities. “Kenyans need to optimally utilise their time working and building the nation,” he stated.

Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu, whose education was partly funded by the retired president, marked the day celebrating her achievements, that she noted resulted from the foundation he laid.

“I spent the day in deep nostalgia, reading this book — 'Moi: The Making of an African Statesman' by Andrew Morton — which in my view is a must read,” said Ms Karugu. The book is about the history of Kenya and Mr Moi.

Ms Karugu met Mr Moi in 1992 at Nyeri Primary School, when she was picked from a list of 30 pupils to receive him during a visit. After handing him flowers, she struck a conversation and acquired a friend.

President Moi asked for her when he visited the area two more times.

“I have also secured a date to meet and reconnect with Baba Moi,” Ms Karugu said of the chance she had been longing for. “Having met him several times when I was young, he encouraged me to take education seriously and is the reason I am who I am today. He was a true father figure especially for 'Watoto wa Nyayo'.

But it was business as usual in most parts. Mr Abdalla Bargash, from Shella in Mombasa, said Moi Day is "absolutely unnecessary and adds a burden to taxpayers already straining due to the high cost of living". “We have had enough celebrations and we all know the man doesn’t have much for which he should be honoured, so I am surprised that the day was brought up again," he said.

Mr Khaldun Vae from Kizingitini, however, said Mr Moi is a great leader. “His influence, even outside the presidency, remains. Such people must be celebrated so generations don’t forget them. I value Moi Day," she said.