It was with great surprise and dismay that I read Emily Wax's Nov. 19 news story "As Moi Prepares to Leave, Many Kenyans Dare to Dream."

After serving as president for 24 years, President Daniel arap Moi is stepping down due to the constitutional limits on his presidency. His successor will be selected in Kenya's third multiparty election in 10 years. This is President Moi's legacy: a thriving democracy with more than 10 million citizens registered to vote and a vigorous free press that covers political events with candor and criticism.

While our neighbors have been immersed in conflict for much of the past several decades, Kenya has remained at peace. President Moi has served as one of Africa's few elder statesmen, brokering peace in Somalia, the Sudan and in the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Kenya's "peace dividend" has included greater educational opportunities for all Kenyans. There has been a particularly dramatic increase in opportunities for women and girls in education and political life.

To belittle this diversity as a political spoils system indicates a lack of understanding of the challenges and benefits inherent in the creation of a multi-ethnic government and society. If schools and hospitals are named after the president, it is hardly surprising, given the commitment he has made throughout his administration to advancing the education, health and prosperity of the people of Kenya.

Ms. Wax also insinuated that the Moi Girls' School in Nairobi is well funded because of tribal affiliations of its principal and teachers and that the majority of its students are Kalenjin. All are welcome to visit our schools and witness the national composition of the staff and students.

Finally, President Moi's personal modest residence in Kibera is not a mansion but a house he lived in even before he became president.

YUSUF A. NZIBO

Ambassador

Embassy of the Republic of Kenya

Washington