President Daniel Arap Moi has passed on as announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a presidential proclamation.
He was 95 and has been sick for quite sometime.
Moi was born in Kabarak village, Sacho division, Baringo County, and was raised by his paternal uncle Kimoi Chebii following the early death of his father. He was from the Tugen sub-group of the Kalenjin People. After completing his secondary education at Kapsabet High School, he attended Tambach Teacher Training College in the Keiyo District. He worked as a teacher from 1946 until 1955.
In 1955 Moi entered politics when he was elected Member of the Legislative Council for Rift Valley. He was the chosen replacement of Dr. John ole Tameno, the former representative who had had to quit due to heavy drinking and suspected connections to the freedom movement. In 1957 Moi was re-elected Member of the Legislative Council for Rift Valley. He became Minister of Education in the pre-independence government of 1960–1961.
In 1960 he founded the Kenya Africa Democratic Union (KADU) with Ronald Ngala to challenge the Kenya African National Union (KANU) led by Jomo Kenyatta. KADU pressed for a federal constitution, while KANU was in favour of centralism. The advantage lay with the numerically stronger KANU, and the British government was finally forced to remove all provisions of a federal nature from the constitution.
When Jomo Kenyatta died on 22 August 1978, Moi became acting president. Per the Constitution, a special presidential election for the balance of Kenyatta’s term was to be held on 8 November, 90 days later. That never happened as the Cabinet held a Special Cabinet meeting without Moi and decided that no one else was interested and went around the country campaigning for him to be declared elected unopposed. He was therefore declared President of Kenya in September 1978.
In the beginning, Moi was popular, with widespread support all over the country. He toured the country and came into contact with the people everywhere, which was in great contrast to Kenyatta’s imperial style of governing behind closed doors. However, political realities dictated that he would continue to be beholden to the Kenyatta system which he had inherited intact, including the nearly dictatorial powers vested in the presidency. Despite his popularity, Moi was still too weak to consolidate his power. From the beginning, anticommunism was an important theme of Moi’s government; speaking on the new President’s behalf, Vice-President Mwai Kibaki bluntly stated, “There is no room for communists in Kenya.”
On 1 August 1982, lower-level Air Force personnel, led by Senior Pricate Grade Hezekiah Ochuka and backed by university students, attempted a coup to oust Moi. The putsch was quickly suppressed by military and police forces commanded by Chief of General Staff Mohamoud Mohammed To this day it appears that the attempt by two independent groups to seize power contributed to the failure of both, with one group making its attempt slightly earlier than the other.
Moi took the opportunity to dismiss political opponents and consolidate his power. He reduced the influence of Kenyatta’s men in the cabinet through a long running judicial enquiry that resulted in the identification of key Kenyatta men as traitors. Moi pardoned them but not before establishing their traitor status in the public view. The main conspirators in the coup, including Ochuka were sentenced to death, marking the last judicial executions in Kenya. He appointed supporters to key roles and changed the constitution to formally make KANU the only legally permitted party in the country. However, as mentioned above, Kenya had been a de facto one-party state since 1969. Kenya’s academics and other intelligentsia did not accept this and the universities and colleges became the origin of movements that sought to introduce democratic reforms. However, Kenyan secret police infiltrated these groups and many members moved into exile. Marxism could no longer be taught at Kenyan universities. Underground movements, e.g. Mwakenya and Pambana, were born.
Moi’s regime now faced the end of the cold war , and an economy stagnating under rising oil prices and falling prices for agricultural commodities. At the same time the West no longer dealt with Kenya as it had in the past, when it was viewed as a strategic regional outpost against communist influences from Ethiopia and Tanzania. At that time Kenya had received much foreign aid, and the country was accepted as well governed with Moi as a legitimate leader and firmly in charge. Western allies deliberately overlooked the increasing degree of political repression, including the use of torcher at the infamous Nyayo torture chambers. Some of the evidence of these torture cells was eventually to be exposed in 2003 after Mwai Kibaki became President.
However, a new thinking emerged among Western policymakers after the end of the Cold War, and as Moi increasingly was viewed as a despot. Foreign aid was withheld pending compliance with economic and political reforms. One of the key conditions imposed on his regime, especially by the United States through fiery ambassador Smith Hempstone, was the restoration of a Multi Party System. Despite his own lack of enthusiasm for the multiparty system, Moi managed to win over his party who were pro-single party, single-handedly convincing the delegates at a convened KANU conference at Kasarani in December 1991.
Moi won elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by political violence on both sides. Moi skilfully exploited Kenya’s mix of ethnic tensions in these contests, especially smaller tribes’ ever-present fear of domination by the larger tribes. In the absence of an effective and organised opposition, Moi had no difficulty in winning. Although it is also suspected that electoral fraud may have occurred, the key to his victory in both elections was a divided opposition. He always won the election with a minority vote of about 30% against the opposition who had a combined 70%, which was nonetheless of no consequence because it was subdivided among the opposition who had failed to unite.
Criticism and corruption allegations
In 1999 the findings of NGOs like Amnesty and a special investigation by the United Nations were published which indicated that human rights were prevalent in Kenya under the Moi regime.
Reporting on corruption and human rights abuses by British reporter Mary Anne from 1987–88 resulted in her being vilified by the government and finally deported. Moi was implicated in the 1990s Goldenberg Scandal and subsequent cover-ups, where the Kenyan government subsidised exports of gold far in excess of the foreign currency earnings of exporters. In this case, the gold was smuggled from Congo, as Kenya has negligible gold reserves. The Goldenberg scandal cost Kenya the equivalent of more than 10% of the country’s annual GDP.
Half-hearted inquiries that began at the request of foreign aid donors never amounted to anything substantial during Moi’s presidency. Although it appears that the peaceful transfer of power to Mwai Kibaki may have involved an understanding that Moi would not stand trial for offences committed during his presidency, foreign aid donors reiterated their requests, and Kibaki reopened the inquiry. As the inquiry has progressed, Moi, his two sons, Philip and Gideon (now a Senator), and his daughter, June, as well as a host of high-ranking Kenyans, have been implicated. In testimony delivered in late July 2003, Treasury Permanent Secretary Joseph Magari recounted that, in 1991, Moi ordered him to pay Ksh34.5 million ($460,000) to Goldenberg, contrary to the laws then in force.
In October 2006, Moi was found by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes to have taken a bribe from a Pakistani businessman, to award a monopoly of duty-free shops at the country’s international airports in Mombasa and Nairobi. The businessman, Ali Nasir, claimed to have paid Moi US$2 million in cash to obtain government approval for the World Duty Free Limited investment in Kenya.
On 31 August 2007, WikiLeaks published a secret report that laid bare a web of shell companies, secret trusts and frontmen that his entourage had used to funnel hundreds of millions of pounds into nearly 30 countries
Moi was constitutionally barred from running in the 2002 presidential elections. Some of his supporters floated the idea of amending the constitution to allow him to run for a third term, but Moi preferred to retire, choosing Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first President, as his successor. However, Mwai Kibaki was elected President by a two to one majority over Kenyatta, which was confirmed on 29 December 2002. Kibaki was then wheelchair bound, having narrowly escaped death in a road traffic accident on the campaign trail.
Moi handed over power in a poorly organised ceremony that had one of the largest crowds ever seen in Nairobi in attendance. The crowd was openly hostile to Moi.
After leaving office in December 2002, Moi lived in retirement, largely shunned by the political establishment. However, he still retained some popularity with the masses, and his presence never failed to gather a crowd. He spoke out against a proposal for a new constitution in 2005; according to Moi, the document was contrary to the aspirations of the Kenyan people. After the proposal was defeated in a 2005 Constitution amendment, President Kibaki called President Moi to arrange for a meeting to discuss the way forward.
On 25 July 2007, Kibaki appointed Moi as special peace envoy to Sudan, referring to Moi’s “vast experience and knowledge of African affairs” and “his stature as an elder statesman”. In his capacity as peace envoy, Moi’s primary task was to help secure peace in southern Sudan, where an agreement, signed in early 2005, was being implemented. At the time, the Kenyan press speculated that Moi and Kibaki were planning an alliance ahead of the On 28 August 2007, Moi announced his support for Kibaki’s re-election and said that he would campaign for Kibaki. He sharply criticised the two opposition Orange Democratic factions, arguing that they were tribal in nature.
Moi owns the Kiptangich Tea Factory, established in 1979, which has been involved in controversy. In 2009 the factory was under threat of being closed down by the government during the Mau evictions.
Daniel arap Moi married Lena Moi (born Helena Bommet) in 1950, but they separated in 1974, before his presidency. Lena died in 2004. Daniel arap Moi has eight children, five sons and three daughters. Among the children are Gideon Moi (Senator, Baringo County), the late Jonathan Toroitich (a former Rally driver, died 2019) and Philip Moi (a retired army officer). His older and only brother William Tuitoek died in 1995. He was a member of the Africa Inland Mission Church. Moi was the founder and patron of major schools in Kenya which include Moi Educational Centre, Kabarak High School and Sunshine Secondary Schools, Kamangu Girls among others.
On 4 February 2020, Daniel Arap Moi was pronounced dead at the Nairobi Hospital on Monday night. He had been in and out of the hospital in the past years. His passing was announced on Tuesday morning by President Uhuru Kenyatta who has sent his condolences to the family. Moi was to turn 96 in September.
D. K GITAU
KENYAN PARENTS IN USA
DIASPORA NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
BOARD MEMBER CODU