Former President of
the Republic of Kenya, Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi has died. Moi was born on 2 September 1924 and was the second President
of Kenya from 1978 to 2002. He was Vice President from 1967 to 1978. He became
president after the death of the founding president Jomo Kenyatta.
Moi introduced multiparty elections in 1991 following
massive grassroots protests and external pressures. He, however, led his party,
the Kenya African National Union (KANU) to victory in the 1992 and 1997
Moi was popularly known to Kenyans as Nyayo, a Swahili word
for “footsteps”, as he often said he was following in the footsteps
of Founding President Jomo Kenyatta. He was also nicknamed “Professor of
Politics” due to his long rule of 24 years. At the age of 95, he was the
oldest living former Kenyan president at the time of his death.
Moi was born in Kabarak village, Baringo County, and was
raised by his paternal uncle following the early death of his father. After
completing his education at Kapsabet High School, he attended Tambach Teachers
Training College in the Keiyo District and worked as a teacher from 1946 until
In 1955 and 1957 Moi was 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 African Democratic Union (KADU)
to challenge KANU led by Jomo Kenyatta. KADU pressed for a federal
constitution, while KANU was in favour of centralism.
After Kenya gained independence on 12 December 1963,
Kenyatta convinced Moi that KADU and KANU should be merged to complete the
process of decolonisation. Accordingly, KADU dissolved and joined KANU in 1964.
Moi became Minister for Home Affairs in 1964, and Vice-President in 1967.
When Jomo Kenyatta died on 22 August 1978, Moi became acting
president. He was declared President of Kenya in September 1978.
On 1 August 1982, lower-level Air Force personnel, led by
Senior Private Grade-I Hezekiah Ochuka and backed by university students,
attempted a coup d’état to oust Moi. The attempted coup was quickly suppressed
by military and police forces. Moi took the opportunity to dismiss political
opponents and consolidate his power.
In 1999 the Amnesty International and a special
investigation by the United Nations reports were published which indicated that
human rights abuses were prevalent in Kenya under the Moi regime.
Moi was constitutionally barred from running in the 2002
presidential elections. He retired and chose Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s
first President, as his successor. However, former Vice President Mwai Kibaki
was elected President by a two to one majority over Kenyatta, which was
confirmed on 29 December 2002. Kibaki was then a wheelchair user, having
narrowly escaped death in a road traffic accident on the campaign trail. Uhuru Kenyatta
went on to become President after the Mwai Kibaki presidency. Moi’s passing was
announced on Tuesday 4 February 2020 morning by President Uhuru Kenyatta.