Former and longest serving president of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi dies at 95

FORMER president of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi, has passed on at the age of 95. It was gathered that the autocratic leader who governed Kenya from 1978 till 2002, died at Nairobi Hospital located in the capital.

The cause of death is yet to be disclosed but reports revealed that the nonagenarian was hospitalised for a month, with his last days burdened with breathing problems, the Guardian reported.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered that flags be flown at half-mast until the day for state funeral, and declared a national mourning period in his honour.

In his statement, Kenyatta, described Moi as a servant leader who committed his life to serving Kenya and Africa.

“Our nation and our continent were immensely blessed by the dedication and service of the Late Mzee Moi; who spent almost his entire adult life serving Kenya and Africa,” the statement read in part.

On Kenyan social media, emotions are divided on the legacy of the former president. While some Kenyan social media users regard him as a man who was full of wisdom and foresight, others condemn the injustice that saw to the forceful arrest and detention of his political opponents while he was in power.

The times of Daniel Arap Moi

Daniel Moi Photo: [Sayyid Azim/ AP]
Moi’s political career began after he served as a teacher for many years, and joined politics in 1955.

His political standing and knowledge deepened as he moved from a legislative council member, the then colonial-era parliament, to the founder of  Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) in 1960.

Under the tutelage of late President Jomo Kenyatta, who made him Minister for Home Affairs in 1964, and then appointed him as vice president in 1967, Moi’s rise to power began in earnest.

Upon Kenyatta’s death in 1978, Moi emerged as the president and continued until a failed coup attempt in 1981. This event launched his dictatorial tendencies and marked the high point of his 24-year reign.

With a desire to implement a different style of leadership by connecting with people, and a goal to build peace where conflict abound, Moi easily captured the hearts of many Kenyans.

However, critics described him as a dictator given his transformation from a meek leader to an autocratic ruler.

In 1982, Moi’s government fought and enabled a constitutional amendment which made the country a one-party state.



    In dealing with opposition and dissent, Moi’s administration became characterized by despotism, according to a report by the government’s Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission that assessed his rule.

    A report of an infamous Nyayo House Torture Chambers also reflected a pattern of human rights abuses perpetrated by Moi’s government.

    Corruption also trailed the legacy of the late president. Investigations and reports alleged that the former president siphoned funds from the Central Bank with bogus, non-existing business deals to the tune of $4 million.

    Till his death Moi was never prosecuted, for his reputation as an elder statesman protected him.

    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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