PreviousNext

Daniel arap Moi

By // Kenya Heads Of State | Daniel arap Moi
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi (born 2 September 1924) is a Kenyan politician who was the President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002. Previously, under President Jomo Kenyatta, he was Vice-President from 1967 to 1978; he succeeded Kenyatta as President upon the latter's death.

Daniel arap Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as "Nyayo", a Swahili word for "footsteps", as he was said to be following the footsteps of the first Kenyan President, Jomo Kenyatta.

Early life and entry into politics

Moi was born in Kurieng'wo village, Sacho division, Baringo District, Rift Valley Province, and was raised by his mother Kimoi Chebii following the early death of his father. He is of the Kalenjin people. After completing his secondary education, he attended Tambach Teachers 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. In 1960 he founded the Kenya African 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.

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.

Vice-presidency

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. The only real challenge to KANU's dominance came from the Kenya People's Union, starting in 1966. That party was banned in 1969, and from that point onward Kenya was a de facto single-party state. Kĩkũyũ-Luo alliance. However, with an eye on the fertile lands of the rift valley populated by members of Moi's Kalenjin tribe, Kenyatta secured their support by first promoting Moi to Minister for Home Affairs in 1964, and then to vice-president in 1967. As a member of a minority tribe Moi was also an acceptable compromise for the major tribes. Moi was elected to the Kenyan parliament in 1963 from Baringo North. Since 1966 until his retirement in 2002 he served as the Baringo Central MP and only served as a vice-president until 1978 when he became the president.

However, Moi faced opposition from the Kikuyu elite known as the Kiambu Mafia, who would have preferred one of their own to be eligible for the presidency. This resulted in an infamous attempt by the constitutional drafting group to change the constitution to prevent the vice-president automatically assuming power in the event of the president's death. The presence of this succession mechanism may have led to dangerous political instability if Kenyatta died, given his advanced age and perennial illnesses. However, Kenyatta withstood the political pressure and safeguarded Moi's position.

Presidency

When Jomo Kenyatta died on 22 August 1978, Moi succeeded him. He 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, fate played into Moi's hands when forces loyal to his government defeated an attempted coup d'état by Air Force officers led by Hezekiah Ochuka (see 1982 Kenyan coup d'état attempt). 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 establish a de jure single-party state. However, the country had effectively been a one-party state since 1969. The amendments effectively gave Moi complete political control over the country.

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 being well governed with Moi as a legitimate leader and firmly in charge. The increasing amount of political repression, including the use of torture, at the infamous Nyayo House torture chambers had been deliberately overlooked. Some of the evidence of these torture cells were to be later exposed in 2003 after Mwai Kibaki became President.

However, a new thinking emerged after the end of the Cold War, and as Moi became increasingly 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. Moi managed to accomplish this against fierce opposition, single handedly convincing the delegates at the KANU conference at Kasarani in December, 1991.

Moi won elections in 1992 and 1997, which were marred by political violence on both sides. Moi skillfully exploited Kenya's mix of ethnic tensions in these contests, with the ever present fear of the smaller tribes being dominated 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.

Criticism and corruption allegations

See also: Corruption in Kenya and Goldenberg scandal

In 1999 the findings of NGOs like Amnesty International and a special investigation by the United Nations were published which indicated that human rights abuses were prevalent in Kenya under the Moi regime.

Reporting on corruption and human rights abuses by British reporter Mary Anne Fitzgerald from 1987–1988 resulted only 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 subsidized 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 member of Parliament), and his daughter June, as well as a host of high-ranking Kenyans, have been implicated. In bombshell 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 monopoly of duty free shops at the country's international airport in Mombasa and Nairobi. The businessman Ali Nasir claimed to have paid Moi 2 million US$ in cash to obtain government approval for the World Duty Free Limited investment in Kenya.

On 31 August 2007, the Guardian published a secret report that laid bare a web of shell companies, secret trusts and frontmen that his entourage used to funnel hundreds of millions of pounds into nearly 30 countries.

Stepping down and retirement

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. 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 quickly 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 November 2005 constitutional referendum, Kibaki called 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 December 2007 election. On 28 August 2007, Moi announced his support for Kibaki's re-election and said that he would campaign for Kibaki. He sharply criticized the two opposition Orange Democratic Movement factions, arguing that they were tribal in nature.

Moi owns the Kiptagich Tea Factory, which was 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 Forest evictions.

Personal life

Daniel arap Moi married Lena Moi (born Helena Bommet) in 1950, but they separated in 1974, before his presidency. Thus "Mama Ngina", the wife of Jomo Kenyatta, retained her first lady status. Lena died in 2004. Daniel arap Moi has eight children, five sons and three daughters. Among the children are Gideon Moi (a former MP), Jonathan Toroitich (a former rally driver) and Philip Moi (a retired army officer).[14][15][dead link] His older and only brother William Tuitoek died in 1995.

Tagged : Daniel arap Moi, Heads of State, Kenya Heads of State, Heads of State in Kenya

Headlines Newsview all

American Time Use Survey produced by Retale shows a third watch TV at 8pm 

Watching TV is still the favored leisure activity of most AmericansAverage American still works between 8am and 5pm, and goes to bed before midnightGraphic produced ...

'The Dawn of Libya' Islamist militia storms US embassy compound in Tripoli

Footage reportedly taken inside the compound shows men gathered around the embassy swimming pool, with some even jumping inAn official claims the compound is being ...

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show extreme close ups of plaque, incisors and decay

By Lucy Crossley for MailOnline Published: 15:18 GMT, 31 August 2014 | Updated: 15:50 GMT, 31 August 2014 ...

Burning Man revelers pack up and go home after festival's spectacular conclusion

Week-long festival in the Nevada desert comes to an end as effigy is set alight Revelers head home amid reports trendy Mission district of San Francisco ...

Queen Elizabeth II goes for a ride near her Balmoral estate

Surprised tourist films the Queen leaving her Scottish estate on horsebackShe exits Balmoral gates alongside a groom on her daily morning rideCan be seen wearing ...

Mother claims daughter was repeatedly kicked in the face by other children in school as teachers deny any children were involved in injuries

AvaLynn suffered severe bruising and swelling after an alleged beating at kindergartenThe five-year-old's mother, Lacey Harris, has begun a social media campaign Police have said ...

Gym teacher at top New York Catholic school 'had affairs with her male students for years'

Megan Mahoney, 25, is alleged to have had at least one affair with teen student at Moore Catholic High SchoolAthletic director Richard Postiglione is accused ...

Australian anti-whaling activist arrested in Faro with Denmark accused of assisting slaughter

Australian woman Krystal Keynes has been arrested in the Faroe Islands14 anti-whale activists were arrested, reportedly by Danish & Faroese policeThe group unsuccessfully tried to ...

Paris suburb explosion destroys four-story building leaves at least two dead and many missing

Child, eight, and woman, 80, killed as blast causes building to collapseBlast in Rosny-sous-Bois thought to have been caused by gas leakFive children are ...

Calls to lower abortion limit as record number of babies survive birth at 23 weeks 

 At least 120 babies born in week 23 survived in the last four years That is the last week when abortions on demand are legal Real ...

Mexico'sLeandra Becerra Lumbreras becomes oldest person who ever lived at 127

Leandra Becerra Lumbreras, of Zapopan, was born on August 31, 1887Her secret to long life is eating well, sleeping and never getting marriedMother-of-five had 20 ...

Kenya Top Stories

Brighton Police race to recover body spotted on beach before tide comes back in

Officers called at 9.25am to reports of discovery on beach in SussexBody and police tape were both taken away before high tide at 2pmBy Mark Duell ...

David Cameron is preparing to set out new counter-terrorism measures that Lib Dems denounce

David Cameron is preparing to set out new counter-terrorism measuresDefence Secretary Michael Fallon says the country faces 'very real threat'Warnings that UK's defences against jihadis ...

How middle-aged mother Sally Jones from Chatham may have 'reinvented herself as a jihadi'

 Muslim convert who went to Syria may be Sally Jones from Chatham It is believed she could be going by the name Umm Hussain al-Britani Umm Hussain ...

John Bercow to face MPs amid row over his choice of 'inexperienced' Clerk of the House

Commons Speaker will make statement in the chamber tomorrowSelected Australian Carol Mills, head of the Department of Parliamentary Services in CanberraMPs have voiced concerns over ...

Yellowstone 'super eruption' would cover the country in ash

An eruption of the millions of tons of molten rock under Yellowstone would dump three feet of ash on Montana, inches on the Midwest and ...

Amanda Goff aka Samantha X defends decision to go public about double life

Samantha X has been named as Sydney-based mother Amanda GoffMs Goff defended her decision that could potentially expose her two children to bullying She said ...

Pet owner did DIY surgery on dog - then bragged about it on Facebook

Unemployed David Duckworth, 23, banned from keeping dogs for 10 yearsGave his pet dog 15 stitches in her chest, and left another with open ...

Paul 'Gazza' Gascoigne tells of his latest alcohol torment 

Paul Gascoigne says he started drinking after seven months of sobriety Blamed latest relapse on being served with eviction notice from his flat But says he knew ...

British grandparents' grief over Down's syndrome twin who was given up for adoption

Couple tell of grief after grandchild born with Down's syndrome is separated from her twinBaby was handed over to social services for adoption when just ...

Nairobi's Outer Ring Road to Become Dual Lane Highway

One of Nairobi’s remaining traffic bottlenecks, the Outer Ring Road, which allows to bypass the city centre and connect traffic coming from Central Kenya to ...

TOP STORIES EXTRA

Masinde Muliro

Masinde Muliro (1922 - August 14, 1992) was a Kenyan politician, one of the central figures in the shaping of the political landscape in Kenya.
Masinde Muliro

Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya

Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya (August 15, 1930 – July 5, 1969) was a prominent Kenyan politician during Jomo Kenyatta's government. He was founder of the
Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya

Paul Joseph Ngei

The Honourable Paul Joseph Ngei (18 October 1923 - 15 August 2004) was a Kenyan politician who was imprisoned for his role in the anti-colonial
Paul Joseph Ngei

Ramogi Achieng Oneko

Ramogi Achieng Oneko (1920–2007) was a Kenyan freedom fighter and a politician. In Kenya, he is considered as a national hero.He was born in Tieng'a
Ramogi Achieng Oneko

Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga

Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga (c. 1911 – January 20, 1994) was a Luo Chief, who became a prominent figure in Kenya's struggle for independence. He
Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga

Josiah Mwangi Kariuki

Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (March 21, 1929–March 2, 1975) was a Kenyan socialist politician during the administration of the Jomo Kenyatta government. He held different government
Josiah Mwangi Kariuki

Waruhiu Itote

Waruhiu Itote (General China) (b. 1922; d. 30 April 1993) was one of the key leaders of the Mau Mau rebellion alongside Dedan Kimathi and
Waruhiu Itote

Musa Mwariama

Field Marshal Musa Mwariama (born 1928) is a former leader of the Mau Mau in Meru and the highest ranking Mau Mau who survived the
Musa Mwariama