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

Pakistani mob kill woman and 2 granddaughters over 'blasphemous' Facebook comment

Rioting erupted in city of Gujranwala following 'blasphemy' claims, police sayThe dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves ...

Mum waiting for diagnosis of a mystery illness for past eight years

Doctors have told Corra Connell that they have no answers for herIt started prior to her pregnancy eight years ago when she began getting high ...

'Used to be roads, now rivers of hail': Storm described as 'zombie apocalypse' brings chaos to morning rush hour in British cities with thunderstorms and flash flooding

Lightning, hail and flash flooding hits parts of Britain this morning, causing traffic chaos and public transport disarrayHail storm hits Brighton with stones reported to ...

Boko Haram kidnaps wife of Cameroon vice prime minister... and now even the Nigerian Association of Witches and Wizards declares war against the terror group

The kidnapping took place early yesterday morning in the town of KolofataHeavily armed fighters targeted home of vice prime minister Amadou Ali Kidnapped his wife ...

Airline passengers kick up a stink on Delta flight from Beijing to Detroit after Chinese family let toddler DEFECATE on his seat

Incident occurred on Delta Airlines flight when family laid newspaper on seat Passengers watched in horror as he crouched down and passed motionParents refused to ...

Berkeley graduate discovered he had a degree in 'cummunications' years after diploma typo

Alex Harris's wife spotted error while packing up during a house moveFirst vowel in the word 'communications' was a 'U' rather than an 'O'Mr Harris: ...

Qantas will continue to fly over Iraq

Emirates will stop flying over Iraq and re-route planes to other flight pathsQantas has confirmed it will not be altering its routes over the countryEmirates ...

Politicians demand apology from Germany's biggest-selling newspaper for editorial comment piece criticising Islam and accusing it of 'murderous contempt for women and homosexuals'

Nicolaus Fest was criticised for comment piece in Bild newspaperPiece accused Islam of 'a murderous contempt for women and homosexuals'Newspaper has responded to criticism after ...

Parents arrested after three-year-old girl is locked alone inside 104 degree car for 20 minutes in shopping mall car park

Couple allegedly left daughter inside minivan while they shoppedWorried member of the public spotted the girl and called the policeThey were able to instruct her ...

WW2 veteran facing 88th birthday alone has celebration to remember as he is overwhelmed with hundreds of cards and emails after grandson launches appeal

Gene Moore, 88, had recently moved to a retirement home His wife was concerned it would mean him having a miserable birthdaySo grandson Jon, 24, ...

Police rescue baby from hot car after mother left child inside to go shopping

Shocked onlookers rang the police as the small child was left in the carTemperatures spiked at 25C when police arrived at the scene Officers used their ...

Kenya Top Stories

Woman's dive goes wrong after being knocked off diving board

Woman climbs to the top of a seven metre diving board with a friend Tries to back out of the jump at the last minute, ...

Too poor to go bust: How 300,000 people cannot afford £525 fee to declare themselves bankrupt

Centre for Social Justice calls for community banks to help the poorestWarns debt 'rips into families and traps people on the edges of our societyYoung ...

Jeremy Clarkson's 'slope on the bridge' comment during Burma Top Gear special WAS racist, Ofcom rules

Regulator decided the comment, which was aired in March was racistTwo viewers complained they found the use of the term 'slope' offensiveOfcom say it was ...

Kittens saved by passer-by after she found them dumped on Birmingham road

Caroline Alexander, 33, found the kittens outside her home in BirminghamThey were in bag and dehydrated, underweight and infested with fleasShe took them to a ...

Champneys spa general manager at centre of fraud probe after £10k in cash goes missing

Lee Jones appeared on an ITV documentary about the luxury spa in TringThe 'charismatic' general manager was a hit with staff in ChampneysHe vanished after ...

Letters written by today's schoolchildren to the Unknown Soldier of World War One

Thousands of children write deeply personal letters to an Unknown Soldier Project is inspired by statue of solider reading a letter at Paddington StationYoungsters reflect on ...

Chantelle Newbery refuses to say who owned drugs kit found in police raid

Chantelle Newbery revealed that drug paraphernalia found in her home did not belong to herThe mum-of-two pleaded guilty to the drug charges earlier this monthAvoided ...

PHOTOs!! VERA SIDIKA’s small B@@TY before enlargement

[unable to retrieve full-text content] ...

Teacher and father of 2 Andrew Douglas downloaded 700 child abuse images

Andrew Douglas was sentenced to 12 months jail, suspended for two yearsA judge said his offending would 'send a shudder down the backs' of parentsThe ...

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