Daniel Toroitich arap Moi Biography and Profile

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Daniel arap Moi Early Life

Daniel arap Moi (Daniel Toroitich arap Moi), born on 2 September 1924 into a farming family. He was from a small and relatively marginal community: the Tugen, a sub-group of the Kalenjin. He was chosen by his uncle, a local chief, to attend the Christian Africa Inland Mission school in 1934. This turned him into a staunch lifelong follower of the Evangelical church. Daniel arap Moi was a close ally of Kenyatta in the run-up to Kenyan independence in 1963. Moi, a school teacher-turned-politician, served as home affairs minister before being appointed vice president in 1967. He served as home affairs minister from 1964 and in 1967 he became the country’s vice-president. After assuming the presidency in 1978, he soon dominated not only politics, but all aspects of Kenyan life.

Until the introduction of multi-party politics, Mr Moi was elected unopposed as president in 1983 and 1988. He survived a coup attempt in 1982, which led to a brutal crackdown on his opponents. He also scrapped the entire air force, whose members had taken part in the foiled coup. The 95-year-old was loved and loathed in equal measure; his supporters will mourn him as a patriot and a consummate politician who they fondly nicknamed “professor of politics”, but others will choose to remember him as a brutal dictator.

Moi was a retail politician, who sought support by doling out favors to supporters. Moi had acquiesced to international pressure and begun to loosen his grip, allowing multiparty elections. Even so, the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) often ran unopposed and when challenged, was able to manipulate a disorganized opposition. Election violence and vote rigging were common. Defenders of Mr Moi will point to his often-repeated line that he kept Kenya “safe and peaceful”, noting that while several African countries were imploding into civil war the country remained stable. Whichever version is favoured, the legacy of one of the last surviving independence leaders lives on as many of today’s top politicians, including President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, were protégés of the second president. Kenya has changed a lot since Mr Moi left office but his influence can still be felt.

Despite his intolerance of dissent, he long remained popular.

Daniel arap Moi Biography and Profile

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, born 2 September 1924. Moi, was a former schoolteacher. After school, Moi opted to go to a teacher training college. This seemed to ossify his religiosity and the importance he attached to discipline and order, which would characterise his regime. Through his role as a teacher and then head teacher, together with his regular church attendance and position on various boards and committees, Moi quickly developed a reputation with colonial officials for hard work and sobriety, and thus as a potential “moderate” African leader.

Moi was selected by British officials to attend a special civics course in 1953. This was at a time when opposition to colonial rule had reached new heights. Two years later he became one of eight Africans nominated to be a member of the colonial government’s legislative council.

Who was Daniel Toroitich arap Moi?

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, a Kenyan politician and second President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002, became Kenya’s longest-serving president. He became president as a result of the death of the then president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Moi came to power in 1978, when he was serving as vice-president and the nation’s first leader President Jomo Kenyatta died. He remained in power until the end of 2002 when his constitutional term ran out. Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Jomo Kenyatta, was Moi’s preferred successor but lost the election to the opposition. Uhuru Kenyatta became president in 2013. Moi is credited for keeping Kenya relatively stable compared with its troubled neighbors, and he worked for peace in the region.

Daniel arap Moi’s Corruption Scandals

Daniel arap Moi oversaw massive corruption scandals that are still costing Kenyan taxpayers. One scandal, Goldenberg, led to the loss of at least $1 billion in central bank money via compensation payments for bogus gold and diamond exports. The economy stagnated under Moi, leaving millions mired in poverty. Diplomats said an attempted coup in 1982 transformed Moi from a cautious, insecure leader into a tough autocrat.

Moi rewrote the constitution to legalize de facto one-party rule, which secured power for his Kenya African National Union (KANU) until 1991, when Moi caved in to international pressure to reintroduce multi-party politics. His government set up interrogation chambers in the basement of Nyayo House, a government building in central Nairobi that now houses the immigration department. Thousands of activists, students and academics were held without charge in the underground cells, some of them partly filled with water. Prisoners say they were sometimes denied food and water and beaten to confess fictitious crimes or just for revenge.

“There remains the legacy of disappearances and unexplained deaths, detention without trial, repression of freedom of expression and the media,” said human rights lawyer Gitobu Imanyara, who was held in solitary confinement for two years.

“I never knew if I was going to make it out alive – I still carry scars. Some people were not as lucky as I am. They died. These are the people we need to remember.”

Moi barely survived demands for his resignation over the 1990 murder of Foreign Minister Robert Ouko, an important Luo leader. In 2010, a government inquiry into the death, presented to parliament five years after it was written, said the murder was carried out in one of Moi’s official residences.

Daniel arap Moi Education

Tambach Teachers College, Kenyatta University, Main Campus, Kapsabet High School

Daniel arap Moi Political Career

Despite being called a dictator by critics, Moi enjoyed strong support from many Kenyans and was seen as a uniting figure when he took power after founding President Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978. Some allies of the ailing Kenyatta, however, tried to change the constitution to prevent Moi, then the vice president, from automatically taking power upon Kenyatta’s death.

Daniel arap Moi had the ability at key historical junctures – notably at independence and with the return to multi-party politics in the early 1990s – to articulate the grievances of his fellow Kalenjin. These included widespread fears of political marginalisation and historical narratives of injustice with regard to land, which also appealed to a number of other communities.

In addition, Daniel arap Moi’s financial generosity to local fundraisers, frequent tours of the countryside, and excellent memory for names and faces kept him popular with many across the country.

Then there was his political acumen, which included an ability to build cross-ethnic alliances.

From the beginning, Moi—later nicknamed the “professor of politics”—showed great insight when, on joining the ruling party in 1964, he became a loyal ally of the then president, Jomo Kenyatta. This loyalty, together with his position as the preeminent Kalenjin politician, goes a long way to explain Kenyatta’s decision to appoint Moi as his vice-president in 1967. He wasn’t seen as a threatening figure and this helped him rise to the presidency on Kenyatta’s death.

We must also recognise Moi’s ability, often through the strategic use of patronage and sanctions, to preempt and undermine his opponents. He had the tendency to act decisively and ruthlessly against former allies and later reconcile with former foes. This gave Moi great political flexibility and enabled him to enter new alliances and to rehabilitate, recycle, or swap allies.

This dynamism helped him to keep ahead of opponents and limited the entrenchment of potential rivals in the short term. But in the longer term his direct intervention in elections and repression of dissent led a growing number of popular politicians to form new alliances with church leaders and civil society activists to call for his removal.

This group was first successful in their push for multi-party politics in the early 1990s. Then on Moi’s retirement in 2002, they secured victory – through the broad-based alliance that was the National Rainbow Coalition – over his chosen successor (and Jomo Kenyatta’s son and current president), Uhuru Kenyatta.

Daniel arap Moi Fled Rift Valley

Wary of any threat during that uncertain period, Moi fled his Rift Valley home when he heard of Kenyatta’s death, returning only after receiving assurances of his safety.

“Nobody thought he was going to last long in power. He became president to fill in a gap,” Lydia Muthuma, a historian at Technical University of Kenya, said

“But after an attempted coup in 1981, we saw Moi’s true colours. He made sure we understood who was in charge. The news bulletins always started with what he did on the day. He was not a tolerant leader,” she added.

Moi’s Constitutional Amendment

In 1982, Moi’s government pushed a constitutional amendment through Parliament that made Kenya effectively a one-party state. Later that year, the army quelled a coup attempt plotted by opposition members and some air force officers. At least 159 people were killed.

Moi’s government then became more heavy-handed in dealing with dissent, according to a report by the government’s Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission that assessed his rule. Political activists and others who dared oppose Moi’s rule were routinely detained and tortured, the report said, noting unlawful detentions and assassinations, including the killing of a foreign affairs minister, Robert Ouko.

“The judiciary became an accomplice in the perpetuation of violations, while parliament was transformed into a puppet controlled by the heavy hand of the executive,” the report said.

Corruption, especially the illegal allocation of land, became institutionalised, the report said, while economic power was centralized in the hands of a few.

Daniel arap Moi Faced International Pressure

However, by the early 1990s, Moi had acquiesced to international pressure and begun to loosen his grip, allowing multiparty elections. Even so, the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) often ran unopposed and when challenged, was able to manipulate a disorganized opposition. Election violence and vote rigging were common.

Recipient of Western aid

Although a leading recipient of Western aid, Kenya under Moi fell ever-deeper into economic stagnation, with low or negative growth and periods of steep inflation. As corruption progressively ate away at Kenya’s economy, Moi sought to use the West – and even Asia — as a scapegoat for the country’s troubles.

Daniel arap Moi Agreed to Step Down

By 2002, an aging Moi agreed to step down ahead of elections. By the time Moi left power in 2002, corruption had left Kenya’s economy, the most developed in East Africa, with negative growth. Kenyans later voted for a new constitution that was implemented in 2010. Moi often blamed the West for bad publicity and the economic hardships many Kenyans had to endure during his rule.

In his last speech as president, he reiterated one of his frequent themes, warning against ethnic conflict, which he called “a cancer that has destroyed many nations in Africa.”

As with his predecessor, Kenyatta, many government projects, buildings and currency notes and coins were named after Moi.

Daniel arap Moi enjoyed strong support from many Kenyans

Daniel arap Moi enjoyed strong support from many Kenyans and was seen as a uniting figure when he took power after founding president Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978. Some allies of the ailing Kenyatta, however, tried to change the constitution to prevent Moi, then the vice president, from automatically taking power upon Kenyatta’s death.

Daniel arap Moi Quick Facts

  • Born on September 2nd 1924 in Baringo County, Moi became the oldest living former Kenyan president, and his wily grasp of power earned him the nickname “Professor of Politics” amongst Kenyans.
  • His 24 years in power encompassed one party rule through the Kenyan African National Union, the party he controlled, and finally the reintroduction of democracy and multiparty politics, which culminated in his victory in the 1992 Presidential elections.
  • Educated at missionary and government schools, Moi became a teacher, as Kenya was moving towards independence from British rule.
  • He became the Minister of Home Affairs and President Jomo Kenyatta later named him Vice President in 1967.
  • He went further to change the constitution and made his KANU party the only legally permitted political entity, triggering the wrath of many Kenyans who sought democracy.
  • Pressure from Western backers forced Moi back onto the democratic path in 1990 and he was compelled to allow opposition parties on to the ballot before the 1992 general elections, Kenya’s first multi-party elections, which Moi won, despite allegations of electoral fraud by his party.
  • Moi’s Kenya was firmly on the geopolitical map, particularly after jihadist terrorists blew up the US Embassy in Nairobi and the West sought to coopt him in the fight against terrorism when Bill Clinton was in the White House.
  • As a statesman Moi had widespread influence in cementing East African countries like Uganda, Tanzania into a coherent trading block. On the 14th of March 1996, full East African Cooperation efforts began and in July 1999 the new East African Community was born.
  • He also rallied to the cause of anti-apartheid in Southern Africa, sending Kenyan soldiers into pre-independence Zimbabwe as peacekeepers during the ceasefire there in 1979.
  • While he was the Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity, Moi was involved in securing peace in Chad. In Sudan, Moi chaired the talks that led to a referendum which ended a three-decade war in South Sudan and the creation of a new nation on the 9th of July 2011.
  • With 24 years at the helm of Kenya’s government, Moi had a massive impact in shaping Kenya’s politics and governmental structures. Subsequent presidents, Kibaki and Kenyatta, can be said to have been appointed by the elder statesman.
  • As a former teacher, Moi’s legacy also included a wide expansion of higher education. It was during the Moi era that the university sector grew starting with the opening of Kenya’s second university in Eldoret, a town in the north. A clutch of new universities were soon opening up, including private educational institutions run by Methodists. Today Kenya has more than 60 universities and public university colleges.

Daniel arap Moi Legacy

Daniel arap Moi, the President of Kenya, was one of Africa’s longest-serving and most controversial leaders. He ruled the East African nation since the death of Jomo Kenyatta, the first President, in 1978 and survived a coup attempt, tribal unrest and economic upheaval. In a country dominated by tribalism, he managed to gather sufficient support from all areas not only to maintain power but also to preserve Kenya as one nation.

Moi is widely held responsible for a regime that bore witness to, and benefited from, violence, corruption and discrimination. Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission found that between 1978 and 2002, Moi’s government was responsible for numerous gross human rights violations. These included massacres, unlawful detentions and torture.

Daniel Arap Moi’s life touched many Kenyans during a mixed and controversial 24 years – the longest rule of any leader in this powerhouse of East Africa. Despite being called a dictator by critics, Moi enjoyed strong support from many Kenyans and was seen as a uniting figure when he took power after founding President Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978.

What People Said About Daniel arap Moi

Musalia Mudavadi, who was Moi’s deputy, said that the long-time leader’s legacy should be his peaceful transfer of power. “To me, that is a tribute that we must never forget,” Mudavadi said.

“Some people say he started off well in his presidency. He kept the country relatively stable when neighbouring countries were in conflict. He was very passionate about education and built many schools. He was also passionate about the environment and oversaw many tree-planting projects. Other people will say all that was overshadowed by his reign of terror, detention of political opponents. Several of them died during his time in office.” – Catherine Soi reporting from Kakamega in western Kenya.

Despite their differences Reverend Timothy Njoya says, “Moi is the best President that ever lived. Even if we had fought and died for multiparty democracy, he was the one who declared it. We were the ones who wanted a new constitution and he was the one who declared it. Admission to a mistake is the greatest thing in humanity. Future leaders can learn to admit when they are wrong.”

“Daniel Toroitich arap Moi ran a good race, kept the faith, and now he is enjoying his reward in heaven,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

Daniel arap Moi’s Death

Daniel arap Moi (Daniel Toroitich arap Moi) died peacefully in hospital on Tuesday, 4 February, 2020, at 5.20 a.m. (0220 GMT), surrounded by his family, said his son Gideon Moi, a senator. Moi had been in hospital for more than a month. His death was announced by current President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the country’s founding father and first president, Jomo Kenyatta, whose death in office in 1978 paved the way for Moi’s rise.

“Our nation and our continent were immensely blessed by the dedication and service of the late … Moi, who spent almost his entire adult life serving Kenya and Africa,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.

Kenyatta announced that flags would be flown at half staff until Moi’s funeral.

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi Family

President Moi married Helena (Lena) Bommet in 1950 and they were blessed with 8 children; 3 daughters and five sons, (Jennifer, Doris and adopted daughter June; Jonathan, Raymond, John
Mark, Philip and Gideon).

Daniel arap Moi’s Ivory Walking Stick

Daniel arap Moi’s ubiquitous ivory walking stick became a symbol of his one-man rule.

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi Biography and Profile
Daniel Toroitich arap Moie, Kenyan Politician, Kenyan Second President of Kenya, Holding His Daniel arap Moi’s Ivory Walking Stick

Daniel Toroitich arap Moi Biography and Profile

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