Kenya’s longest serving President Daniel Arap Moi dies at 95

Daniel Arap Toroitich Moi
Daniel Arap Toroitich Moi

Nairobi, Kenya — Former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, who ruled the country for 24 years, has died, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Tuesday. Moi was 95.”It is with profound sadness that I announce the death of a great man of an African state,” Kenyatta said in a statement.

He ordered a period of national mourning and all flags to fly at half-staff until a state funeral is held at a later date.

Moi died at a hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning surrounded by his family, Kenyatta said. 

He had been hospitalized in October for breathing problems but was discharged after a few weeks. 

An autocratic rule

Moi was born September 2, 1924, in Baringo County. He became Kenya’s second president after independence and went on to rule from 1978 to 2002. 

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 also 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. Moi became Kenya’s leader after Jomo Kenyatta’s death in 1978, bringing in an era of autocratic and at times dictatorial rule that made Moi and his family extremely wealthy. After he stepped down, Kenya located more than $1 billion of public money stashed in overseas offshore accounts, which it sought to recover, the New York Times reported.

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Former Kenya President Daniel Arap Moi is dead. This has been announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a presidential proclamation. The late Moi was 95 years old. His death was confirmed by his press secretary Lee Njiru. He passed on this morning at 5.20am.

“It is with profound sadness and sorrow that I announce the passing of a Great African Statesman, H.E. Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, the Second President of the Republic of Kenya. His Excellency the Former President passed on at the Nairobi Hospital on the early morning of this 4th February, 2020; in the presence of his family,” president Kenyatta said in a statement.

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