Kenya’s former president has died at the age of 95. Mr. Moi died from Nairobi Hospital early on Tuesday. His death was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying the nation had lost a “great man”.
Moi was president of Kenya between 1978 and 2002 in a 24-year tenure and becoming Kenya’s longest-serving president.
Following his retirement, Moi became a divisive figure with his critics seeing him as an authoritarian ruler who oversaw rampant corruption and abuse of human rights whereas his allies praised him for maintaining stability in the country.
In 2004,following several reports about too much corruption and abuse of power by his government, Moi apologized and asked for forgiveness from “those he had wronged”.
Mr. Moi ruled over a one-party state between 1978 and 1991 before he was forced to adopt a multi-party system of government following increasing protests and pressure from Western powers. During his presidential tenure, Moi won two subsequent elections that were marred by rigging while on three occasions he was unopposed.
In 2002, Moi was constitutionally not allowed to stand for re-election and he agreed to step down and allow a peaceful transfer of power to Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s third president in history.
He was popular among Kenyans before his legacy was tarnished economic stagnation, corruption and human rights abuse.
Daniel Arap Moi was born on 2 September 1924 in a local farming family in western Kenya. During the struggle for Kenya’s independence, Moi became a close ally of Kenyatta who became the first Kenyan President after independence in 1963.
Mr. Moi was appointed minister of family affairs in 1964 and in 1967 he became vice president.
In 1982, Mr. Moi survived a coup that had been staged by the low-ranking air force officials whom he subsequently arrested and had them imprisoned and others executed.
His reign as Kenya’s president is viewed by his critics as lost years that were dominated by massive corruption, ethnic conflicts and human rights abuse. They accuse of economic stagnation, personalizing the state, using government resources for his own interests. He as accused of promoting political patronage that has become part of kenya’s politics by rewarding gifts like roads and factories to only those communities whose politicians belonged to his ruling party KANU.
However, Mr. Moi’s allies defend him by stressing that he kept Kenya peaceful at a time when many of African countries were suffering from political instabilities.