Daniel Arap Moi Biography: Wealth, Death, Children, Quotes, Age, Family, Book
Daniel Totoitich Arap Moi was the second president of the republic of Kenya. He hailed from the Tugen sub group of the Kalenjin tribe of Kenya. Moi was born on 2nd September, 1924 in Sacho, Baringo county, Kenya to Kimoi Chebii, his father and Kabon Chebii, his mother. His father died when Moi was still so young, prompting his paternal uncle Kimoi Chebii to take the place of his father in raising him. Moi attended Kabarak High school for his secondary education after which he proceeded to Tambach Teachers Training College in Keiyo where he trained as a teacher. After college, he got to practice in his teaching profession from the age of 21 years for 10 years, that is from 1946 to 1955.
It was during this period that Moi met Lena, whose birth name was Helena Bomet. They courted for a while after which they got married in 1950. Their marriage went well until in 1974 when they called it quits. Moi was blessed with 8 children, that is 5 sons and 3 daughters. His children are John Mark Moi, Raymond Moi, June Moi, Doris Moi, Gideon Moi who is a politician, the late Jonathan Toroitich who was a rally driver, Philip Moi who is a retired army officer and Jennifer Jemutai Kositany. Moi’s only brother was William Tuitoek Moi who died in 1955. His ex wife Lena Moi passed on in 2004.
Moi’s first leg into politics was in 1955 when he was elected as a member of the LegCo [Legislative Council] for the Rift Valley. This happened after Dr. John Ole Tameno, who was the former representative, was forced to quit due to his alcohol addiction. Apart from that, Dr. Ole Tameno had suspicions about him going on, linking him to the freedom movement. Therefore, there was need for his replacement and Moi was the perfect fit. After being the representative for 2 years, Moi was re- elected as the Member of the Legislative Council for Rift Valley. It was during this period that he paved his way into the mainland politics since he became the Minister of Education from 1960- 1961. During this time, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had his political party Kenya African National Union [KANU]. Daniel Arap Moi came together with Ronald Ngala and they formed Kenya African Democratic Union [KADU], which was a political party meant to challenge KANU. KANU favoured centralism, which KADU was strongly against since KADU pushed for a federal constitution. KADU was unlucky since their opponent had the numbers, hence the British government’s favour was in KANU’s side.
After Kenya attained its independence in 1963, Jomo Kenyatta tried to convince Moi to merge the 2 political parties, KANU and KADU. Accordign to him, this would help speed up and promote the decolonizatin of the white man. In 1964, Moi dissolved KADU and joined KANU. Kenya People’s Party [KPU] was formed in 1966, challenging KANU’s dominance. However, KPU got banned in 1969. From that point onwards, Kenya became a one party nation, commonly referred to as a de facto one party. It was dominated by the Kikuyu- Luo alliance since at this time, Jomo Kenyatta, who was a Kikuyu was the president of the Republic of Kenya and Oginga Odinga, who was from the Luo community, was the vice president of the Republic of Kenya. Jomo Kenyatta promoted Moi to Minister of Home Affairs in 1964. Shortly afyer, in 1967, Moi was promoted to Vice President, being the 2nd vice president of the republic of Kenya. He served as the Member of Parliament [MP] of Baringo Central from 1966 until his retirement in 2002. He got to serve as a vice president in 1978 when he became the 2nd president of the republic of Kenya after Jomo Kenyatta passed on.
His presidency, though, was not welcomed by clean hands, especially by people from Central Kenya who badly wanted their own to take that seat. The Kikuyu elite Known as the Kiambu Mafia were the ones on his neck. Due to this, the constitutional drafting group attempted to change the constitution so as to prevent the vice president from assuming power in the event of death of president while he was still in power. Lucky for Moi, Jomo Kenyatta was in his side and he safeguarded his position. This was a noble move by Jomo Kenyatta because if he died while there was still that confusion, there could have been political instability in the country during that time. Therefore, when Jomo Kenyatta died on 22md August, 1978, Moi took his seat.
Moi became the president of the Republic of Kenya from 1978 till 2002, being the longest period of time in the history of Kenya for one to be president. He became one of the most influential leaders in Kenya since he was a people’s person and he travelled far and wide to see his people and to talk with them. Mwai Kibaki became the vice President under his leadership, which was anti- communism. On August 1982, Hezekiah Obuka with his team attempted a coup d’e tat to oust Moi which was quickly suppressed by military and police forces. Moi then took the opportunity to consolidate his power, reducing the number of Kenyatta’s people from the Cabinet since most of them had been identified as traitors. They were pardoned but that happened after Moi called them as traitors before the public. The main conspirators of the coup, however, were sentenced to death. This included Ochuka. This sentence marked the last judicial executions in Kenya. After that, Moi had complete political control over the country. Moi won elections in 1992 and 1997. In 1999, there were allegations on criticism and corruption during Moi’s era after the NGOs like Amnesty International and the investigation by the UN showed that there were human rights abuses in Kenya during the Moi era. Moi was also in the Goldenberg scandal in the 1990s. Moi was constitutionally bared from running in the 2002 presidential elections, where he chose to retire from politics.
During his time, he was commonly known for ‘Maziwa ya nyayo’, his slogan harambee- nyayo and his name Mzee Nyayo. Nyayo was his slogan which meant footsteps, meaning he was walking in the footsteps of his predecessor, Jomo Kenyatta. There have been many places that have been named after him including schools, streets and even airports.
Moi Toroitich Arap Moi died on 4th February, 2020 at Nairobi Hospital where he had been frequesting after he developed health complications. Moi died at the age of 95.
Meet Moi’s children set to inherit his vast empire
What happens next in the family of former President Daniel arap Moi will reveal whether his vast empire worth billions of shillings will remain intact or crumble like those of former strongmen who left power without a clear succession plan.
Close allies of the former president told the Sunday Nation that he maintained a tight grip on his vast estate even as he was ailing.
“We would look for him to sign bank cheques even when he was admitted at Nairobi Hospital,” a lawyer who worked with the Mois confided in the Sunday Nation.
Since he left power in 2002, his son Gideon, the Baringo Senator, has slowly emerged as the heir apparent of Moi’s political and economic fortune.
However, Moi’s death has also strongly brought to the fore his other son Raymond, the MP for Rongai in Nakuru County, who has appeared to be the spokesperson of the family.
Insiders say that Raymond also enjoys the favour of his brother Philip. Their other brother, John Mark, has been unwell.
Ballroom dance that ended Moi’s marriage to Lena
For the 24 years that he was the head of state, the late President Daniel arap Moi country was never seen in public with his wife Lena.
Little is known of their 25 years of marriage that ended when Moi was still the Vice President.
The two met when both were teachers and Moi wedded Lena in 1950 at the AIC mission in Eldama Ravine after he paid two heifers, one ox, and four sheep to his in-laws.
Lena later abandoned her career as a teacher and immersed herself into bringing up her family, settling down with Moi at Tambach Government School, where his first two children, Jennifer and Jonathan Kipkemboi, were born in 1952 and 1953 respectively.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, Lena strode Kenya’s political scene as the vice-president’s wife and that marked the downward spiral of their marriage.
The marriage was finally broken in 1974 by a single event during a dinner dance at Rift Valley Technical College which was graced by President Jomo Kenyatta as the chief guest.
A story is told of how Moi danced with the former First Lady, Mama Ngina Kenyatta while Lena was expected to dance with the President Kenyatta.
But being a staunch Christian Lena believed dancing was sinful and so she turned down Kenyatta’s invitation, thus humiliating her husband Moi.
After their marriage collapsed, a divorce followed in 1979. By then Lena had already faded away from the public arena, never to be heard of again until her death in 2004.
Their 25 years marriage bore them seven children, Jenifer, Jonathan, Raymond, Philip, Doris, John Mark, Gideon and an adopted daughter June.
In the 1998 biography, Moi: The Making of an African Statesman, authored by Andrew Morton, Moi admitted that he had little joy from his family.
Moi told the author that he felt disappointed and let down by his family.
In the book, Moi said he was frustrated that apart from Gideon and June his other children did not appear in public when he was president to give him moral support.
“He is quite a lonely man although always surrounded by people. That is the way a friend who has known him since his days as a teacher puts it,” Morton wrote.
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