Prominent Kenyan leaders - Daniel arap Moi

Daniel arap Moi was born in a place called Sacho in Baringo District in the Rift Valley Province in 1924. His father was Kimoi arap Chebii. Moi’s father died when he was four years old and he was raised by his mother and uncle. Moi started schooling at African Inland Mission School at Kabartonjo in 1934. While there, he was baptised Daniel. From Kabartonjo he went to Kapsabet School before joining Tambach Teacher’s College in 1945 to train as a primary school teacher. He taught at Tambach primary school where he rose to become a head teacher, and then moved to Tambach Teacher’s College as the deputy principal.

He married Helena Bomet in 1950 and joined politics in 1955 through appointment to the Legislative Council (LegCo). Later he was elected to the LegCo as the representative of the Rift Valley Province. Moi was actively involved in politics. For instance he visited Kenyatta in detention in Lodwar in 1959. In 1960, he became the Chairman of KADU and represented African interests during the Lancaster House Conference in 1960.

While in the LegCo Moi was appointed Minister for Education from 1961-1962 and Minister for Local Government in 1962. He joined KANU in 1964 and in 1967 he was appointed the country’s Vice President. He held that post until 1978 when the late president Jomo Kenyatta died. Ninety days later, Moi became the president, and was re-elected to the position in 1988, 1992 and 1997. In 1992, multiparty democracy was reintroduced after Section 2A of the Constitution was repealed. This change reintroduced multi-party democracy to the country. It also limited each president to serving for a maximum of two terms.

Moi did not contest for the seat in the 2002 general elections because he had already served his two terms. He had represented Baringo Central Constituency since 1963 and had served as president for 24 years. He peacefully handed over power to President Kibaki on 30th December 2002.

As a president, Moi introduced a philosophy known as Nyayoism. At most of his public rallies, he preached peace, love and unity and the need for Kenyans to be mindful of other people’s welfare. He also started soil conservation and tree planting activities and initiated many projects through Harambee.

In 1982, he survived an unsuccessful coup attempt. Moi was actively involved in political and economic matters within the Eastern African region as well as in Africa. He had a wish to see Africa united as one big state. Moi started the Kabarak School which catered for children from all parts of the country. He also started the Kabarak University.

He supported the formation of regional economic bodies such as the PTA which he chaired between 1989 and 1999; COMESA, 1999-2000; IGAD, 1993-1998 and the East African Co-operation, 1996-2002. He was also the chairman of OAU for two terms, 1981 and 1982. Many times he was involved in mediation of conflicting groups in different African countries including Ethiopia and Eritrea, North and Southern Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda.

On retiring from politics, Moi set up a foundation through which he could continue participating in solving confl icts in the Eastern African region.