By Andrew Irumba
Citizens of Kenya woke up to the greatest shock of their lives Tuesday morning to sad news of the passing on of their former president and one of the country’s founding fathers, Mzee Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi alias Nyayo.
Moi passed away on Monday evening, and although the cause of his death is yet to be known, he had been battling ill-health for a long time.
Moi was the second President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002. He became president as a result of the death of the then president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta,father to current president Uhuru Kenyatta.
The announcement of Moi’s death was made today morning (Tuesday, February 5) by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
A state official said that “The retired president had passed on, President Uhuru Kenyatta has issued a proclamation for the announcement,” before adding that “a statement will be issued shortly about his funeral and burial arrangements.”
Who Was Arap Moi?
Moi was born in Kabarak village, Sacho division, Baringo County on September 2, 1924 and was raised by his paternal uncle Kimoi Chebii following the early death of his father.
He was from the Tugen sub-group of the Kalenjin people. After completing his secondary education at Kapsabet High School, he attended Tambach Teachers Training College in the Keiyo District.
After graduating he worked as a teacher from 1946 until 1955.
In 1955 Moi joined politics and was elected Member of the Legislative Council for Rift Valley.
He was the chosen replacement of Dr. John ole Tameno, the former representative who had had to quit due to heavy drinking and suspected connections to the freedom movement. In 1957 Moi was re-elected Member of the Legislative Council for Rift Valley.
He later became Minister of Education in the pre-independence government of 1960–1961.
As fate would have it, Moi later became president following the death of then president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Through popular agitation and external pressures, he was forced to allow multiparty elections in 1991; he led his party, KANU, to victory in the 1992 and 1997 elections.
But prior to becoming President, he had served as the third Vice President of Kenya from 1967 to 1978.
Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as Nyayo, a Swahili word for “footsteps”, as he often said he was following in the footsteps of the first President, Jomo Kenyatta.
He also earned the sobriquet “Professor of Politics” due to his long rule of 24 years, the longest in Kenyan history to date.
Moi’s Love Life
Moi married Lena Moi (born Helena Bommet) in 1950, but they separated in 1974, before his presidency. Lena died in 2004.He is survived by eight orphans; five sons and three daughters.
Some of the children include; Gideon Moi (Senator Kanu ), the late Jonathan Toroitich (a former rally driver, died 2019) and Philip Moi (a retired army officer).
His elder and only brother William Tuitoek died in 1995.
He was a member of the Africa Inland Mission Church.
As an educationalist, Moi was the founder and patron of major schools in Kenya like Moi Educational Centre, Kabarak High School and Sunshine Secondary Schools, among others.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.
Here below is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration of Moi’s demise;