Updated: February 23, 2021
Former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi has died at age 95. He died on Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced his passing but did not say the cause of death.
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Daniel arap Moi‘s presidency began on August 22, 1978, when he was sworn in as the second President of Kenya, and ended on December 30, 2002. Moi, a KANU party member, took office following the death of the then president Jomo Kenyatta on the same day.
He was sworn as interim president for 90 days during which the country was to prepare for a presidential election to be held on 8 November. Moi won reelections in 1988, 1992 and 1997, defeating Mwai Kibaki in the latter two elections. He was succeeded by Mwai Kibaki in 2002.
The Washington Post recalled that Daniel arap Moi “rose to power promising to end tribalism and corruption and to make his country a Cold War bulwark against communism but who brutally crushed political opposition, deepened ethnic tensions and enriched himself at the public’s expense”.
“Mr. Moi was one of the last of Africa’s so-called Big Men, who presided over their countries in increasingly despotic ways. During 24 ruinous years in power, he curtailed political freedom, presided over the stagnation of Kenya’s economy and encouraged patronage politics. He enshrined his name on currency, schools, an international airport and other prominent sites throughout the east African country,” The Post added.
The newspaper said “despite condemnation by human rights groups and allegations that he had stolen millions of dollars in aid money, Mr. Moi’s ties to the United States remained strong because of Kenya’s staunch anti-communism and relative stability in a region ravaged by war and by leaders who were even more erratic”.
“We’ve been having peace for 39 years,” Mr. Moi told a crowd before he stepped down in 2002. “Sometimes when I hear all the criticism, I ask myself, ‘Are you tired of peace?’ I wish people would go to the neighboring countries and then speak.”
That year, Transparency International, an anti-corruption group, called Kenya one of the most corrupt countries in the world, assailing the nation’s police and judges as among the worst offenders, The Post added.