Daniel T. Arap Moi, CGH
Daniel Toroitich arap Moi was born on 2 nd September, 1924 in a small village of Kurieng'wo in Sacho Location of Baringo District. He was named after his father Kimoi arap Chebii a sot clan herdsman whose ancestors had migrated from the slopes of Mt. Kenya. They settled in the Tugen Hills to avoid intermittent skirmishes with the Maasai in the 19 th Century.
Moi was the 5 th child of Kabon, Chebii's senior wife. Moi was named Toroitich which means welcome home the cattle ' espousing how central cattle were in their existence. At the age of four, Moi's father died and his elder brother Tuitoek played a guardian role. It was Tuitoek who influenced him to go to school at an early age as a way of running away from poverty and injustices that characterized colonial rule.
In 1934, Moi started school at the African Inland Mission School, Kabartonjo where he had to walk 28 miles away from home. On October 20 th 1936 he was baptized Daniel. In 1938, he was transferred to African Inland Mission School, Kapsabet where he was a school captain and a captain of the football team. He took menial jobs in and out of school to meet his basic needs.
In 1945 he was selected to join Alliance High School but to his disappointment he was not allowed by the colonial administration. Instead he was sent to a teacher's training college. His character was greatly moulded by Christianity which he had embraced at a tender age. He demonstrated inexhaustible patience and tolerance which later helped shape his political career.
On completion of his course, he was posted as a Head teacher at Kabarnet where he studied privately and passed London Matriculation Examinations. He was promoted in 1949 to the rank of P2 after attending a brief course at Kagumo College and transferred to the Tambach Government African School as a Teacher Trainer.
President Moi married Lena Bommet in 1950 and they were blessed with 8 children; 3 daughters and five sons, (Jennifer, Doris and adopted daughter June; Jonathan, Raymond, John Mark, Philip and Gideon). In 1950 he attended a course at the Jeans School (Kenya Institute of Administration) and was posted to Govt. African School, Kabarnet where he taught Teachers upto 1955 when he joined politics. His entry into politics followed a meeting with a group of freedom fighters under the command of Brig. Daniel Njuguna who visited him in June 1955. He was sympathetic to their cause and after feeding and protecting them for two weeks he gave them food and money to further their cause.
In October 1955 the Electoral College selected Moi from a list of eight nominated candidates to fill a vacancy left by Joseph ole Tameno who resigned from the unofficial benches of the legislative council.
Moi immersed himself in politics with resistance. As he sat as a member of the Legislative Council with only other four African members on October 18 th 1955 Moi did not know what was in store for him. He however swiftly adapted to the new challenges and in the following year he moved a motion in the Legislative Council (Legco) demanding that African teachers be allowed to form their own association. Thus Kenya National Union of Teachers was formed and registered in 1957.
Brought up in strong Kalenjin culture, Moi is a firm believer in justice, honesty and fairness to all. He worked alongside other leaders like Eliud Mathu, Ronald Ngala and Masinde Muliro in agitating for the release of Jomo Kenyatta and greater African representation in the Legco.
In 1959, he led a group of leaders to visit Jomo Kenyatta in detention in Lodwar. Subsequently, Moi was among the Kenyan delegation under the auspices of Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) who went to the London Constitutional talks of June 1960.
Just before independence (1961), Moi was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education and later served in the ministries of Education and local Government in the coalition Government. He served as minister for Local Government at age 37. As all-conference Chairman of KADU, Moi saw the intricacy of politics and opted for a united and nationalistic approach leading to the dissolution of KADU in November, 1964.
In January 1967, Jomo Kenyatta appointed Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, now aged 41, as his Vice-President following the resignation of Mr. Joseph Murumbi. Moi became president following the death of Mzee Kenyatta on 22 nd August 1978.
Since independence in 1963, Moi has won all elections as a Member of Parliament for Baringo Cenral and as President in both singleparty and the multi-party era.
His leadership has seen many ups and downs. The major test was in August 1982 when a detachment of Airforce soldiers attempted to overthrow his government but they were defeated by loyal forces.
Moi served as chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for two consecutive terms 1981 and 1982. He has also been involved in mediation between various conflicting sides in Uganda, Congo, Somalia Chad, Sudan, Mozambique, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi etc. He served as Chairman of Preferential Trade Area (1989-1990) COMESA (1999-2000), E.A. Co-operation (1996-2002) and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development IGAD (1993-1998)
He has travelled widely in search for peace in Africa and the world. Many a times he was called upon as a President to provide peace keeping forces in troubled parts of the world like Chad, Uganda, Namibia, Mozambique, Iran/Iraq, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Liberia, Morocco, Angola, Serbia/Croatia, D.R. Congo, Sierra Leone and East Timor.
At various for a, Moi has stressed that unless Africans cement their unity and solidarity, solution to the many internal and external hazards afflicting Africa will remain elusive. He has argued that the hard won independence stands in jeopardy unless Africans embrace co-operation as a means of faster and more diversified economic development. Moi has supported the formation of regional economic bodies to increase trade as a means for the developing countries to have a united voice in the global economy.
On 30 th December 2002, Moi handed over the reigns of power to Mwai Kibaki in a peaceful transition that followed the National Rainbow Coalition's (NARC) victory over KANU in December 2002 General Elections.
Now in retirement, Daniel Moi has dedicated his time to his long cherished vision; to bring hope to the needy and suffering people of Africa. From 2003, he has worked towards the setting up of Moi Africa Institute (MAIN), an undertaking which hopes to transform the lives of many through education, health and conflict resolutions.
Summary of former President Moi's public life.
1924 Born, Kurieng'wo village Sacho location, Baringo District.
1934 Started school at Kabartonjo
1936 20 th October, Baptized
1938 Joined Government African School (G.A.S), Kapsabet
1945 Technical Training College (T.T.C), Tambach
1948 Posted to Kabarnet as Head Teacher
1949 Promoted to P2.
1950 Married Lena Bommet.
1955 Entered politics by NOMINATION TO Legislative Council (LEGCO)
1959 Led a group of leaders to visit Jomo Kenyatta at Lodwar detention camp.
1961 Appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
Minister for Local Government.
1967-1978 Vice-President of the Republic of Kenya.
1978-2002 President of the Republic of Kenya
2002 Retired from Presidency.
2003 Establishment of Moi Africa Institute (MAIN) Launched on 30 th March 2004.