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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Daniel Arap Moi, the longest serving president of Kenya, is dead

Arap Moi introduced a constitutional amendment 1982 where he essentially made the country a single-party state.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: February 4, 2020 12:14:19 pm
Before joining politics, Moi was a teacher in profession. In the transitional government of newly independent Nigeria he was the Minister of Education. Source: REUTERS/Antony Njuguna

Daniel Arap Moi, the second president of decolonised Kenya, was the longest serving head of state to rule the country for 24 years and was in office from 1978 to 2002. Before his presidency, he was the vice president.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the death of the former president at a Nairobi hospital earlier today. Moi was 95.

Before joining politics, Moi was a teacher. In the transitional government of the newly-independent Kenya, Moi became the Minister of Education. He founded the Kenya Democratic African Union (KDAU), a political party whose objective was to represent minority tribes whose voices did not get a space among the mainstream political parties like Kenya African National Union (KANU).

Kenya Democratic African Union lasted a mere four years (1960-1964) after which it was dissolved. Moi went on to join the Kenya African Union from where he started his journey to lead the country.

He introduced a constitutional amendment 1982 where he essentially made the country a single-party state with KANU at the centre. This move resulted in the first attempted coup to remove Moi from power. After the failed coup, several opposition forces were jailed.

Even after this move multi-party elections were held and Moi won five terms in 1978, 1993, 1988, 1992 and 1997. After his appointment as the head of state, his powers increased exponentially.

According to the Associated Press, Moi’s government became repressive and dictatorial. Any opposition against his moves and rules was met with a staunch reaction like detention and even torture. Moi also exercised larger than life power in controlling the judiciary, overruling court decisions and dismissing judges.

According to the Human Rights Watch World Report of 2003, “widespread lawlessness and corruption eroded the country’s social and economic fabric” and this was overseen and allowed under Moi’s autocratic rule of 24 years.

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