Daniel Arap Moi, Kenya’s longest-serving leader, has died aged 95 after he had been hospitalized for about a month.
Moi presided over a one-party state between 1978 and 1991 only allowing multi-party democracy following sustained pressure from within his country and from Western donors.
Announcing his death on Tuesday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta described Moi as “a great African statesman”.
Moi died at a hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning surrounded by his family, Kenyatta said.
He had been hospitalized in October for breathing problems but was discharged after a few weeks.
He ordered a period of national mourning and all flags to fly at half-staff until a state funeral is held at a later date.
During a 24-year reign, Moi initially enjoyed a lot of support from Kenyans having taken over from the independence hero, Jomo Kenyatta.
Moi was born September 2, 1924, in Baringo County. He became Kenya’s second president after independence and went on to rule from 1978 to 2002.
His 24 years in power encompassed one-party rule through the Kenyan African National Union, the party he controlled, and also the reintroduction of democracy and multiparty politics, which culminated in his victory in the 1992 Presidential elections.
Moi was 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, Kenyatta. He also earned the
sobriquet “Professor of Politics” due to his long rule of 24 years, the longest in Kenyan history.
At the age of 95, he was the oldest living former Kenyan president at the time of his death.