Toroitich arap Moi
arap Moi was born on 2nd 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 19th Century.
Moi was the 5th
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 characterised colonial
In 1934, Moi started
school at the African Inland Mission school, Kabartonjo where he had to walk
28 miles away from home. On october 20th 1936 he was baptised Daniel. In 1938,
he was transferred to African Inland Mission, Kapsabet and later to Government
African 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 teachers 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 Tambach Government African School as a Teacher Trainer.
President Moi married
Helena (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 emmersed himself
in politics with resistance. As he sat as a member of the Legislative Council
with only other four African members on October 18th, 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 KADU who went to the
London Constitutional talks of June 1960.
Just before independence
(1961), Moi was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for 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
In January 1967,
Jomo Kenyatta appointed Toroitich arap Moi, now aged 43, as his Vice-President
following the resignation of Mr.Joseph Murumbi.
Moi became President following the death of Mzee Kenyatta on 22 August 1978.
in 1963, Moi has won all elections as a Member of Parliament for Baringo Central
and as President in both single-party and the multi-party era.
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 crushed.
Moi served as Chairman
of the Organization Of African Unity(OAU) for two consecutive terms - 1981 and
He has also been
involved in mediation between various conflicting sides in Uganda, Congo, Somalia,
Chad, Sudan, Mozambique, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Rwanda, and 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 has been
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
At various fora,
Moi has stressed that unless Africans cement their unity and solidarity, solutions
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
and as a means for the developing countries to have a united voice in the global
On 30th 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 the
December 2002 General Elections.
Currently, Moi is setting up a foundation through which he hopes to participate in solving conflicts in the horn of African and the Great Lakes Region as well as help rehabilitate street children and those orphaned by HIV/aids.