Kenya’s former president Daniel arap Moi dies aged 95

Former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, the country’s longest-serving leader, has died aged 95.

The death of Moi, who ruled Kenya from 1978 to 2002, was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement carried by the state broadcaster yesterday.

“It is with profound sadness and sorrow that I announce the passing of a Great African Statesman, H.E. Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, the Second President of the Republic of Kenya,” the announcement said.

“His Excellency the former President passed on at the Nairobi Hospital on the early morning of this 4th February, 2020, in the presence of his family,” it said.

Kenyatta ordered a period of national mourning until a state funeral is held, on a date not yet announced.

Moi had been in hospital for more than a month.

Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from Kakamega in western Kenya, said opinion on how people will remember the former leader is divided.

Despite being called a dictator by critics, Moi enjoyed strong support from many Kenyans and was seen as a uniting figure when he took power after founding President Jomo Kenyatta died in office in 1978.

In 1982, Moi’s government pushed a constitutional amendment through parliament that made Kenya effectively a one-party state. Later that year, the army quelled a coup attempt plotted by opposition members and some air force officers. At least 159 people were killed.

Moi’s government then became more heavy-handed in dealing with dissent, according to a report by the government’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission that assessed his rule.

Political activists and others who dared oppose Moi’s rule were routinely detained and tortured, the report said, noting unlawful detentions and assassinations, including the killing of a foreign affairs minister, Robert Ouko.

In 1991, Moi yielded to demands for a multi-party state due to internal pressure, including a demonstration that year during which police killed more than 20 people, and external pressure from the West.

— AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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