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Kenya's former President Moi dies aged 95 at Nairobi Hospital

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya's second president and longest-serving head of state Daniel Moi has died in Nairobi Hospital, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in a proclamation, Tuesday.

Moi, 95, passed on peacefully in his sleep at the city facility, where he had been indisposed for almost four months, his family said.

Gideon Moi, his youngest son, and Baringo Senator said "Mzee died at 5:20 am on Tuesday. We thank God for the time we had with him".

Security has been beefed up at Nairobi Hospital and Lee Funeral Home where the body of the deceased statesman is set to be preserved.

Chief of Defense Forces General Samson Mwathethe, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i are among first officials to arrive at Lee Funeral Home.

Uhuru mourns him as a statesman

Terming his as a "statesman", President Uhuru Kenyatta issued the proclamation in compliance with the law from the US on Tuesday.

Uhuru is attending Prayer Breakfast at Washington DC will opposition leader Raila Odinga following an invitation by White House.

He said: "Our nation and our Continent were immensely blessed by the dedication and service of the Late Mzee Moi; who spent almost his entire adult life serving Kenya and Africa in a number of capacities."

Further, Uhuru described him as a "teacher, legislator, ambassador and peace-loving Kenyan who loved everybody".

Long stay in the hospital bed

Admitted first in October last year at Nairobi Hospital, Moi had stayed in the facility with doctors monitoring his deteriorating health.

Lee Njiru, his long-term spokesman, said "it has been a long journey. We fought together but the Lord has decided to take him".

Doctors said the former Head of State was battling chest pains which were related to old age but insisted that he was "stable".

Over the weekend in Eldoret, Gideon Moi told worshipers that "pray for my father. Remember to him all the time. He's not feeling well".

Family members and senior government officials were allowed to visit him at Nairobi Hospital where he was admitted to ICU, a source told Garowe Online.

What next after his death?

Having served as president for 24 years, the longest in Kenya's history, Moi's funeral might take a little longer than expected due to his international networks.

In honor of his service, Uhuru said: "The Late Moi shall be accorded a State Funeral with all appropriate Civilian and Full Military Honours being rendered and observed."

But he will not be buried at a state mausoleum since he's not a founding father of the East Africa nation, local media said.

At the county's public offices, Uhuru added: "Kenya's flags shall be flown half-mast from today until the time he will be laid to rest".

High Commissions, consulates, diplomatic offices, military bases, police headquarters will also observe the order, Uhuru added.

Moi, who was the oldest African former president alive until his death on Tuesday, will be buried at his Kabarak Farm, 200 kilometers West of Nairobi.

Moi's ascendancy to power

Born in 1924, Moi served virtually in all elective posts after his short stint as a teacher. He came from a good family in the Rift Valley region.

Upon independence in 1963, Moi was appointed as an assistant minister before being elevated to full minister three years later.

Jomo Kenyatta, the founding president, picked him as the Vice President in 1967, a post he held for 12 years before becoming president upon Kenyatta's death in 1978.

There was an attempted coup in 1982 which precipitated his decision to make Kenya a single-party state, perhaps one of his downs in life.

In 1992, he would allow pluralism following pressure from the international community and civil rights groups in Kenya.

Moi retired in 2002 handing over power to Mwai Kibaki who has since retired. He played an important role in elevating current President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Moi's ups and downs

As a human being, the former president is loved and loathed in equal measure, with the latter dominating speeches of his critics.

During his reign, Moi was lauded internationally as a peace ambassador and he's credited for spearheading peace talks in Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda.

Education, healthcare, and infrastructure also cemented his legacy as the president for over two decades in Kenya, Dr. Vincent Moracha says.

But his alleged dictatorship, incarceration of his critics and suppression of the media were some of his weaknesses

For 24 years, Kenya's economy also crumbled with corruption eclipsing every government department, leading to red flags from local and international money lenders.


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