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05.02.2020 Europe

Kenya's former president Daniel Arap Moi dead at 95

By RFI
bbc.com
LISTEN FEB 5, 2020
bbc.com

Kenya's former and longest-reigning president, Daniel Arap Moi, has died at the age of 95. President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement on Tuesday morning and has declared a period of national mourning until a state funeral is held.

Former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi, who ruled the country with an iron fist between 1978 and 2002, has died aged 95, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Tuesday.

Moi's 24-year rule saw his country become a one-party state where critical voices were silenced, corruption became endemic and tribal divisions were stoked and turned bloody.

"It is with profound sadness that I announce the death of a great man," Kenyatta said in a statement.

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

The former president died "in the early morning of 4 February at Nairobi hospital in the presence of his family," Kenyatta said.

Chequered career
Moi fought off rivals in a bitter contest to take the top job in 1978, succeeding Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta.

The speaker of Kenya's national assembly, Justin Muturi said that Moi was an "astute politician", who "employed pragmatic nationalism to keep the country together for the 24 years that he led our nation.

"He will be remembered for his great efforts towards consolidating peace and tranquility within the Horn of Africa and largely the East African Region, at a very difficult time for the region and the African continent," Muturi added.

His son Gideon Moi, a senator, confirmed Moi died at 5.20 am (02:20 GMT). "He passed away peacefully," he said.

One of the defining scandals of Moi's presidency was the loss of $1 billion from the central bank through false gold and diamond exports.

A report by the risk consultancy group Kroll in 2007 claimed Moi's family and clique laundered money on a global scale, buying properties and companies in London, New York and South Africa, and even a 10,000-hectare ranch in Australia.

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