Kenya Human Rights Commission on the Occasion of the Death of Kenya’s Second President Daniel Arap Moi (07.02.2020)

Opinion: No need to celebrate Daniel Arap Moi, but we need to remember the lives he took!

There are deliberate attempts of sanitizing the history of the 24 years of the President Daniel Arap Moi. The years of 1979 to 2002. The Kenya African National Union, the previous Vice-President under the first President Jomo Kenyatta after independence in 1963.

President Moi was ruthless. President Moi used all force and unleashed the state upon the dissidents of the state.  Mwakenya (Kenya Nationalist Redemption Union) was one of the opposition movements that the President targeted in his time. He targeted the dissidents of the Saba Saba (Swahili for 7). Arrested several of their leaders, including Raila Odinga for 3 months. He went after Wangari Mathaai, arrests, assaults and spreading fear.

In February 1990, Robert Ouko, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was assassinated, later in the year in August; the bishop of Eldoret Alexander Muge was killed in a suspicious “car-accident”.

While this explains the modus operandi of KANU under Moi:

“A number of factors point to the continuity in the philosophy of the KANU government, the first being the promulgation of the Constitution (Public Security) Order of 1978, 90 which effected Sections 4(1) and (2)(a) and (b) of the Preservation of Public Security Act,9′ soon followed by the Public Security (Detained and Restricted Persons) Regulations, identical to those existing previously. On December 12, 1978, arap Moi released all political detainees, but since that time he has thrown several more political opponents into jail, following arrests and trials that are a travesty of accepted norms of justice. Among these are included over 1,000 military personnel court-martialled for treason in mid-September 1982, and over 132 alleged to have been arrested or to have “disappeared.” Furthermore, 58 people are said to have been killed by the security forces since 1981” (Oloka-Onyango, J. (1990) “Police Powers, Human Rights, and the State in Kenya and Uganda: A Comparative Analysis,” Third World, Legal Studies: Vol. 9, Article 1”).

Freedom House reported this:

“The regime of Daniel arap Moi has become increasingly oppressive. Because Kenya has enjoyed relative prosperity in a free market economy, a significant and vocal middle class has emerged. When two former cabinet members, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia, called for the legalization of opposition parties, they were vilified, harassed and eventually arrested. Demonstrations and riots ensued producing a brutal crackdown. Moi vowed to stay in office ten years or more and promised to hunt down his opponents “like rats.”” (Freedom House – Freedom in the World – Political Rights & Civil Liberties -1990-1991, 1991).

Also the TRJC Volume 4 report states this:

“The Commission finds that between 1978 and 2002, President Daniel Arap Moi presided over a government that was responsible for numerous gross violations of human rights. These violations include:

  • massacres;
  • unlawful detentions, and systematic and widespread torture and ill-treatment of political and human rights activists;
  • assassinations, including that of Dr. Robert Ouko;
  • illegal and irregular allocations of land;
  • and economic crimes and grand corruption” (Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission – ‘REPORT OF THE TRUTH, JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION – VolumeIV’ 2013).

Just these reports says enough. As plenty of people are writing of his greatness, his stature, as the old man, the supposed statement. While the toils, the pain and the suffering. The ruthless man, who used all tools, called out opposition and treated them as worst can be. Opposition fearing of assassinations and so on. When you fear for plots to kill you, you know your leadership isn’t that good. That should be easy to understand.

With this reality, the memory of Daniel Arap Moi, will for my part. Be in the remembrance of the ones he took. The lives that he hurt, scorned and killed, the missing people, the ones who he stopped. Those are the victims of him, the ones who most likely never had a case to answer for their demise.

While the President is now praised, honoured, called a “Strongman” and someone who did his thing. However, he should be remembered for the blood on his hands, for the victims and the ones arrested because of his orders. That he did this and did it deliberately. No one should deny that.

Moi shall be remembered for being a tyrant, a dictator and a ruthless man with sins we cannot forget. Because, we don’t won’t the next generation nor this generation to emulate the character, which was Danial arap Moi. Peace.