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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Moi: the making of an African 'Big-Man'
Author:Lynch, GabrielleISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:heads of State
political history
biographies (form)
About person:Daniel Toroitich arap Moi (1924-)ISNI
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531050701846708
Abstract:In December 2002, Daniel arap Moi - the longest sitting member of the Kenyan legislature (1955-2002), longest standing vice president (1967-1978), and longest reigning president of the Kenyan Republic (1978-2002) - 'retired' from elected politics. This article analyses Moi's political career from his entry into the legislative council in 1955 to his ascension to the presidency in 1978. It suggests that Moi's initial leap from the classroom rested on the poor records of his predecessors, Moi's network of relations with influential opinion brokers, and his reputation as a sober and hardworking individual. Once appointed, Moi gradually secured his position, strengthened and expanded his networks, and took a position that constituents understood and could identify with. By the early 1960s, these efforts, together with his canny politicking, relative political longevity, and early association with an expansive constituency, ensured that Moi was the pre-eminent Kalenjin politician at a critical historical juncture. Prominence, which together with Moi's personal attributes and friendly relations with President Kenyatta, secured him appointments at the political centre. Moreover, Moi's tenure as minister for home affairs and vice president, together with his manoeuvres to undermine and/or coopt potential opponents (through the use of patronage and sanctions) and a carefully cultivated image of a populist and assistant of the people, ensured that his local preeminence was rarely questioned and instead gained the backing of time. In turn, Moi's national position and apparent attributes, together with the shortcomings of his antagonists, ultimately paved the way for his peaceful succession to the presidency on Jomo Kenyatta's death in 1978. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]