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BBC journalist recounts how President Moi robbed him of fatherly love

By Amina Wako February 5th, 2020 2 min read

BBC journalist, Ferdinand Omondi, has shared his compelling memories of Daniel arap Moi, with revelations of how the late president robbed him of paternal love at a very tender age.

In an incisive piece titled, Kenya’s ex-President Daniel arap Moi jailed my fatherOmondi, who was once a reporter for NTV, recounted how the imprisonment of his father, following the aborted 1982 coup, deprived him of paternal love during the first six years of his life.

It so happens that Omondi was born in 1982, the year the failed coup attempt happened.

“My father, Cpl Michael Collins Owino, was in the air force at the time of the aborted coup in 1982, the year I was born. When the army foiled the coup and a crackdown began in the military, my father was among the servicemen arrested,” Omondi narrates.

He says that after trial, his father was sentenced to 18 years in jail, although he was later pardoned and freed after doing time for six years. It was then – in 1988 – that Omondi saw his father for the first time.


But after six years in jail, Omondi says, his father returned home a completely changed man.

“My father died in 2001 never having discussed what had happened to him. In his life, he remained very distant, and often hostile. My mum did not speak of it either,” Omondi reveals.

After his father’s death Omondi sought to uncover what really happened to his father behind bars and whether or not he was involved in the failed attempt to unseat Moi.

But all his efforts came to naught.

“The only reference I ever found was in a newspaper article from August 1982, in a series on the courts martial that followed the coup attempt. But all the newspaper had was an image of ‘Cpl Michael Collins Owino of the Kenya Airforce,'” he says.