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Moi marks 94th birthday as his name creeps into 2022 succession politics

Former President Daniel arap Moi turns 94 today at a time when, 16 years after leaving office, he has found himself back at the heart of political discussions, and negotiations ahead of the 2022 presidential elections.

Mzee Moi had kept a quiet political life after leaving office, with very minimal public engagements at his Kabarak home in Nakuru County.

But this year, Mzee Moi — who ruled Kenya as its second president for 24 years, four months and eight days — has been back in the headlines, meeting one delegation after another.

The meetings have one thing in common: Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who has expressed interest at the presidency in 2022, would usher in the visitors, and pictures will be quickly circulated online, with either a very short statement from Mzee Moi’s office, or none, with Kenyans left to speculate on the contents of the engagements.

In a country where political leadership is more of deal-making, concessions, and behind-the-scenes compromise, as opposed to torturous campaigns across the country, the meetings with Mzee Moi, even at his age, can be unsettling for those seeking the coveted State House post.

The latest such engagement was a week ago when Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, who with a large delegation from the Coast, were treated to a meeting with Mzee Moi, after which they attended a funds drive in Baringo a day later.


Two months earlier, Mr Joho had played host to Senator Moi in Mombasa where the two announced a unity deal ahead of 2022 elections.

Mzee Moi also met President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 28, again with Senator Moi in tow to welcome him, just over eight months after he had visited the family in their Nairobi home after the Jubilee Party leader won a second term.

While the meetings with Mr Joho and President Kenyatta were politically significant, it is the meeting with Opposition leader Raila Odinga, and the snubbing of Deputy President William Ruto that has brought Mzee Moi’s Kabarak home, and the 94-year-old’s political influence on the 2022 elections, and particularly in the vote-rich Rift Valley region.

Analysts argue that given the friends-turned-bitter-foes-relationship between Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto, and a feeling that Mr Odinga was open to the idea of backing Senator Moi for the top job, the meetings with Mzee Moi, followed by that of Mr Joho, a key Odinga lieutenant, were, therefore, significant politically, and could, in the end, tilt the scales in the 2022 race.

Were Mr Odinga to endorse Mr Gideon Moi for the top job in 2022, observers say, Mr Ruto might be the biggest loser.

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