What led President Daniel arap Moi to shed tears?

As we mark a court re-instated Moi Day on 10th October 2018, many Kenyans may not be aware that former President Daniel Arap Moi under whom the day is named once wept early in his rule.

The one and only time retired president Daniel arap Moi is said to have wept in public was in 1982.

The president who was in his fifth year as president had come to the city after the failed 1982 military coup.

“The only time I ever saw the President in tears was when he came to the city to witness the destruction of lives and property following the abortive 1982 coup by elements of the Kenya Airforce,” revealed the late General Jackson Mulinge in a 2002 interview.

The late general adds that as the armed forces boss, he had arranged for the President’s return under armed escort to the city from his home in Kabarak, Nakuru.

“What puzzled us was that the Head of State, though appearing shaken, was more concerned about the destruction of life and property than the fact that he had been about to lose his Presidency,” said Mulinge in the interview.

Led by Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka a group of soldiers from the Kenya Air Force took over Eastleigh Air Base at 3 A.M. on Sunday, 1 August 1982.

The 1982 Kenyan coup d’Ă©tat to overthrow President Daniel arap Moi’s government however failed and loyal soldiers led by Major General Mahmoud Mohammed helped quell the uprising.

President Moi had arrived at the city after the loyal soldiers had taken over and it was then that he shed tears on seeing the amount of destruction that had been meted by the errant soldiers.

Meet Hezekiah Ochukah, soldier who ruled Kenya for six hours

If you ask anyone, they will tell you that since independence, Kenya has had four presidents. And they would be very correct because they don’t consider Hezekiah Ochukah as one of them.

What they may not tell you is that sometimes in 1982, a man called Hezekiah Ochukah was the Kenyan leader for a period of six hours.

Born on 23rd July 1953, Hezekiah Rahala Ochukah who was also known as Awuor, carried out a coup intending to throw President Daniel arap Moi. Moi was then in his fifth year as president having taken over as President on 10th October 1978 after the death of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

Hezekiah Ochukah had joined the Kenya Air Force at the age of 23 after attending Naki Kabete Primary School and Mirogi Secondary School. He underwent a series of military training at Lanet in Nakuru, Eastleigh Air Base and in the UK up to 1980.

After taking over Eastleigh Air Base and Embakasi Air Base at dawn on the fateful Sunday of 1st August 1982, Senior Private Ochukah then aged 29 captured the Government radio station, the Voice of Kenya (VOK). Popular Kenyan journalist who had been picked from his home, Leonard Mambo Mbotela, was at gunpoint forced to announce the take-over.

Ochukah after taking over gave the reasons for the coup as the fact that the Kenyan economy was in shambles due to corruption and mismanagement, the cost of living was very high for the common man and Kenyans were being highly taxed.

However, Hezekiah Ochukah’s rule was short-lived. By 9 AM the same day, six hours after staging the coup, loyalist military leaders led by Major General Mahmoud Mohammed were able to retake over the government.

Ochukah escaped to Tanzania but was repatriated and after a court-martial where he was represented by Senator Moses Wetangula. He was found guilty with his co-conspirator Pancras Oteyo and hanged in 1987.

error: Content is protected !!