Daniel Toroitich arap Moi was born on September 2, 1924 in Kurieng’wo in Sacho Location of Baringo District.
He was named after his father Kimoi arap Chebii, a clan herdsman whose ancestors had migrated from the slopes of Mt. Kenya and settled in the Tugen Hills in the 19th Century to avoid intermittent skirmishes with the Maasai.
Moi was the fifth child of Kabon, Chebii’s first wife. He was named Toroitich, which means ‘welcome home the cattle’. His father died when he was four-years-old leaving his elder brother, Tuitoek, to play the guardian role. It was Tuitoek who influenced him to go to school.
He started school in 1934 at the African Inland Mission School, Kabartonjo.
On October 20th 1936, he was baptized Daniel and transferred to African Inland Mission, Kapsabet and later to Government African School, Kapsabet.
In 1945 he was selected to join Alliance High School but was denied admission by the colonial administration. Instead he was enrolled at a teacher training college.
On completion of his course, he was posted as a teacher at Kabarnet where he studied privately and passed London Matriculation Examinations. He was promoted to the rank of P2 in 1949 after attending a brief course at Kagumo College. He was later transferred to Tambach Government African School as a teacher trainer.
Moi married Helena (Lena) Bomet in 1950. Their union was blessed with eight children (three daughters and five sons).
In the same year, he attended a course at the Jeans School, Kabete (Kenya Institute of Administration and was subsequently posted to Government African School, Kabarnet where he taught Teachers up to 1955 when he joined politics. His entry into politics followed a meeting with a group of freedom fighters under the command of Brig. Daniel Njuguna who visited him in June 1955.
In October 1955, the Electoral College selected Moi from a list of eight nominated candidates to fill a vacancy left by Joseph ole Tameno who had resigned from the unofficial benches of the Legislative Council (LEGCO).
As a member of the Legco, he moved a motion demanding that African teachers be allowed to form their own association. This led to the formation and registration of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) in 1957.
He worked alongside other leaders like Eliud Mathu, Ronald Ngala and Masinde Muliro in agitating for the release of Jomo Kenyatta from prison and greater African representation in the Legco.
In 1959, Moi led a group of leaders who visited Jomo Kenyatta in detention in Lodwar. He was also among the Kenyan delegation under the auspices of KADU who attended the London Constitutional talks of June 1960.
In 1961, Moi was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for Education and later served in the ministries of Education and Local Government.
He served as Minister for Local Government aged 37. As all-conference Chairman of KADU, Moi saw the intricacy of politics and opted for a united and nationalistic approach leading to the dissolution of KADU in November 1964.
In January 1967, at 43 years, Jomo Kenyatta appointed him his vice president following the resignation of Mr. Joseph Murumbi.
Moi became President following the death of Mzee Kenyatta on 22 August, 1978.
He served as Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for two consecutive terms in 1981 and 1982.
He was also been involved in mediation between various conflicting sides in Uganda, Congo, Somalia, Chad and Sudan. Others are Mozambique, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Burundi among others.
He served as Chairman of Preferential Trade Area (1989-1990), COMESA (1999-2000), E.A. Co-operation (1996- 2002) and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development IGAD (1993 – 1998).
After a 24-year presidency, Moi handed over the reins of power to Mwai Kibaki in a peaceful transition that followed the National Rainbow Coalition’s (Narc) victory over Kanu in the December 2002 General Elections.
The major test in his presidential tenure, was in August 1982 when a detachment of Air Force soldiers attempted to overthrow his government.
Since retirement, Moi largely resided in his Kabarak home in Nakuru County.