Day Mzee Moi Abandoned Ruto at South African Airport

  • Former President, Daniel Moi, is best remembered for his ruthlessness and unaccommodating nature for those who opposed him.

    One such victim who got to see the multi-faceted nature of the former president is former Bomet Governor, Isaac Ruto.

    While serving as a Cabinet Minister in Moi's government, according to Daily Nation, the politician had gone to South Africa on a two-week business trip but was abandoned at the airport after the two fell out.

    It all started with an argument shortly after Moi sacked his former Vice President George Saitoti and Cabinet Minister Kalonzo Musyoka.

    Former President Daniel Moi

    "I had been in Pretoria for two weeks on government business. I heard that he had sacked Saitoti and Kalonzo Musyoka.

    "When he arrived in Pretoria, I asked him, 'If you sack these guys, won’t it complicate matters for our KANU candidate? What if Saitoti runs?'" recalled Ruto.

    The former minister's line of questioning, however, did not go well with the president and so when the time to leave came, Ruto sent his luggage to the aircraft only for it to be turned back.

    "I was in the room with Nicholas Biwott and Moi. A phone rang and I left the room. Later, Biwott called me to ask whether I was the leader of KANU in Kenya and I told him to go to hell. In the evening, I sent my bags to the cargo section but they were returned," he continued.

    Ruto seemingly underestimated the seriousness of the matter, only for him to be left stranded on the tarmac the next day.

    "The next morning, I tried to board the plane on our way to Nairobi but I was denied access. Moi and his delegation flew back. I was left on the tarmac. I was stranded for a few more days before I raised funds for fare back home," he recalled.

    Strangely, that was not the only embarrassment Ruto suffered in the hands of Moi.

    In August 1982, the leader, who was a member of the defunct Students Organization of Nairobi University, got locked up for three months in the aftermath of that year's attempted coup.

    Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto