Former President of Kenya Daniel arap Moi died Tuesday in Nariboi. Photo by Philip Dhil/EPA-EFE
Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Daniel arap Moi, the second president of the Republic of Kenya who ruled the country for more than 20 years, died Tuesday at the age of 95.
Current Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Moi's death and declared a period of national mourning effective immediately until the day of his state funeral.
Kenyatta said Moi died at the Nairobi Hospital early Tuesday in the presence of family.
"Our nation and our continent were immensely blessed by the dedication and service of the late Mzee Moi, who spent almost his entire adult life serving Kenya and Africa in a number of capacities," Kenyatta said in his presidential declaration. "The late Mzee Moi served us as an educator, a teacher, a legislator, member of Parliament, a cabinet minister, the vice-president and finally as the preside of the Republic of Kenya."
Though the cause of his death was not released, the former president's health had been uncertain since he was rushed to the hospital in October and in January he was placed on life support machines, Kenya's The Star reported.
Moi led the country as its second president for 24 years following the death of the nation's founder, Jomo Kenyatta, in 1978.
Credited as a leading figure in Kenya's struggle for independence from Britain and an ardent Pan-Africanist, Moi was also a controversial figure who was accused of committing human rights abuses, including by Amnesty International.
After he stepped down, investigators accused Moi of siphoning billions of dollars from Kenya and two of his four elections were dogged by claims that they were rigged.
However, some see Moi as having brought stability and calm to the country amid a turbulent continent.
"The late Mzee Moi stepped into apex leadership in 1978 and immediately brought calm and confidence to a nation reeling in shock following the unexpected death of the Head of State," Kenyatta wrote in his presidential proclamation.
Moi also created the multi-party election system in Kenya, which Kenyatta said culminated in "the peaceful transfer of power in December 2002, a then rare occurrence in Africa and one which set an example that has been emulated across the continent and beyond ever since."
Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh
died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo