Former President Daniel arap Moi’s eldest son, Jonathan Moi, will on Saturday be laid to rest at his Kabimoi home – some fifty-four kilometers from his father’s Kabarak home.
Inside story of the silent divisions, fights in the Moi family
How the family has managed to keep up a positive image
Jonathan’s death has cast a spotlight into the Moi family that has, for the most part, managed to keep their affairs private.
Despite the fact that most of the Moi family members prefer to keep their family affairs, private, there is a lot that confirms that what is hidden is division, sibling rivalry, and conflict.
For instance, very few would know that Jonathan’s widow, Sylvia Toroitich, is actually his ex-wife.
The couple wed in 1984 but had a nasty publicized divorce in 2004 where Sylvia accused her husband of having an affair with a local primary teachers’ wife.
On Tuesday, twin brothers Gerald Kipkosgei Toroitich and Geoffrey Kipkurui, 21, came put to claim they are Jonathan’s sons – and demanded to be included in the burial plans.
Perhaps the biggest scandal in Jonathan’s life is the alleged involvement in the murder of British tourist Julie Ward.
In a narration published by the Nairobi Law Monthly in 2012, Julie’s father, John Ward accused Jonathan of murdering his daughter in the Maasai Mara National Game Reserve in September 1988.
Ward further claimed that the murder was witnessed by Jonathan’s co-driver in the rally trucks, Ibrahim Choge, who planned to testify but was killed a few weeks later in a suspicious car accident.
Julie’s father linked Moi’s son to Choge’s death but Choge was not just any other person – he was married to Doris Moi meaning the two were not only co-drivers but brothers-in-law.
The sour relationship between President Moi and his elder children is not only a subject of rumor mills but was confirmed in his authorized biography - Moi: The Making Of An African Statesman.
“Moi had little joy from his family… Those who know the family well observe that with the possible exception of Gideon and June, the President felt disappointed and rather let down by his children,” the British author said.
Morton further wrote that the differences among the Mois could be traced back to the separation between the elder Moi and the mother of his children – Lena Moi.
The couple divorced in 1974 when most of the children were in their teens with the exception of Gideon and Doris (adopted daughter) who were too young to comprehend the divorce.
All the elderly children (Jennifer, Jonathan, Raymond, John Mark, Doris and her twin Philip) chose to remain with their mother who had raised them when Moi was mostly absent due to the demands of public life.
“This combination of absence and sternness produced the inevitable backlash, and as adolescents, the boys rebelled against their father,” the biographer observed.
At some point, Philip, reported to the hothead in the family, had to be disciplined by his father’s military guards.
The results of that strenuous relationship manifested as the children became adults.
At the height of Philip’s acrimonious divorce with his wife Rosanna, the elder Moi is reported to have traveled from Kabarak to see his son in Nairobi.
According to a source quoted by the Nation, the son, learnt of his father’s visit and immediately, “switched off his phone and left for Mombasa”.
It is also interesting that Jonathan chose Toroitich as his surname which was shared by his wife and children - instead of the more famous Moi name.
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