Kenya’s Struggle against the Moi Dictatorship

Sharon Erickson Nepstad

in Nonviolent Revolutions

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778201
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199897216 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Culture and Politics

Kenya’s Struggle against the Moi Dictatorship

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Daniel arap Moi called Kenya a “single party democracy,” but little democracy was evident during his 25-year rule. Kenyan churches condemned the regime and used transnational religious networks to shed light on Moi’s tyrannical practices. Eventually, international donors suspended $350 million in aid. Desperate for this funding, Moi complied with donors’ demands for multiparty elections. The election created an opportunity to oust the dictator, but Moi retained power by developing an effective counterstrategy. His strategy included two elements. First, Moi divided the opposition movement by intentionally igniting long-standing ethnic tensions. Second, Moi generated the appearance of a free election while still controlling the outcome. Specifically, he limited his fraudulent and obstructionist actions to the preelection period and kept voting processes relatively clean on election day. This enabled Moi to persuade the international community that the election was fair enough to repeal the sanctions. In so doing, international donors prolonged the dictatorship.

Keywords: Kenya; Daniel arap Moi; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy; international sanctions

Chapter.  6366 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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