The Day Media Exposé Forced Moi to Cut Short Meeting With US President Ronald Reagan

The Day Media Exposé Forced Moi to Cut Short Meeting With US President Ronald Reagan

On March 12, 1987 President Daniel Moi exclusively met with the then US President Ronald Reagan but the meeting was abruptly cut short by a media exposé done back in Nairobi.

US newspaper Washington Post Africa correspondent Blaine Harden had written a story that did not settle well with State House officials.

The story was about how Moi had turned Kenya into a police state and listed torture as an item in the country’s menu.

Moi with US President Ronald Reagan

Blaine exposed the sadistic treatment of alleged members of a movement called Mwakenya.

He also revealed the torture and detention of lawyer Gibson Kamau Kuria, who had gone to court demanding the release of the Mwakenya suspects held for 3 months.

Authorities in Washington canceled his scheduled appointments and demanded the Kenyan government to come clean on the story.

An appointment with UN secretary-general Javier Pérez de Cuéllar in New York was also canceled.

With nothing else to do, Moi was left with no choice and was forced to board a flight back home.

According to Sunday Nation, on his way back, he was in such a foul mood that none of the senior officials who had accompanied him went near him for fear that he would strike them with his ivory trademark ‘rungu’.

Moi with his trademark rungu

Kenyan authorities consequently canceled the work permit for the Nairobi-based Washington Post reporter.

However, Moi ate the humble pie when the US declared it was unhappy with the expulsion of the journalist.

In an unlikely turn of events, Moi personally telephoned Blaine Harden and extended his work permit by 2 years.


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