More often than not, it is short men who appear disadvantaged for various jobs such as working in the army. However, one man, Josiah Frost whose height is presumably over 6 feet was once denied a job to work as the President’s chief of protocol apparently because he was ‘taller than former President Daniel Moi.
Even though Frost would later land this job in 1997, he was poised to begin serving earlier. In a 2020 interview with Citizen TV, Frost said that he was once taken to Statehouse by a top government official with the mission remaining under tight wraps. It later turned out that Frost’s height was a tall order for him to be employed as President Moi’s chief of protocol.
“It was only later on that I was told that I was too tall to be a chief of protocol,” Frost says.
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And, there was a reason for this – being taller than the president would lead to him obscuring Moi in some of the photos taken. However, in February 1997, Frost landed this job, receiving the news via text message. The new task proved challenging as top statehouse officials among them Col. Alexander Sitienei always harassed him and wanted him to leave this job. It was until President Moi intervened that Frost got a frictionless work environment.
“My first role was very difficult because it got me at loggerheads with Mzee’s aide-de-camp (ADC) at the time, Col Alexander Sitienei, who kept telling me to move. Luckily, Mzee intervened. I think he had heard him because he told him wacha kijana afanye kazi yake,” Frost said as quoted by Nation.
Building on Interpersonal Trust With Moi
Frost directed his focus on being steadfast at work. Due to his tall height, he would occasionally sink to his knees so as to match the president’s height especially when cameras were flashing.
“I devised ways to ensure that if I happened to appear on Mzee’s photo, I’d look shorter or within his range of height. One way was by slanting my leg and the other was bending,” he reveals.
He went on to win Moi’s trust, something considered crucial given the president’s secretive demeanor. Frost says Moi treated him as his own son and there was not a single time that he complained about his work.
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“It has to do with trust. Once you had earned it, then he would let you do your job. There was not a single time he chided me and did not like the program that we made for him,” details Frost.
For 5 years as the president’s diary keeper, Frost recalls that his memorable moment was when Moi took a British Airlines flight to UK rather than a jet. It was a confidential trip that the head of state didn’t want the then head of public service to know about.
According to Frost, Moi was also a strict man who consistently kept time unlike other presidents. He was also keen at what he ate abroad and would tag along private cooks to prepare him ugali and kales while in foreign countries.
Though many people thought Moi was a teetotaler, Frost revealed that he occasionally took Black Tower and Spanish Rosily wines.
Josiah Frost Background
Owing to his robust physique, it is difficult to believe that Frost is in his 70s. Frost is the son of former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Samuel Onyango.
According to his Facebook profile, he studied at Friends School Kamusinga then proceeded to University of Nairobi to study international relations. In the late ’70s, he worked as the second secretary at Kenya High Commission in New Delhi.
He then proceeded to serve as the first secretary at the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing. Frost also worked in Geneva and Tel Aviv (Israel) prior to his appointment as chief of protocol.