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Moody Awori: Vice President Who Ensured Prisoners Were Treated With Dignity, His Rich Legacy

By Prudence Minayo

Born on 5th December 1928, Arthur Moody Awori is a retired Kenyan politician famously known for his tenure as vice president of Kenya from 2003 to 2008. Apart from his flamboyant dressing, he is known for championing for and bringing prison reforms. This enabled prisoners to live in humane conditions and participate in various activities including sports, watching television and visitations from family. He was also known for being a big champion of the physically disabled in the country. 

Here is the story of the soft spoken former VP fondly known as ‘Uncle Moody’ as told by WoK

Background and Education 

Moody Awori was born in Butere to canon Jeremiah Awori and Mariamu Awori.

He was one of their 16 children. An alumnus  of both Mang’u High School and Kakamega School, he pursued higher education at Makerere University. He also holds an honorary doctor of law degree from the Southern New Hampshire University in the United States. 


In 1984, he won the Funyula constituency parliamentary seat. He also went on to serve as an assistant minister during the rule of the late Hon. Daniel Arap Moi presidency. 

In 2002, he left KANU for NARC where he served as the chairman of its top decision making body. When the NARC party won the election, the then President Mwai Kibaki appointed him Minister for Home Affairs. Following the death of Michael Kijana Wamalwa, he became the vice president of Kenya. He lost his Funyula parliamentary seat in December 2007 and was succeeded by Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka as vice president in 2008. 

Following these elections, he stayed out of the limelight. On the eve of his 91st birthday, former president Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him chairman of the Sports Fund Board . The president said the younger people had failed to stop the theft of public funds, hence, the reason for appointing Uncle Moody, as he is known to many. 

The former politician is also the founder chairman of the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya. He also became a member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. 


The former VP is a holder of both the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) and Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH).

Daily Routine

In a past interview, the respected leader revealed that he wakes up at 4:30 am and without fail does 30 press ups, floor exercises and stretches.

“I lie on my back and then I flip over until my feet touch the ground. Then I get up and do that again… 150 times,” the then 89 year old told the Daily Nation.

He takes a cumulative 25 kilometres walk from Monday to Friday and does 20 laps everyday around his swimming every day.

“I walk without fail. Even when it is raining heavily I have no excuse because I have a raincoat and waterproof walking shoes,” he told the daily.


The Makerere University alumnus wrote an autobiography titled Riding on a Tiger. He said he wrote the book to prevent people from distorting the truth once he died. He said people have a way of telling lies when a famous person dies  

“The reason I wrote this book is simply that every time a public figure passes away and there is a funeral, people come and tell lies. I thought that before my time comes (to die), let me tell people what actually happened,” he was quoted by Nation during the book’s launch. 

He credited his family for being a key force behind his success. 

Successful Siblings 

His father was a renowned canon who has a street in Kakamega named after him. He is credited with establishing over one hundred churches in Western Kenya. It is no surprise that his children went on to dominate various fields in the country, from medicine, education, engineering to politics. His siblings include: 

A woman of many firsts, his sister Mary Okello is the founder of Makini School and was Kenya’s first female bank manager.  

WWW Awori, the elder brother, was a pioneer trade unionist and politician. 

An experienced professor, his brother Nelson Wanyama, led the team that did black Africa’s first successful Kidney transplant at the Nairobi Hospital in 1978. 

Hannington Ochwada, his other brother, was among the first civil engineers in the country. 

Rhoda Awori served as a teacher if Agriculture 

Winfred Odera started a successful catering college. 

Aggrey Awori was the first Harvard student to win the long jump, hurdle and sixty yard dash. He went on to be a politician in Uganda. 


The former Funyula constituency MP is married to Rose Awori and they are blessed with five children, two sons and three daughters.

Uncle Moody, his wife and children Photoimage/Courtesy