NAIROBI, KENYA, JUNE 11 -- "Moi here," said the gravelly voice at the other end of the phone line. The president of Kenya then asked me if I knew where to find State House, his sprawling executive mansion.
When I said I did, he laughed and asked me to come along at 8 o'clock in the morning.
At 7:58 this morning, I opened the sound-proof double doors of the president's office and found Daniel arap Moi standing alone. He is a broad-shouldered man with graying hair. He was wearing a dark suit.
He eyed my notebook, grimaced and told me to sit down.
"I do not give interviews or press conferences. I do not like to advertise myself," he said somberly.
He then explained that the letter handed to me on Tuesday -- the letter that said my presence in Kenya was "contrary to the national interest" -- was a mistake.
"Deportation," the president said, was not intended for journalists. He described it as an unpalatable option that should be reserved for "security" cases.
If the Kenyan government did not want a journalist to remain in the country, he said, it could choose not to renew his work permit. My two-year work permit expired two days ago.
"Do you want to stay in Kenya?" Moi asked.
I said I did want very much to stay in Kenya.
Moi picked up a telephone and told his secretary to "get Ncharo."
M.M. Ole Ncharo is Kenya's principal immigration officer, the man who had signed my expulsion letter. He came on the phone in less than five seconds.
Without saying hello, Moi told Ncharo that I was to be granted a work permit. "For one year," Moi said. He looked in my direction.
Hopefully, I held up two fingers.
"For two years," Moi said. He hung up the phone and reluctantly agreed to answer a few questions about human rights.
After a half-hour, he said: "I think that is enough."