Here are the things you should know about Kenyan late president Mwai Kibaki
The past weeks have been very sad for Kenyans after losing their third president Emilio Mwai Kibaki. President Kibaki died on 21st April 2022 at the age of 90. At one time, an article by The Guardian named him “one of Africa’s most media-shy leaders”.
Kibaki was born on 15th November 1931 in the village of Gatuyaini, Nyeri County. He was the youngest son of Kibaki Githinji and Teresia Wanjiku. By his wife, Lucy Kibaki (also deceased), he is survived by 4 children who are Jimmy, Judy, David and Tony.
Kibaki was a very promising student, he schooled in Mang’u High School, one of the best national schools in Kenya. He later moved to Makerere University where he graduated with first-class honours in economics. In his postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics, he specialized in public finance. He also lectured at Makerere University until 1961 when he joined politics.
After serving in ministerial positions since 1969 and being the 4th Vice president from 1978 to 1988, Kibaki ran for the presidency twice in 1992 and 1997 after the introduction of multiparty democracy. Unluckily, he lost to Moi. Between 1998 and 2002, he became the official leader of the opposition in Kenya.
Kibaki later became the president of Kenya between 2002 and 2003 where he brought fundamental changes in the political and economic sectors of the country. One of the best development was the introduction of free primary education. His presidency is also praised as one that showed respect for the judiciary and other arms of government.
In 2005, Kibaki was reported to have married a second wife, Mary Wambui, under customary laws. This was news that the then-first lady, Lucy Muthoni, did not take lightly. At one point in 2009, president Kibaki had to confess publicly that he was married to one wife and that was Lucy Kibaki.
“I want to make it very clear that I have only one dear wife, Lucy, who is here, and I do not have any other,” said Kibaki In a televised press conference. Lucy Kibaki, who at one time slapped a government official for mistakenly introducing her as Mama Lucy Wambui, was beside him standing with a stony face.
The elections in 2007, while he was running for his second term, were faced with so many irregularities that most election observers doubted the results. This was after his opponent Raila Odinga gave him a formidable opposition. Violence erupted in Kenya, 2007 post-election violence, which was later solved by the intervention of Kofi Annan and the African Union.
After the peace talks, Kibaki and Raila made a power-sharing deal that made Raila Odinga a Prime Minister. The powers of the president were also reduced heavily. During this time, which was his last term as president, Kibaki decided to build a legacy by embarking on more national economic growth. His whole presidency can be termed as a quiet and gentlemanly technocrat.
In his second term, Kibaki and Raila advocated for a new constitution that was intended to address the ethnic and political tensions that had existed in the country since independence. The constitution was voted ‘yes’ by the majority of the citizens in a referendum and Kibaki signed it into law in August 2010.
Kibaki’s death was sad news for many Kenyans. He was also mourned internationally. Everyone praised him as the best president that has ever served Kenya.