Kenya’s first opposition President Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki is dead. He was 90.
Mr. Kibaki is remembered a president who ushered in a period of great economic growth in Kenya, and expanded the freedom of speech and the press. Critics, however, blame him for failing to unite Kenyans by refusing to concede defeat in the 2007 election, many Kenyans believe he lost, and almost bringing Kenya to the brink of a civil war.
President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed the nation’s condolences to the Kibaki family, while announcing his death to the nation.
“”It is my sorrowful duty to announce to the nation the passing on of H.E. Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of the Republic of Kenya. H.E. Mwai Kibaki lived a dedicated life of public service,” President Kenyatta said. “We salute a notable father-figure in the chronicles of our Nation. A leader who strove so hard and accomplished so much for his country. A nation he so deeply cherished and served with commitment and an unbending will to improve the lives of our people.”
Click here to read President Kenyatta’s PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION WITH RESPECT TO THE DEATH OF H.E. HON. EMILIO MWAI KIBAKI
MESSAGES FROM LEADERS
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who helped Mr. Kibaki to win the presidency 2002, when he declared “Kibaki Tosha” praised Mr. Kibaki as a leader who blended politics and academics to lead the nation. In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Odinga described Mr. Kibaki as a man who sought consensus.
“Kibaki believed in teamwork and professionalism. And once he gave you a ministry to run, he would leave you alone, unless you’re failing him,” Odinga recalled about Mr. Kibaki’s hands-off style of leadership.”He stood with his ministers. He stood with me on the need to repossess grabbed land so that Thick Highway Super Highway could be built.”
Odinga is currently one of the frontrunners for Kenya’s presidency, his fifth attempt.
Deputy President William Ruto also released a statement.
“A gentleman has rested, but his dreams abides,” Ruto tweeted.
“The late President, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki is (sic) a man of many excellent and colossal accomplishments,” Ruto said in a Facebook post. “A prodigious scholar, brilliant technocrat, visionary statesman, successful politician and inspired Pan-African, he left a mark everywhere he worked. In both word and deed, Mwai Kibaki expressed his vision for how we can live in freedom and prosperity by working every day toward dignity and self sufficiency.”
An economist by profession, Kibaki will be remembered for introducing free primary education.
NOTE: We’ll continue to give updates on this story. Below see the Mr. Kibaki’s euphoric swearing in ceremony in 2002.