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Mwai Kibaki

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Mwai Kibaki

Mwai Kibaki
3rd President of Kenya
In office
30 December 2002 – 9 April 2013
Vice President Michael Wamalwa
Moody Awori
Kalonzo Musyoka
Prime Minister Raila Odinga (2008–2013)
Preceded by Daniel arap Moi
Succeeded by Uhuru Kenyatta
4th Vice President of Kenya
In office
14 October 1978 – 24 March 1988
President Daniel arap Moi
Preceded by Daniel arap Moi
Succeeded by Josephat Karanja
Minister for Finance
In office
Preceded by James Gichuru
Succeeded by Arthur Magugu
Member of Parliament
for Othaya
In office
1974 – January 2013
Preceded by Kega Muthua
Succeeded by Mary Wambui
Personal details
Born Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki[1]
(1931-11-15) 15 November 1931
Gatuyaini, Kenya Colony
Nationality Kenyan
Political party PNU
Spouse(s) Lucy Kibaki (m. 1962)
Alma mater Makerere University
London School of Economics
Religion Catholicism

Mwai Kibaki, C.G.H. (born 15 November 1931) is a Kenyan politician. He was the third President of Kenya, serving from December 2002 to April 2013.

Kibaki was previously Vice-President of Kenya for ten years from 1978 to 1988 under President Daniel arap Moi. He also held cabinet ministerial positions in the Kenyatta and Moi governments, including time as minister for Finance (1969–1981) under Kenyatta, and Minister for Home Affairs (1982–1988) and Minister for Health (1988–1991) under Moi.[2]

Kibaki served as an opposition Member of Parliament from 1992 to 2002. He unsuccessfully stood as a presidential candidate in 1992 and 1997. He served as the Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament from 1998 to 2002. In the 2002 presidential election, he was elected as President of Kenya.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political career prior to presidency 2
    • 1960–2002 2.1
    • 2002 elections 2.2
  • Presidency 3
    • 2002: Swearing-in, end of KANU rule, retirement of Moi 3.1
    • Leadership style 3.2
    • First term health issues 3.3
    • 2003: Free primary education 3.4
    • 2005: Constitutional referendum, the NARC fallout and government of national unity 3.5
    • 2007: Elections 3.6
    • 2007–2008: Results dispute and post-election violence 3.7
    • 2008: National accord and Grand Coalition Government 3.8
    • Economic legacy: turnaround 3.9
    • Political legacy 3.10
    • Failure to tame corruption 3.11
    • 2010 Constitution 3.12
    • 2013: Power handover 3.13
  • Personal life 4
  • Honours and awards 5
    • Honorary degrees 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Kibaki was born in 1931 in Gatuyaini village, Othaya division of Kenya's then Nyeri District, now Nyeri County . He is the youngest son of Kikuyu peasants Kibaki Gĩthĩnji and Teresia Wanjikũ. Though baptised as Emilio Stanley by Italian missionaries in his youth, he has been known as Mwai Kibaki throughout his public life.[3]

Family oral history maintains that his early education was made possible by his much older brother-in-law, Paul Muruthi, who insisted that young Mwai should go to school instead of spending his days grazing his father's sheep and cattle and baby-sitting his little nephews and nieces for his older sister. Kibaki turned out to be an exemplary student. He attended Gatuyainĩ School for the first two years, where he completed what was then called Sub "A" and sub "B" (the equivalent of standard one and two or first and second grade). He later joined Karima mission school for the three more classes of primary school. He later moved to Mathari School (now Nyeri High School) between 1944 and 1946 for Standard four to six, where, in addition to his academic studies, he learnt carpentry and masonry as students would repair furniture and provide material for maintaining the school's buildings. He also grew his own food as all students in the school were expected to do, and earned extra money during the school holidays by working as a conductor on buses operated by the defunct Othaya African Bus Union. After Karima Primary and Nyeri Boarding primary schools, he proceeded to Mang'u High School where he studied between 1947 and 1950. He passed with a maximum of six points in his "O" level examination.[4]

Influenced by the veterans of the First and Second World Wars in his native village, Kibaki considered becoming a soldier in his final year in Mang'u. However, a ruling by the Chief colonial secretary, Walter Coutts, which barred the recruitment of the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities into the army, put paid to his military aspirations. Kibaki instead attended Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he studied Economics, History and Political Science, and graduated best in his class in 1955 with a First Class Honours Degree (BA) in Economics.[4] After his graduation, Kibaki took up an appointment as Assistant Sales Manager Shell Company of East Africa, Uganda Division. During the same year, he earned a scholarship entitling him to postgraduate studies in any British University. He consequently enrolled at the prestigious London School of Economics for a B.Sc. in public finance, graduating with a distinction. He went back to Makerere in 1958 where he taught as an Assistant Lecturer in the economics department until 1960.[4] In 1962, Kibaki married Lucy Muthoni, the daughter of a Church Minister, who was then a secondary school Head Teacher.[4]

Political career prior to presidency


In early 1960, Mwai Kibaki left academia for active politics by giving up his job at Makerere and returning to Kenya to become executive officer of Kenya African National Union (KANU), at the request of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (who went on to become Kenya's first Vice President). Kibaki then helped to draft Kenya's independence constitution.

In 1963, Kibaki was elected as Member of Parliament for Donholm Constituency (subsequently called Bahati and now known as Makadara) in Nairobi.[5] His election was the start of a long political career. In 1963 Kibaki was appointed the Permanent Secretary for the Treasury.[6] Appointed Assistant Minister of Finance and chairman of the Economic Planning Commission in 1963, he was promoted to Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1966.[7] In 1969, he became Minister of Finance and Economic Planning where he served until 1982.[8]

In 1974, Kibaki, facing serious competition for his Doonholm Constituency seat from a Mrs. Jael Mbogo, whom he had only narrowly and controversially beaten for the seat in the 1969 elections,[9] moved his political base from Nairobi to his rural home, Othaya, where he was subsequently elected as Member of Parliament. The same year Time magazine rated him among the top 100 people in the world who had the potential to lead. He has been re-elected Member of Parliament for Othaya in the subsequent elections of 1979, 1983, 1988, 1992,1997,2002 and 2007.[10]

When Daniel arap Moi succeeded Jomo Kenyatta as President of Kenya in 1978, Kibaki was elevated to Vice Presidency, and kept the Finance portfolio until Moi changed his ministerial portfolio from Finance to Home Affairs in 1982. When Kibaki was the minister of Finance Kenya enjoyed a period of relative prosperity, fuelled by a commodities boom, especially coffee, with remarkable fiscal discipline and sound monetary policies.[11]

Kibaki fell out of favour with President Moi in March 1988, and was dropped as Vice President and moved to the Ministry of Health.[10][11] He seemingly took the demotion in his stride without much ado.

Kibaki's political style during these years was described as gentlemanly and non-confrontational. This style exposed him to criticism that he was a spineless, or even cowardly, politician who never took a stand: according to one joke, "He never saw a fence he didn't sit on".[12] He also, as the political circumstances of the time dictated, projected himself as a loyal stalwart of the ruling single party, KANU. In the months before multi-party politics were introduced in 1992, he infamously declared that agitating for multi-party democracy and trying to dislodge KANU from power was like "trying to cut down a fig tree with a razor blade".[12]

It was therefore with great surprise that the country received the news of Kibaki's resignation from government and leaving KANU on Christmas Day in December 1991, only days after the repeal of Section 2A of the Constitution, which restored the multi-party system of government. Soon after his resignation, Kibaki founded the Democratic Party (DP)[13] and entered the presidential race in the upcoming multi-party elections of 1992. He was criticised as a "johnny come lately" opportunist who, unlike his two main opposition presidential election opponents in that year, Kenneth Matiba and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was taking advantage of multipartyism despite not having fought for it.

Kibaki came third in the subsequent presidential elections of 1992, when the divided opposition lost to president Moi and KANU despite having received more than two thirds of the vote. He then came second to Moi in the 1997 elections, when again, Moi beat a divided opposition to retain the presidency.[14] In January 1998, Kibaki became the leader of the official opposition with the Democratic Party being the official opposition party in Parliament.

2002 elections

In preparation for the 2002 elections, Kibaki's Democratic Party affiliated with several other opposition parties to form National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK). A group of disappointed KANU presidential aspirants then quit KANU in protest after being overlooked by outgoing President Moi when Moi had founding Father Jomo Kenyatta's son, Uhuru Kenyatta (now Kibaki's successor as Kenya's 4th President after the 2013 General Election), nominated to be the KANU presidential candidate, and hurriedly formed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). NAK later combined with the LDP to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). On 14 October 2002, at a large opposition rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, Kibaki was nominated the NARC opposition alliance presidential candidate after Raila Odinga made the famous declaration, Kibaki Tosha![15]

On 3 December 2002, Kibaki was injured in a road accident while on his way back to Nairobi from a campaign meeting at Machakos junction 40 kilometres (25 miles) From Nairobi. He was subsequently hospitalised in Nairobi, then London, after sustaining fracture injuries in the accident.[16] He still walks rather awkwardly as a result of those injuries. The rest of his presidential campaign was thus conducted by his NARC colleagues in his absence, led by Raila Odinga and the late Kijana Wamalwa (who went on to become the Vice President) who campaigned tirelessly for Kibaki after stating, "The captain has been injured in the field... but the rest of the team shall continue."[16]

On 27 December 2002, Kibaki and NARC won a landslide victory over KANU, with Kibaki getting 62% of the votes in the presidential elections, against only 31% for the KANU candidate Uhuru Kenyatta.[17]


Presidential Standard of Mwai Kibaki

2002: Swearing-in, end of KANU rule, retirement of Moi

On 29 December 2002, still nursing injuries from the motor vehicle accident and in a wheel chair, Mwai Kibaki was sworn-in as the third President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya. At his inauguration, he stressed his opposition to government corruption: "Government will no longer be run on the whims of individuals." he said[18]

Thus ended four decades of KANU rule, KANU having hitherto ruled Kenya since independence.

Kenya's 2nd President, Daniel Arap Moi, who had been in power for 24 years since 1978 as an African Big man (political science) President, also began his retirement.

Leadership style

President Kibaki's style was that of a low key publicity averse but highly intelligent and competent technocrat. This contrasted sharply with the hitherto populist buffoonish strongman big-man style of his predecessor and of many other African leaders.[19]

He, unlike his predecessors, never tried to establish a personality cult;[20] never had his portrait on every unit of Kenya's currency; never had all manner of streets, places and institutions named after him,;[20] never had state sanctioned praise songs composed in his honour; never dominated news bulletins with reports of his presidential activities - however routine or mundane; and never engaged in the populist sloganeering of his predecessors.[19]

President Mwai Kibaki meets with Adm. William J. Fallon, Commander of U.S. Central Command

His style of a seemingly aloof withdrawn technocrat or intellectual did however make him seem out of touch with the street,[21] and his seemingly hands-off leadership by delegation style made his governments, especially at cabinet level, seem dysfunctional.[22]

First term health issues

It is widely acknowledged that age and the 2002 accident denied the country the witty, sporty, eloquent Kibaki of the previous years. A man who could make lengthy and flowery contributions on the floor of Parliament without notes was confined to reading speeches at every forum.[23]

In late January 2003, it was announced that the President had been admitted to Nairobi Hospital to have a blood clot – the after-effect of his car accident – removed from his leg. He came out of hospital and addressed the public outside the hospital on TV in a visibly incoherent manner,and speculation since then is that he had suffered a stroke, his second, the first being said to have occurred sometimes in the 1970s.[24] His subsequent ill health greatly diminished his performance during his first term and the affairs of government during that time are said to have been largely run by a group of loyal aides, both in and out of government.[24][25] Kibaki did not look well, for instance, when he appeared live on TV on 25 September 2003 to appoint Moody Awori Vice President after the death[26] in office of Vice President, Michael Wamalwa Kijana.

2003: Free primary education

In January 2003, Kibaki introduced a free primary education initiative, which brought over 1 million children who would not have been able to afford school the chance to attend.[27] The initiative received positive attention, including praise from Bill Clinton, who would travel to Kenya to meet Kibaki.[28][29]

2005: Constitutional referendum, the NARC fallout and government of national unity

The 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum was held on 21 November 2005. The main issue of contention in the Constitution review process was how much power should be vested in the Kenyan Presidency. In previous drafts, those who feared a concentration of power in the president added provisions for European-style power-sharing between a ceremonial President elected via universal suffrage and an executive Prime Minister elected by Parliament. The draft presented by the Attorney General Amos Wako for the referendum retained sweeping powers for the Presidency.[30]

President Kibaki in 2005

Though Kibaki the proposal, some members of his own cabinet, mainly from the LDP wing led by Raila Odinga, allied with the main opposition party KANU to mobilise a powerful NO campaign that resulted in a majority of 58% of voters rejecting the draft.[31]

As a consequence of, and immediately after, the referendum loss, on 23 November 2005, Kibaki dismissed his entire cabinet in the middle of his administration's term, with the aim of purging all Raila-allied ministers from the cabinet.[32] About his decision Kibaki said, "Following the results of the Referendum, it has become necessary for me, as the President of the Republic, to re-organise my Government to make it more cohesive and better able to serve the people of Kenya". The only members of the cabinet office to be spared a midterm exit were the Vice President and Minister of Home Affairs, Moody Awori, and the Attorney General whose position is constitutionally protected. A new cabinet of Kibaki loyalists, including MPs from the opposition, termed the Government of National Unity (GNU), was thereafter appointed, but some MPs who were offered ministerial positions declined to take up posts.[33]

A report by a Kenyan Commission of Inquiry, the Waki Commission, contextualises some issues. They reported that Kibaki, after agreeing to an informal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create the post of Prime Minister, reneged on this pact after being elected. They cite criticism of Kibaki neglecting his pre-election agreement, leaving the public to identify it as an attempt by the Kibaki Government to "keep power to itself rather than share it."[34]

2007: Elections

On 26 January 2007, President Kibaki declared his intention of running for re-election in the 2007 presidential election.[35] On 16 September 2007, Kibaki announced that he would stand as the candidate of a new alliance incorporating all the parties who supported his re-election, called the Party of National Unity. The parties in his alliance included the much diminished former ruling KANU,[36][37] DP, Narc-Kenya, Ford-Kenya, Ford People, and Shirikisho.[37]

Kibaki's main opponent, Raila Odinga, had used the referendum victory to launch the ODM, which nominated him as its presidential Candidate for the 2007 elections.

On 30 September 2007, a robust and much healthier President Kibaki launched his presidential campaign at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi.[38]

Kalonzo Musyoka then broke away from Raila's ODM to mount his own fringe bid for the presidency,thus narrowing down the contest between the main candidates, Kibaki, the incumbent, and Odinga.[39] Opinion polls up to election day showed Kibaki behind Raila Odinga nationally, but closing. On regional analysis, the polls showed him behind Raila in all regions of the country except Central Province, Embu and Meru,where he was projected to take most of the votes, and behind Kalonzo Musyoka in Kalonzo's native Ukambani.[40][41] It was thus projected to be a close election between Kibaki and Raila.

The election was held on 27 December 2007.

2007–2008: Results dispute and post-election violence

Three days later, after a protracted count which saw presidential results in Kibaki's Central Kenya come in last, allegedly inflated,in a cloud of suspicion and rising tensions, amid vehement protests by Raila's ODM,overnight re-tallying of results and chaotic scenes, all beamed live on TV, at the national tallying center at the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi,riot police eventually sealed off the tallying Center ahead of the result announcement, evicted party agents, observers and the media,[42] and moved the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Samuel Kivuitu,to another room where Kivuitu went on to declare Kibaki the winner by 4,584,721 votes to Odinga's 4,352,993,[43] placing Kibaki ahead of Odinga by about 232,000 votes in the hotly contested election with Kalonzo Musyoka a distant third.[44]

One hour later, in a hastily convened dusk ceremony, Kibaki was sworn in at the grounds of State House Nairobi for his second term, defiantly calling for the "verdict of the people" to be respected and for "healing and reconciliation" to begin. This arose tension and led to protests by a huge number of Kenyans who felt that Kibaki had refused to respect the verdict of the people and was now forcibly remaining in office.[45][46][47]

Immediately the results were announced, Odinga bitterly accused Kibaki of electoral fraud.[48] Odinga's allegations scored with his supporters, and seemed meritorious since the results had defied pre-election polls and expectations[49] and election day exit polls.[50] Furthermore, Odinga, who had campaigned against the concentration of political power in the hands of Kikuyu politicians,[51][52] had won the votes of most of the other Kenyan tribes and regions,[53] with Kibaki's victory being attained only with the near exclusive support of the populous Kikuyu, Meru and Embu communities-who had turned up to vote for Kibaki in large numbers after feeling,in reaction to the Odinga campaign, and with the covert encouragement of the Kibaki campaign, increasingly besieged and threatened by the pro-Odinga tribes. Moreover, ODM had won the most parliamentary and local authority seats by a wide margin.[54] A joint statement by the British Foreign Office and Department for International Development cited "real concerns" over irregularities, while international observers refused to declare the election free and fair. The European Union chief observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, cited one constituency where his monitors saw official results for Kibaki that were 25,000 votes lower than the figure subsequently announced by the Electoral Commission, leading him to doubt the accuracy of the announced results.[55]

It was reported that Kibaki, who had previously been perceived as an "old-school gentleman", had "revealed a steely side" when he swore himself in within an hour of being announced the victor of the highly contested election—one where the results were largely in question.[56][57] Odinga's supporters said he would be declared president at a rival ceremony on Monday, but police banned the event. Koki Muli, the head of local watchdog, the Institute of Education in Democracy, said called the day the " the history of democracy in this country" and "a coup d'etat."[58]

Opposition supporters saw the result as a plot by Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, Kenya's largest, to keep power by any means.[52][59][60] The tribes that lost the election were upset at the prospect of five years without political power, and anti-Kikuyu sentiment swelled,[34][51] spawning the 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis, as violence broke out in several places in the country, started by the ODM supporters protesting the "stealing" of their "victory", and subsequently escalating as the targeted Kikuyus retaliated.[34][61][62] As unrest spread, television and radio stations were instructed to stop all live broadcasts. There was widespread theft, vandalism, looting and destruction of property, and a significant number of atrocities, killings[63] and sexual violence reported.

The violence continued for more than two months, as Kibaki ruled with "half" a cabinet he had appointed,[64] with Odinga and ODM refusing to recognise him as president.[65]

When the election was eventually investigated by the Independent Review Commission (IREC) on the 2007 Elections chaired by Justice Johann Kriegler, it was found that there were too many electoral malpractices from several regions perpetrated by all the contesting parties to conclusively establish which candidate won the December 2007 Presidential elections. Such malpractices included widespread bribery, vote buying, intimidation and ballot stuffing by both sides, as well as incompetence from the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), which was shortly thereafter disbanded by the new Parliament.[66]

2008: National accord and Grand Coalition Government

The Country was only saved by the mediation of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan with a Panel of "Eminent African Personalities" backed by the African Union, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Following the mediation, a deal, called the national accord, was signed in February 2008 between Raila Odinga and Kibaki,now referred to as the "two Principals". The accord, later passed by the Kenyan Parliament as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 provided inter alia for power-sharing, with Kibaki remaining President and Raila Odinga taking a newly re-created post of Prime Minister.

On 17 April 2008, Raila Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister, along with a power-sharing Cabinet, with 42 ministers and 50 assistant ministers, Kenya's largest ever. The cabinet was fifty percent Kibaki appointed ministers and fifty percent Raila appointed ministers, and was in reality a carefully balanced ethnic coalition. The arrangement, which also included Kalonzo Musyoka as Vice President, was known as the "Grand Coalition Government".[67]

Economic legacy: turnaround

The Kibaki presidency set itself the main task of reviving and turning round country after years of stagnation and economic mis-management during the Moi years[68] – a feat faced with several challenges, including the aftermath of the Nyayo Era (Moi Presidency), western donor fatigue, the President's ill health during his first term, political tension culminating in the break-up of the NARC coalition, the 2007-2008 post election violence,the 2007-2008 Global Financial crisis, and a tenuous relationship with his coalition partner, Raila Odinga, during his second term.

President Mwai Kibaki with, from left to right, Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi at an East African Community Head of States Meeting

President Kibaki, the economist whose term as Finance minister in the 1970s is widely celebrated as outstanding, did much as President to repair the damage done to the country's economy during the 24-year reign of his predecessor, President Moi. Compared to the Moi years, Kenya was much better managed, by far more competent public sector personnel, and was much transformed.[69]

Kenya's economy in the Kibaki years experienced a major turnaround.GDP growth picked up from a low 0.6% (real −1.6%) in 2002 to 3% in 2003, 4.9% in 2004, 5.8% in 2005, 6% in 2006 and 7% 2007, then after the post election chaos and Global Financial Crisis—2008 (1.7%)and 2009 (2.6%), recovered to 5% in 2010 and 5% in 2011.[70]

Development was resumed in all areas of the country, including the hitherto neglected and largely undeveloped semi-arid or arid north.[71][72] Many sectors of the economy recovered from total collapse pre-2003.[73] Numerous state corporations that had collapsed during the Moi years were revived and have begun performing profitably.[74] The telecommunications sector boomed. Rebuilding, modernisation and expansion of infrastructure began in earnest, with several ambitious infrastructural and other projects,such as the Thika Superhighway, which would have been seen as unattainable pipe dreams during the bland and largely stagnant Moi years, completed.[74][75][76] The country's cities and towns also began being positively renewed and transformed.

The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was also introduced in 2003. The fund was designed to support constituency-level, grass-root development projects.[77] It was aimed to achieve equitable distribution of development resources across regions and to control imbalances in regional development brought about by partisan politics.[78] It targeted all constituency-level development projects, particularly those aiming to combat poverty at the grassroots.[79] The CDF program has facilitated the putting up of new water, health and education facilities in all parts of the country including remote areas that were usually overlooked during funds allocation in national budgets.[80] CDF was the first step towards the devolved system of government introduced by the 2010 Constitution, by which Local Government structures were Constitutionally redesigned, enhanced and strengthened.[81]

President Kibaki also oversaw the creation of Kenya's Vision 2030, a long term development plan aimed at raising GDP growth to 10% annually and transforming Kenya into a middle income country by 2030, which he unveiled on 30 October 2006.[82][83]

President Mwai Kibaki with, from left to right, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete during the 8th EAC summit in Arusha

The Kibaki regime also saw a reduction of Kenya's dependence on western donor aid, with the country being increasingly funded by internally generated resources such as increased tax revenue collection.[84][85] Relations with China, Japan and other non-western powers improved and expanded remarkably in the Kibaki years.[86][87] China and Japan especially,the Asian Tigers such as Malaysia and Singapore, Brazil, the Middle East and to a lesser extent, South Africa, Libya, other African Countries, and even Iran, became increasingly important economic partners.[88][89][90]

President Mwai Kibaki with the British Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham, Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman David Wootton and Minister of Trade Moses Wetangula at the Kenya Investment Conference in London, 31 July 2012

Political legacy

President Kibaki was accused of ruling with a small group of his elderly peers, mainly from the educated side of the Kikuyu elite that emerged in the Kenyatta era, usually referred to as the "Kitchen Cabinet"[19] or the "Mount Kenya Mafia".[91] There was therefore the perception that his was a Kikuyu presidency . This perception was reinforced when the President was seen to have trashed the pre- 2002 election Memorandum of Understanding with the Raila Odinga led Liberal Democratic Party,[92] and was further reinforced by his disputed 2007 election victory over the Raila Odinga led ODM Party being achieved nearly exclusively with the votes of the populous Mt. Kenya Kikuyu, Meru and Embu communities.[93]

The Commission of Inquiry Into Post Election Violence (CIPEV) put it thus:

The post election violence [in early 2008]therefore is, in part, a consequence of the failure of President Kibaki and his first Government to exert political control over the country or to maintain sufficient legitimacy as would have allowed a civilised contest with him at the polls to be possible. Kibaki's regime failed to unite the country, and allowed feelings of marginalisation to fester into what became the post election violence. He and his then Government were complacent in the support they considered they would receive in any election from the majority Kikuyu community and failed to heed the views of the legitimate leaders of other communities.[94]

Critics posit that President Kibaki failed to take advantage of the 2002 popular mandate for a complete break with the past and fix the politics largely mobilised along ethnic interests. "... when we achieved and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to re-make in the likeness of the former world they knew."[21] Elected in 2002 on a reform platform,[23] Kibaki was seen to have re-established the status quo ante.[95] His opponents charged that a major aim of his presidency was the preservation of the privileged position of the elite that emerged during the Kenyatta years, of which he was part.[19][96]

I the sum total, the Kibaki Presidency did not do nearly enough to address the problem of tribalism in Kenya .

Lawyer George Kegoro, in an article published in the Daily Nation Newspaper on April 12, 2013[97] summarized the Kibaki Political Legacy thus:-

"Kibaki was, by far, a better manager of the economy than Moi before him. He brought order to the management of public affairs, a departure from the rather informal style that characterised the Moi regime. Kibaki's push for free primary education remains an important achievement, as will the revival of key economic institutions such as the Kenya Meat Commission and the Kenya Cooperative Creameries, ruined during the Moi-era. ... However, Kibaki was not all success. Having come to power in 2003 on an anti-corruption platform, he set up two commissions, the Bosire Commission on the Goldenberg scandal and the Ndung'u Commission, which investigated irregular land allocation.However, the reports were not implemented. Further, the Kibaki administration was rocked by a corruption scandal of its own, the Anglo Leasing scam, involving his close associates.John Githongo, an inspired appointment by Kibaki for an anti-corruption czar, resigned from the government in 2005, citing lack of support from the president. As he leaves office, therefore, the fight against corruption remains unfulfilled. ... But, perhaps, the most controversial aspect of the Kibaki tenure will always be his relationship with senior politicians of his day, particularly Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.The context of this complex relationship includes the post-election violence of 2007, whose roots go back to the dishonoured Memorandum of Understanding between Kibaki and Raila in 2002.The quarrel over the MoU directly led to the break-up of the Narc government, after which Kibaki showed Odinga the door and invited the opposition to rule with him.The effect was that the opposition, rejected at the polls, joined government while Raila's faction, validly elected to power, was consigned to the opposition. ... To the supporters of Raila and Kalonzo, Kibaki will be remembered as a person who did not keep political promises."
President Mwai Kibaki with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Nairobi, Kenya

Writing in the opposition leaning Star newspaper, veteran opposition politician and establishment critic Koigi Wamwere, in a scathingly critical article dated 5 January 2013, wrote:[97]

Overall, President Kibaki has been a weak leader who suppressed his conscience to survive dangers of one-party dictatorship. To get along Kibaki has never taken risks of leadership that are associated with leaders like

Failure to tame corruption

Though president Kibaki was never personally accused of corruption,[98] and managed to virtually end the grabbing of public land rampant in the Moi and Kenyatta eras, he was unable to adequately contain Kenya's widely entrenched culture of endemic corruption.[99][100][101]

The forty shilling coin with President Mwai Kibaki's Portrait Inscription

Michela Wrong describes the situation thus:[21]

"Whether expressed in the petty bribes the average Kenyan had to pay each week to fat-bellied policemen and local councillors, the jobs for the boys doled out by civil servants and politicians on strictly tribal lines, or the massive scams perpetrated by the country's ruling elite, corruption had become endemic. 'Eating', as Kenyans dubbed the gorging on state resources by the well-connected, had crippled the nation. In the corruption indices drawn up by the anti-graft organisation Transparency International, Kenya routinely trail[s] near the bottom ... viewed as only slightly less sleazy than Nigeria or Pakistan ..."

The Daily Nation, in an article published on March 4, 2013 titled "End of a decade of highs and lows for Mwai Kibaki" summarised it thus:

For a leader who was popularly swept into power in 2002 on an anti-corruption platform, Kibaki's tenure saw graft scandals where hundreds of millions of shillings were siphoned from public coffers.Kibaki's National Rainbow Coalition — which took power from the authoritarian rule of Daniel arap Moi—was welcomed for its promises of change and economic growth, but soon showed that it was better suited to treading established paths. The initial response to corruption was very solid ... but it became clear after a while that these scams reached all the way to the president himself," said Kenya's former anti-corruption chief John Githongo in Michela Wrong's book It's Our Turn to Eat. Most notorious of a raft of graft scandals was the multi-billion shilling Anglo Leasing case, which emerged in 2004 and involved public cash being paid to a complicated web of foreign companies for a range of services—including naval ships and passports—that never materialised."[102]

2010 Constitution

However, the passage of Kenya's transformational 2010 Constitution, successfully championed by President Kibaki in the Kenyan constitutional referendum in 2010 was a major triumph and achievement, which went a long way into addressing Kenya's governance and institutional challenges . With the new Constitution started wide ranging institutional and legislative reforms, which President Kibaki skillfully and successfully steered in the final years of this presidency."His greatest moment was the promulgation of the new Constitution... It was a very deep and emotional moment for him," Kibaki's son Jimmy was quoted as saying.[103]

2013: Power handover

A proud looking but rather worn President Kibaki handed over the Kenyan presidency to his successor, Uhuru Kenyatta, on 9 April 2013 at a public inauguration ceremony held at Kenya's largest stadium. "I am happy to pass the torch of leadership to the new generation of leaders", said Kibaki. He also thanked his family and all Kenyans for the support they had given him throughout his tenure in office, and cited the various achievements his government.[104]

The handover marked the end of his presidency and of his 50 years of public service.[105]

Personal life

Mwai Kibaki and Mrs. Kibaki with U.S. President Laura Bush at the White House during a state visit in 2003.

President Kibaki is married to former First Lady of Kenya Lucy Muthoni. They have four children: Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai, and Tony Githinji. They also have three grandchildren: Joy Jamie Marie, Mwai Junior and Krystina Muthoni.[106] Jimmy Kibaki did have, so far unsuccessful, designs to be his father's political heir.[107]

In 2004, the media reported that Kibaki has a second spouse, whom he allegedly married under customary law, Mary Wambui, and a daughter, Wangui Mwai. State House in response released an unsigned statement that Kibaki's only immediate family is his wife, Lucy and their four children.[108] In 2009, Kibaki, with Lucy in close attendance, held an odd press conference to re-state publicly that he only has one wife.[109] The matter of Kibaki's alleged mistress, and his wife's usually dramatic public reactions thereto, provided an embarrassing side-show during his presidency, with the Washington Post[110] terming the entire scandal as a "new Kenyan soap opera".

Ms. Wambui, the rather popular "other woman", who enjoyed the state trappings of a Presidential spouse and became a powerful and wealthy business-woman during the Kibaki Presidency,[111] frequently drove Lucy into episodes of highly embarrassing very publicly displayed rage.[112] Ms. Wambui, despite opposition from Kibaki's family, led publicly by Kibaki's son, Jimmy, and despite Kibaki's public endorsement and campaign for her opponent, succeeded Kibaki as Member of Parliament for Othaya in the 2013 General Election.[113] In December 2014, Senator Bonny Khalwale stated on KTN's Jeff Koinange Live that President Kibaki had introduced Wambui as his wife.[114]

Kibaki enjoys playing golf and is a member of the Muthaiga Golf Club.[115] He is a practicing member of the Roman Catholic Church.

Honours and awards

Honorary degrees

University Country Honour Year
University of Nairobi  Kenya Doctor of Letters 2004[116]
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology  Kenya Doctor of Science ?[117]
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology  Kenya Doctor of Science 2008[118]
University of Nairobi  Kenya Doctor of Laws 2008[119]
Kenyatta University  Kenya Doctor of Education 2010[120]
Makerere University  Uganda Doctor of Laws 2012[121]
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology  Kenya Doctor of Humane Letters 2013[122]


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External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Mwai Kibaki official website
  • Profile of His Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki
  • Profile of President Mwai Kibaki
Political offices
Preceded by
Daniel arap Moi
Vice President of Kenya
Succeeded by
Josephat Karanja
President of Kenya
Succeeded by
Uhuru Kenyatta
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