Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has died at age 90

Chukwuebuka Festus

Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s third president has died at 90.

President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed the death of Mr Kibaki in a statement on Friday.

He said the country would observe a period of national mourning from Friday until his burial.

Mr Kenya described the former president as “the gentleman of Kenyan politics” and recalled “his dignity, his diligence, candour, and concern for the well-being of all Kenyans.”

“Kibaki was a quintessential patriot whose legacy of civic responsibility will continue to inspire generations of Kenyans long into our future,” Mr Kenyatta said.

A household name in Kenyan politics, Mr Kibaki’s political career spanned decades, including serving as vice president to Daniel Moi, the man he replaced as president of the East African nation in 2002.

Mwai Kibaki

What he will be remembered for

He was an economist and golf player who will be remembered for leading a new constitution that brought hope for change.

Mr Kibaki led Kenya during a period of robust economic growth and major infrastructure developments.

He will also be remembered for the most violent election in the country’s history, when more than 1,200 people died in bloody ethnic battles after the disputed 2007 polls.

His early life, education and political participation

The late Mr Kibaki was born on November 15, 1931 in Nyeri, on the slopes of Mount Kenya.

During his youth, he learned carpentry and masonry, and would help repair furniture at the boarding schools he attended.

After graduating from the high-achieving Mangu High School in Kenya, he went to the prestigious Makerere University in Uganda – at the time described as the “Harvard University of Africa.”

He studied economics and political science at Makerere, and also served as the vice president of the student union.

He later attended the London School of Economics, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in public finance. He returned to his alma mater, Makerere, and taught in the economics department.

Mr Kibaki quit his job as a professor to join politics, serving in roles including Member of Parliament and minister of commerce, as well as finance minister.

He was appointed vice president in 1978 – when Mr Moi took over the reins following the death of Jomo Kenyatta.

Mr Kibaki had unsuccessfully vied for the presidency twice, in 1991 and 1997, before he was finally elected.

Source: Premiumtimes

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