Mwai Kibaki, Former President of Kenya, Dies at 90

NAIROBI, Kenya — Mwai Kibaki, who helped remodel Kenya’s economic system and usher in a brand new Structure as its third president, however whose tenure was marred by high-profile corruption circumstances and election-related violence, has died. He was 90.

His demise was introduced in a televised speech by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who didn’t specify a trigger or present every other particulars.

Mr. Kenyatta mentioned that flags could be flown at half-staff within the nation and at diplomatic missions worldwide, and {that a} interval of nationwide mourning could be noticed till sundown on the day Mr. Kibaki is buried. He mentioned Mr. Kibaki could be accorded a state funeral however didn’t say when.

Mr. Kibaki was the final surviving former chief who had participated in Kenya’s wrestle for independence from British colonial rule. He was preceded by Daniel arap Moi, who died in 2020, and Jomo Kenyatta, who died in 1978.

An economist by coaching, Mr. Kibaki was a college professor, a lawmaker, a cupboard minister, vp and chief of the opposition earlier than ascending to the very best workplace within the land in 2002.

Mr. Kibaki, who was often called a scholarly and cerebral determine in academia, grew to become adroit at navigating Kenya’s twisting and tense political eras. Although he might come throughout as aloof and impatient, he managed to maneuver within the political sphere for 5 a long time, changing into an institution insider whose election ended a long time of one-party rule.

His election as president was a hopeful moment for Kenya, coming after Mr. Moi’s 24-year rule, which had been defined by widespread graft and repression.

As president, Mr. Kibaki helped revive the nation’s stagnant economic system and commenced efforts to enhance entry to well being care. He pushed huge enhancements of the nation’s highways and was lauded for introducing free major college training nationwide.

However his efforts to rework the nation had been undermined by graft, which remained rife even on the highest ranges of presidency. Whilst corruption scandals continued to floor, Mr. Kibaki’s authorities didn’t correctly prosecute these concerned. His personal anticorruption czar, John Githongo, fled the nation, fearing that his life was at risk.

Nevertheless it was the 2007 elections that put Mr. Kibaki’s management to the take a look at. After the electoral fee declared him the winner in a tightly contested election, the nation descended into a wave of violence and bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war.

In the course of the upheaval, greater than 1,100 folks had been believed to have been killed and greater than 300,000 others displaced. The violence subsided solely weeks later, when the feuding political leaders settled on a power-sharing agreement.

The disaster pushed Kenya and Mr. Kibaki to revive efforts to draft a brand new Structure — voters rejected an earlier effort in a 2005 referendum — to sort out longstanding imbalances in energy and competitors for sources. In 2010, a Structure promising greater freedoms and rights for Kenyans was authorized with an virtually 70 % majority.

In a transfer that was a primary for unbiased Kenya, Mr. Kibaki sent Kenyan troops to Somalia in 2011 to battle Al Shabab, an affiliate of Al Qaeda, and to guard Kenya’s northeast border.

Emilio Mwai Kibaki was born on Nov. 15, 1931, in Gatuyaini village in central Kenya. After finishing highschool in Kenya, he studied economics, historical past and political science at Makerere College in Uganda and public finance on the London College of Economics.

Following Kenyan independence in 1963, he was a lawmaker with the Kenya African Nationwide Union social gathering, which preached what it referred to as African socialism. He later served as finance minister for greater than a decade, from 1969 to 1981, and was Mr. Moi’s vp from 1978 to 1988.

As Kenyans agitated for multiparty democracy within the Nineties, Mr. Kibaki broke ranks with Mr. Moi and challenged him within the 1992 and 1997 elections, each of which he misplaced. In 2002, with Mr. Moi unable to run for re-election due to time period limits, Mr. Kibaki ran for president once more.

He defeated Mr. Kenyatta, the present president, whom Mr. Moi had picked as his most popular successor. He stayed in workplace for 2 phrases, leaving in April 2013.

Mr. Kibaki was an avid golfer. He was additionally recognized for his humorousness; his quips and witty remarks had been repeatedly performed on tv and printed on the entrance pages of newspapers.

He was married to Lucy Muthoni Kibaki till her demise in 2016. His survivors embody his kids, Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai and Tony Githinji.

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