KENYAN PRESIDENT MWAI KIBAKI DIES AT 90
BY PAUL NDIHO
Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has died. President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Friday. Kibaki, who served as Kenya’s third president from 2003 to 2013, has died aged 90.
Former president Mwai Kibaki, who served as Kenya’s third president from 2003 to 2013, died at age 90. Kibaki is credited with reviving Kenya’s then-ailing economy. Still, his tenure was marred by deadly violence that erupted following his disputed re-election by his opponent, Raila Odinga, in December 2007.
Thousands of people were killed in months of ethnic violence before an agreement was reached with the help of outsiders.
President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a mourning period to honor Kibaki, during which flags will be flown at half-mast. Kibaki ushered in economic reforms and a new constitution for Kenya but some say he failed to deliver on promises to stamp out.
A British-educated economist, Kibaki’s characteristic calm demeanor concealed political shrewdness that finally propelled him to the presidency, after four decades as a lawmaker, government minister, and vice president to his predecessor, Daniel Arap Moi.
His landslide win in 2002 upset Moi’s handpicked successor, the current president Uhuru Kenyatta. In a wheelchair and a leg cast after a car crash, Kibaki promised his ecstatic inauguration to crowd a clean break from Moi’s autocratic quarter-century rule. However, the honeymoon did not last long, and cracks soon appeared in NARC, an alliance of parties opposed to Moi.
He served as finance minister for 13 years under both Kenyatta and Moi and as Moi’s vice president for some of that time. Kibaki was among Kenya’s richest men, overseeing vast landholdings and business interests.