Kenya’s former president Mwai Kibaki, 90, died on Friday in the capital city Nairobi, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced.
“It is my sorrowful duty to announce to the nation the passing on of Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the third President of the Republic of Kenya,” Kenyatta said in a televised address to the nation.
Kenyatta declared a period of mourning, including the flying of flags at half-mast until a state funeral was held for Kibaki who held various positions in government including that of vice-president. Kibaki who leaves behind four children served as the third President of Kenya from 2002 to 2013.
“We remember the values by which he lived, the ideals he embraced, his dignity and diligence, his candor and concern for the well-being of all Kenyans,” he said.
Kenyatta said Kibaki who is credited for stabilizing the country’s economy will be forever remembered as the gentleman of Kenyan politics, a brilliant debater, whose eloquence, wit, and charm won the day time and time again.
“His contributions in the ministry of finance and as vice president saw Kenya’s economy grow steadily, fueled by a commodities boom, and fiscal and monetary policies that were the backbone of his economic philosophy,” he said.
The president said Kibaki’s contributions to the restoration of multi-party democracy as the Leader of the Official Opposition, combined with his track record and impressive credentials, made the former president the natural choice for selection as the Opposition’s consensus candidate against Kenyatta’s candidature in the 2002 presidential election.
Kenyatta said Kibaki’s administration conceptualized and spearheaded transformation in critical sectors such as education through the globally lauded free primary education program, infrastructure developments in transport and energy, and increasing the availability and access to healthcare for his fellow Kenyans.
“In honor of this great Statesman, Kenya remains committed to maintaining policies that promote economic and social empowerment, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights,” Kenyatta said.
According to Kenyatta, Kibaki championed the realization of the objectives of the East African Community Common Market trade liberalization for the citizens of the partner states of the East African Community.
“His inclusive spirit and conviction for economic empowerment transcended the territory of Kenya towards cross-border economic stability,” he said.
The late Kibaki had implemented the “Look East” policy, and saw China, India and other Asian economies make huge strides in Kenya.