MPs eulogise Mwai Kibaki in special sitting

Kenya Parliament in session during a special sitting. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

 “Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed.”- Mwai Kibaki

To say that former president Mwai Kibaki did not live by those words would be akin to hiding in plain sight, Members of Parliament aver.

In a Special Sitting of Parliament on Wednesday to mourn the fallen leader, the lawmakers heaped praise, calling him “a gentleman of Kenyan politics.”

Many in Parliament today crossed paths with the former Head of State, as his students both in politics, leadership and the school of life.

Reminiscing of his presidency, the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi averred that Kibaki was Kenya’s mover and shaker of politics.

“He approached leadership from a people-centric perspective aimed at improving the quality of life of the people,” Muturi said.

MPs remembered how in his 10-year stint as president, he championed several reforms, especially infrastructure projects such as the Thika Super Highway and Bypasses across Nairobi and Kiambu counties and the introduction of the free primary education.

It was in his first term as president that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew from 0.6 per cent to about 9 per cent in 2007.

“He remains an enigma, a people-centric leader who cared about public good and not personal gain. He was an epitome of gentlemanly and non-confrontational leadership,” Muturi said.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, who served as Ombudsman during Kibaki’s tenure, remembers him as a man who respected democracy.

“He was a man whose integrity was not easy to question. His focus was not only on economy but also on constitutional reforms,” the lawmaker said.

He would also revisit his appreciation of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki, who died six years ago in April 2016.

Eagle-eyed, the late Kibaki was a man to be emulated, the Rarieda MP said.

Though his second term was met with political tensions and economic regress, Majority Leader Amos Kimunya said there were lessons to be learnt and characteristics of the ex-president to be emulated.

“He was a gentleman per excellence who exuded greatness and humility,” said Kimunya.

The MP, observed a moment of silence to mourn the fallen president, who was Kenya’s longest-serving parliamentarian.

He served as Donholm MP (now known as Makadara Constituency) from 1963 to 1974 and as Othaya MP from 1974 to 2013.

Kibaki, whose body has been lying in State at Parliament since Monday, will be buried at his home in Othaya, Nyeri County on Saturday. 

A state funeral will be held in his remembrance on Friday at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.

His body will be transported to Othaya by road on Saturday, April 30 for the final burial mass.