27 August 2010: Former President the late Mwai Kibaki displays a copy of the New Constitution after the Promulgation ceremony at Uhuru Park, Nairobi. Looking on is then-Attorney General Amos Wako [File]

Senators paid tribute to former President Mwai Kibaki, describing him as a humble leader who often put others first.

Some senators yesterday narrated their first encounter with Mr Kibaki and working with him before and after he ascended to power.

Busia Senator Amos Wako said he first heard of Mr Kibaki after he became the first African to get first class honours in Economics in 1955.

“At the time I was lecturing at Makerere University and I said that was the kind of man I wanted to know closely,” he said.

He revealed that he and his friends decided to seek out Mr Kibaki during school holidays.

Mr Wako recounted that at the time the former president was the executive officer of Kanu while Tom Mboya was the executive director during the 1963 elections.

He said they decided to hang onto Mr Kibaki and Mr Mboya and attended all the campaign meetings that they addressed.

“We were proud that we decided to follow them and I can tell you we managed to catch the attention of the two who even took some of our ideas,” he said.

And from that time Mr Wako said, he got hooked and even went on to study economics abroad. The senator revealed that although he did not get first class honours like his mentor, he was still proud of the efforts he made.

The senator forged a good relationship with Mr Kibaki when he became the chair of the Law Society of Kenya and the Association of Professionals Society of East Africa.

“Kibaki was the only leader I could go to as he was the only one who could understand me.’’

Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar said she was honoured to work as a minister in Kibaki’s government, saying everyday she learnt something new on leadership and management.

She narrated how a week after her appointment as minister for Higher Education she was given a simple instruction that shaped her role in the docket

“He requested me to ensure that he expands the universities,” she said

At the time Prof Kamar noted that the country only had seven universities.

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri recounted that he first worked with Mr Kibaki in the eighth Parliament when he was MP for Othaya and the leader of opposition.