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Kibaki team collecting material to pen his memoirs

By Wainaina Ndung'u | May 3rd 2015

A team is collecting data to help retired President Mwai Kibaki pen his memoirs.

He will tell the story in his own words, from his birth in Gatuya-ini Village, and how by a stroke of luck, Kibaki Githinji’s last-born son was sent to a Catholic mission school to start a sterling academic journey, to ascension to the country’s top seat.

“Memoirs have their own cycle and it depends mostly on the preparedness of the subject person and the magnitude of details collected,” said Ngari Gituku Kibaki’s communications director, who is heading a five-man research team.

Mr Gituku said the team mostly comprised of Kibaki’s core staff hired by the Government as part of his retirement package, and would be expanded along the journey to comprise sources in Uganda, where Kibaki attended Makerere University, in London, where he attended the London School of Economics, as well as the width and breadth of Kenya.

“It takes three to five years to write a good book but it also depends on how well the subject has prepared the background materials,” said Gituku.

He gave the example of former Central Bank Governor Duncan Ndegwa‘s memoirs, Walking in Kenyatta Struggles, which he said took three years to compile from materials collected over a period of ten years.

Gituku has also participated in compiling of the yet to be released memoirs of the former long-serving head of the civil service Geoffrey Kariithi, who died in June 2012.

By his death, the 300-350 page book that had taken two and a half years to prepare had been finalised but the family has held back the publication to synchronise it with the information they had collected on their own.

On Kibaki’s memoirs, Gituku said it would be a detailed tasteful work, “definitely not a pamphlet or a spaghetti-fly-by-the-night-kind of book” that deserves the image of an extraordinary son of Africa whose political career spanned more than five decades.

Gituku could not also speak about the budget for the book, saying the extent of the research with sources scattered the world over would definitely make it an expensive affair.

Although a government department released a book on his life at the end of Kibaki‘s tenure, this will be the first time he will be telling his story in his own words. The researchers might want to consider an offer by Joseph Githaiga ‘Kanyeki’, a Tetu farmer who has a file of newspaper and magazine cuttings on Kibaki dating back to the 1970s. Kanyeki told The Standard on Sunday he was still keen to hand over his gift if it could be “helpful” in any way.

But he wants to personally hand over the gift to the former president if only as a one in a lifetime opportunity for the former government veterinary officer to meet a man he greatly admires.

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