President Uhuru notes his predecessor's rare gift

President Uhuru Kenyatta during former President Mwai Kibaki’s State burial at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has described his predecessor Mwai Kibaki as a man who believed in modesty and solving issues with grace.

Uhuru, while delivering his speech before dignitaries, African Heads of State, and a multitude of Kenyans at Nyayo National Stadium on Friday posed: “What is the true measure of a man?”, seeking to have the crowd gain a deeper understanding of Kibaki’s legacy.

He continued, “How do you judge a man after he has served God, his generation, and country? Do you measure a man by his financial exploits or by how many lives he touched?”

To which he responded that the true measure of a man can only be gauged in how he handles power.

The Head of State recalled how during one of Kenya’s darkest political moments during the 2007/2008 Post-Election Violence (PEV), Kibaki agreed to a power-sharing deal between him and Former-Prime Minister Raila Odinga, forming what came to be openly referred to as ‘nusu-mkate’ government.

“And how do you measure a man under whose watch Kenya experienced our darkest moment in 2007! Yet at this moment, Kibaki shook the hand of his bitter opponent and invited him to form government with him on a 50:50 basis despite opposition from some of his own supporters,” Uhuru said.

He noted that some of Kibaki’s greatest leadership qualities were his ability to block the noise, not rush into judgement and decisions, and his gift of tolerance.

“And if a man is not measured by what he started, but by what he finished, then the record must reflect that Mwai Kibaki finished strong.”

At least three sitting African presidents; South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir Mayardit, and Ethiopia’s Sahle-Work Zewde attended Kibaki’s State Funeral service at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Kibaki, who died aged 90 on April 22, will be buried on Saturday, April 30 at his Kanyange Village home in Othaya, Nyeri County.

The ex-president died while receiving treatment at the Nairobi Hospital.