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Mama Lucy has left an indelible mark

By Benard Amaya | May 3rd 2016

The death of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki is not only a big blow to her family but also the entire country.

Mama Lucy, as Kenyans fondly referred to her, was a towering figure. Many of us who had the privilege to associate with the mother of the nation drew many vital lessons from her.

She was a respectful person. For the period I served as the Household Services Manager in charge of accommodation and catering at State House, Mama Lucy always referred to me as manager. She preferred to be referred to as Her Excellency instead of mum or madam. She equally referred to former President Mwai Kibaki as His Excellency the President.

Second, Mama Lucy demonstrated great care and love for her workers. I recall her taking time to inspect housing quarters for State House staff. She wanted to ensure we lived in good conditions. It was through her intervention that we were awarded extraneous allowances.

Third, Mrs Kibaki preferred nationalism over parochialism. Her tenure saw State House staff represent the face of Kenya. In a tribal Kenya, one would have expected the people serving the first family to hail from the president’s tribe. She detested what she called “villagism” in reference to negative ethnicity.

Fourth, Mama refused to subscribe to political cronysm. With Mama Lucy at the house on the hill, politicians from the president’s home turf had a rough time forming a kitchen Cabinet. In a sense, it helped the Grand Coalition government thrive.

Fifth, Mama Lucy believed in discipline. She treasured discipline among her staff. Critics have accused her of humiliating some leaders in public. Indeed, that was a weakness on mama’s character.

Sixth, Lucy was brutally honest. In a world full of political correctness and pretence, she remained unapologetic on crucial national matters. Seventh, her love for family was great. Whenever a moment presented itself, she would invite her family for a get-together.

All in all, Mama Lucy revolutionised the office of the First Lady. Fare thee well. You have left an indelible mark in our land.

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