Former President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, has died at the age of 90, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya announced on Friday. Kibaki was the third President of Kenya who also served as the vice President to Daniel arap Moi, replacing him in 2002.
Many observers describe his legacy as complicated. As an economist, Kibaki led Kenya during a robust economic growth and infrastructure developments but he was also in power during the most violent election in Kenya’s history when more than 1200 people died in ethnic clashes following the disputed 2007 polls. He left power in 2013 at the end of his second term.
“Kibaki was a quintessential patriot whose legacy of civic responsibility will continue to inspire generations of Kenyans long into our future,” Kenyatta said in a statement, before announcing that the country would observe a period of national mourning from Friday until his burial.
He described him as “the gentleman of Kenyan politics,” adding that “his dignity, his diligence, candor, and concern for the well-being of all Kenyans” would be remembered.
Several other African leaders sent condolences to Kenya, including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who extended his condolences to the Government and people of Kenya “over the death of the country’s first opposition President, Mr. Mwai Kibaki.”
President Buhari said that “the late Kibaki had set a remarkable record of being the first opposition politician to end 40 years of one-party rule by being elected president in 2013.”
According to Buhari, “Kibaki had demonstrated that with patience and tenacity, a man can achieve his ultimate goal in life.”
President Buhari noted that “someone else would have given up the struggle after a few years, but Kibaki had stayed the course and ended 40 years of one-party rule,” saying that “this is a record that we can’t forget and for which posterity and history would continue to remember the late Kenyan President.”