Biography of Mwai Kibaki


Mwai Kibaki

Mwai Kibaki
President of Kenya
Incumbent
Assumed office
30 December 2002
Prime Minister Raila Odinga
Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa
Moody Awori
Kalonzo Musyoka
Preceded by Daniel arap Moi
Vice President of Kenya
In office
14 October 1978 – 1988
President Daniel arap Moi
Preceded by Daniel arap Moi
Succeeded by Josephat Karanja
Personal details
Born 15 November 1931 (age 80)
Gatuyaini, Kenya
Political party Party of National Unity
Spouse(s) Lucy Muthoni
Children Jimmy
David
Tony
Judy
Alma mater Makerere University
London School of Economics
Religion Roman Catholicism

Mwai Kibaki (born 15 November 1931) is a Kenyan politician who has been the third President of Kenya since December 2002.

Kibaki was previously Vice-President of Kenya for ten years from 1978 to 1988 and also held cabinet ministerial positions, including a widely acclaimed stint as Minister for Finance (1969–1981), Minister for Home Affairs (1982–1988) and Minister for Health (1988–1991).[1]

After resigning as a cabinet minister in 1991, Kibaki served as an opposition Member of Parliament from 1991 up to his election as Kenya’s third president in 2002 after two unsuccessful bids for the Kenyan presidency in 1992 and 1997.

He was sworn in on the night of 30 December 2007 for his second term as president after controversially emerging as the winner of a bitterly contested election. The election was marked by accusations of fraud and widespread irregularities that led to the post-election violence of 2007–2008.

Early Life and Education

Kibaki was born in Gatuyaini village in Othaya division of Nyeri District. He is the youngest son of Kikuyu peasants Kibaki Gĩthĩnji and Teresia Wanjikũ (both now deceased). Though baptized as Emilio Stanley by Italian missionaries in his youth, he has been known for all intents and purposes as his name.[2] Family oral history maintains that his early education was made possible by his much older brother-in-law, Paul Muruthi, who insisted that young Mwai should go to school instead of spending his days grazing his father’s sheep and cattle and baby-sitting his little nephews and nieces for his older sister.

Kibaki turned out to be an exemplary student. He attended Gatuyainĩ School for the first two years, where he completed what was then called Sub “A” and sub “B” (the equivalent of standard one and two or first and second grade). He later joined Karima mission school for the three more classes of primary school. He later moved to Mathari School (now Nyeri High School) between 1944 and 1946 for Standard four to six, where, in addition to his academic studies, he learnt carpentry and masonry as students would repair furniture and provide material for maintaining the school’s buildings. He also grew his own food as all students in the school were expected to do, and earned extra money during the school holidays by working as a conductor on buses operated by the defunct Othaya African Bus Union. After Karima Primary and Nyeri Boarding primary schools, he proceeded to Mang’u High School where he studied between 1947 and 1950. He passed with a maximum of six points in his “O” level examination.[3]

Influenced by the veterans of the First and Second World Wars in his native village, Kibaki considered becoming a soldier in his final year in Mang’u. However, a ruling by the Chief colonial secretary, Walter Coutts, which barred the recruitment of the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru communities into the army, put paid to his military aspirations. Kibaki instead attended Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he studied Economics, History and Political Science, and graduated best in his class in 1955 with a First Class Honours Degree (BA) in Economics.[3] After his graduation, Kibaki took up an appointment as Assistant Sales Manager Shell Company of East Africa, Uganda Division. During the same year, he earned a scholarship entitling him to postgraduate studies in any British University. He consequently enrolled at the prestigious London School of Economics for a B.Sc in public finance, graduating with a distinction. He went back to Makerere in 1958 where he taught as an Assistant Lecturer in the economics department until 1960.[3] In 1962, Kibaki married Lucy Muthoni, the daughter of a Church Minister, who was then a secondary school Head Teacher.[3]

Mwai Kibaki (standing, back right) with Jomo Kenyatta and Zafrud Deen sitting in front

Political career prior to presidency

1960–2002

In early 1960,Mwai Kibaki left academia for politics when he gave up his job at Makerere and returned to Kenya to become executive officer of Kenya African National Union (KANU), at the request of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (who went on to become Kenya’s first Vice President). Kibaki then helped to draft Kenya’s independence constitution.

In 1963, Kibaki was elected as Member of Parliament for Donholm Constituency (subsequently called Bahati and now known as Makadara) in Nairobi.[4] His election was the start of a long political career. In 1963 Kibaki was appointed the Permanent Secretary for the Treasury.[5] Appointed Assistant Minister of Finance and chairman of the Economic Planning Commission in 1963, he was promoted to Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1966.[6] In 1969, he became Minister of Finance and Economic Planning where he served until 1982.[7]

In 1974, Kibaki, facing serious competition for his Doonholm Constituency seat from a Mrs. Jael Mbogo, whom he had only narrowly and controversially beaten for the seat in the 1969 elections,[8] moved his political base from Nairobi to his rural home, Othaya, where he was subsequently elected as Member of Parliament. The same year Time magazine rated him among the top 100 people in the world who had the potential to lead. He has been re-elected Member of Parliament for Othaya in the subsequent elections of 1979, 1983, 1988, 1992,1997,2002 and 2007.[9]

When Daniel arap Moi succeeded Jomo Kenyatta as President of Kenya in 1978, Kibaki was elevated to Vice Presidency, and kept the Finance portfolio until Moi changed his ministerial portfolio from Finance to Home Affairs in 1982. When Kibaki was the minister of Finance Kenya enjoyed a period of relative prosperity, fueled by a commodities boom, especially coffee, with remarkable fiscal discipline and sound monetary policies.[10]

Kibaki fell out of favour with President Moi in 1988, and was dropped as Vice President and moved to the Ministry of Health.[9][10] He seemingly took the demotion in his stride without much ado.

Kibaki’s political style during these years was described as gentlemanly and non confrontational. This mild style also exposed him to criticism that he was a spineless, or even cowardly, politician who never took a stand- “He never saw a fence he didn’t sit on”,so went the joke.[11] He also,as the political circumstances of the time dictated, projected himself as a loyal stalwart of the then ruling single party, KANU.In the months before multiparty politics were introduced in 1992, he infamously declared that agitating for multi party democracy and trying to dislodge KANU from power was like “trying to cut down a fig tree with a razor blade”.[11]

It was therefore with great surprise that the country received the news of Kibaki’s resignation from government and leaving KANU on Christmas Day in December 1991, only days after the repeal of Section 2A of the Constitution, which restored the multi-party system of government. Soon after his resignation,Kibaki founded the Democratic Party (DP).[12] and entered the presidential race in the upcoming multi party elections of 1992. He was criticised as a “johnny come lately” opportunist who, unlike his two main opposition presidential election opponents in that year, Kenneth Matiba and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was taking advantage of multipartysm despite not having fought for it .

Kibaki came third in the subsequent presidential elections of 1992, when the divided opposition lost to president Moi and KANU despite having received more than two thirds of the vote. He then came second to Moi in the 1997 elections, when again, Moi beat a divided opposition to retain the presidency.[13] In January 1998, Kibaki became the leader of the official opposition with the Democratic Party being the official opposition party in Parliament.

2002 elections

In preparation for the 2002 elections, Kibaki’s Democratic Party affiliated with several other opposition parties to form National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK). A group of disappointed KANU presidential aspirants then quit KANU in protest after being overlooked by outgoing President Moi when Moi had founding Father Jomo Kenyatta‘s son, Uhuru Kenyatta, nominated to be the KANU presidential candidate, and hurriedly formed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). NAK later combined with the LDP,to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). On 14 October 2002, at a large opposition rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, Kibaki was nominated the NARC opposition alliance presidential candidate after Raila Odinga made the famous declaration, Kibaki Tosha![14]

On 3 December 2002, Kibaki was injured in a road accident while on his way back to Nairobi from a campaign meeting at Machakos junction 40 km From Nairobi. He was subsequently hospitalized in Nairobi, then London, after sustaining fracture injuries in the accident.[15] He still walks rather awkwardly as a result of those injuries.The rest of his presidential campaign was thus conducted by his NARC colleagues in his absence, led by Raila Odinga who campaigned tirelessly for Kibaki after stating that“The captain has been injured in the field… but the rest of the team shall continue.”[15]

On 27 December 2002, Kibaki and NARC won a landslide victory over KANU, with Kibaki getting 62% of the votes in the presidential elections, against only 31% for the KANU candidate Uhuru Kenyatta.[16]

Presidency

2002 swearing in, end of KANU rule, retirement of Moi

On 29 December 2002, still nursing injuries from the motor vehicle accident and in a wheel chair, Mwai Kibaki was sworn-in as the third President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya in a boisterous, chaotic and jubilant ceremony held at the open grounds of Uhuru Park, Nairobi.. “I am inheriting a country which has been badly ravaged by years of misrule and ineptitude,” he stated at his swearing-in, as quoted by Andrew England of the Associated Press. With Moi looking on, Kibaki reiterated his pledge to end government corruption. “The era of anything goes is now gone forever,” he was quoted by Marc Lacey of the New York Times as having said. “Government will no longer be run on the whims of individuals”.[17]

Thus ended four decades of KANU rule, KANU having hitherto ruled Kenya since independence. President Daniel Arap Moi, who had been Kenya’s second president for 24 years since 1978, also began his retirement.

2003–2005: reviving the economy and ill health

President Kibaki’s first term was about reviving and turning round the Kenyan economy after years of economic mis-management during the Moi years[18]– a feat that was largely attained in the face of great challenges,including the President’s ill health at the time, and political tension culminating in the break-up of the NARC coalition.The introduction of free primary education, was a great milestone.

In late January 2003, it was announced that the President had been admitted to Nairobi Hospital to have a blood clot – the after-effect of his car accident – removed from his leg. He came out of hospital and addressed the public outside the hospital on TV in a visibly incoherent manner,and speculation since then is that he had suffered a stroke, his second, the first being said to have occurred sometimes in the 1970s.[19] His subsequent ill health greatly diminished his performance during his first term and the affairs of government during that time are said to have been largely run by a group of loyal aides, both in and out of government.[19][20] Kibaki did not look good, for instance, when he appeared live on TV on 25 September 2003 to appoint Moody Awori Vice President after the death[21] in office of Vice President, Michael Wamalwa Kijana.

In November 2004, in an ABC Prime Time interview with Peter Jennings, former US President Bill Clinton identified Kibaki as the one living person he would most like to meet “because of the Kenyan government’s decision to abolish school fees for primary education”.[22] Clinton added that, by providing free and compulsory primary education, what Kibaki had done would affect more lives than any president had done or would ever do by the end of the year. The free education programme saw nearly 1.7 million more pupils enroll in school by the end of that year. Clinton’s wish was granted when he visited Kenya in the summer of 2005 and finally met president Kibaki on 22 July.

2005–2007: constitutional referendum and the NARC fallout

The 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum was held on 21 November 2005.The main issue of contention in the Constitution review process was how much power should be vested in the Kenyan Presidency. In previous drafts, those who feared a concentration of power in the president added provisions for European-style power-sharing between a ceremonial President elected via universal suffrage and an executive Prime Minister elected by Parliament. The draft presented by the Attorney General Amos Wako for the referendum retained sweeping powers for the Presidency.[23]

Though supported by Kibaki, some members of his own cabinet, mainly from the LDP wing led by Raila Odinga, and the main opposition party KANU, mobilised a powerful NO campaign that resulted in a majority of 58% Kenyan voters rejecting the draft.[24]

As a consequence of,and immediately after, the referendum loss,on 23 November 2005,Kibaki dismissed his entire cabinet in the middle of his administration’s term, the aim being to purge all Raila allied ministers from the cabinet.[25] About his decision Kibaki said, “Following the results of the Referendum, it has become necessary for me, as the President of the Republic, to re-organise my Government to make it more cohesive and better able to serve the people of Kenya”. The only members of the cabinet office to be spared a midterm exit were the Vice President and Minister of Home Affairs, Moody Awori, and the Attorney General whose position is constitutionally protected. A new cabinet of Kibaki loyalists, including MPs from the opposition, termed the Government of National Unity (GNU), was thereafter appointed, but some MPs who were offered ministerial positions declined to take up posts.[26]

A recent report by a Kenyan Commission of Inquiry, the Waki Commission, contextualizes the issues and events on page 30 as follows:-

The attempt to reduce the personal power [of the Presidency] that had been accumulated by former President Moi initially was the reason opposition forces sought to introduce the post of Prime Minister. This culminated in an informal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) before the 2002 election between the then opposition coalition under which the coalition agreed to introduce the post of Prime Minister after the election. Once elected, however, President Kibaki reneged on the MoU. Discussions continued concerning constitutional change and the devolution of power. The Kibaki Government then came up with a draft Constitution put forward by Attorney General, Amos Wako watering down some of the provisions in the draft agreed to during the “Bomas” discussions. The Wako draft was put to the public at a referendum in 2005, where voters rejected it. […] As soon as the MoU was scuttled, a group led by Raila Odinga left the NARC coalition Government. President’s Kibaki Government was perceived as being unwilling to abide by its pre-election agreement with its partners and as retreating into an ethnic enclave. This was criticized by the public and was seen as an attempt by the so-called “Mount Kenya Mafia” to keep power to itself rather than share it. Even though the MoU was not a legal agreement, the Kibaki Government’s turning away from it and removing from government the group of Ministers associated to Odinga had the effect of increasing the polarization of politics along ethnic lines. Even though the 2005 referendum was peaceful and the results were accepted rather than contested, the parameters were nevertheless drawn. With the ethnic political fault lines clearly drawn after 2005, and the need to win the presidency seen as paramount, tensions began to mount.[27]

2007 elections

On 26 January 2007, President Kibaki declared his intention of running for re-election in the 2007 presidential election.[28] On 16 September 2007, Kibaki announced that he would stand as the candidate of a new alliance incorporating all the parties who supported his re-election, called the Party of National Unity. The parties in his alliance included the much diminished former ruling KANU.[29][30] DP, Narc-Kenya, Ford-Kenya, Ford People, and Shirikisho.[30]

Kibaki’s main opponent, Raila Odinga, had used the referendum victory to launch the ODM, which nominated him as its presidential Candidate for the 2007 elections.

On 30 September 2007, a robust and much healthier President Kibaki launched his presidential campaign at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi.[31]

Kalonzo Musyoka then broke away from Raila’s ODM to mount his own fringe bid for the presidency,thus narrowing down the contest between the main candidates, Kibaki, the incumbent, and Odinga.[32] Opinion polls up to election day showed Kibaki behind Raila Odinga nationally, but closing. On regional analysis, the polls showed him behind Raila in all regions of the country except Central Province, Embu and Meru,where he was projected to take most of the votes, and behind Kalonzo Musyoka in Kalonzo’s native Ukambani.[33][34] It was thus projected to be a close election between Kibaki and Raila.

After intense, expensive and vigorous campaigns, the election was held on 27 December 2007, and went on peacefully and orderly.

2007 elections: disputed win

Three days later, after a protracted count which saw presidential results in Kibaki’s Central Kenya come in last, allegedly inflated,in a cloud of suspicion and rising tensions, amid vehement protests by Raila’s ODM,overnight re-tallying of results and chaotic scenes, all beamed live on TV, at the national tallying center at the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi,riot police eventually sealed off the tallying Center ahead of the result announcement, evicted party agents, observers and the media,[35] and moved the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Samuel Kivuitu,to another room where Kivuitu went on to declare Kibaki the winner by 4,584,721 votes to Odinga’s 4,352,993,[36] placing Kibaki ahead of Odinga by about 232,000 votes in the hotly contested election with Kalonzo Musyoka a distant third.[37]

One hour later, in a hastily convened dusk ceremony, Kibaki was furtively sworn in at the grounds of State House Nairobi for his second term, defiantly calling for the “verdict of the people” to be respected and for “healing and reconciliation” to begin. This arose tension and led to protests by a huge number of Kenyans who felt that Kibaki had refused to respect the verdict of the people and was now forcibly remaining in office.[38][39][40]

Immediately the results were announced, Odinga bitterly accused Kibaki of electoral fraud.[41] Odinga’s allegations scored with his supporters, and seemed meritorious since the results had defied pre-election polls and expectations[42] and election day exit polls.[43] Furthermore,Odinga, who had run an anti–Kikuyu campaign,[44][45] had won the votes of most of the other Kenyan tribes and regions,[46] with Kibaki’s victory being attained only with the near exclusive support of the populous Kikuyu, Meru and Embu communities-who had turned up to vote for Kibaki in large numbers after feeling,in reaction to the Odinga campaign, and with the covert encouragement of the Kibaki campaign, increasingly besieged and threatened by the pro-Odinga tribes. Moreover, ODM had won the most parliamentary and local authority seats by a wide margin.[47] A joint statement by the British Foreign Office and Department for International Development cited “real concerns” over irregularities, while international observers refused to declare the election free and fair. The European Union chief observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, cited one constituency where his monitors saw official results for Kibaki that were 25,000 votes lower than the figure subsequently announced by the Electoral Commission.”Because of this and other observed irregularities, doubt remains as to the accuracy of the result of the presidential election as announced today,” he said.[48]

It was a low point in Kibaki’s political career, during which he also showed a hitherto unknown harder side of him. The media captured the events and reactions at the time thus:“Previously regarded as a gentlemanly leader with a passion for golf, Kibaki has revealed a steely side.[49] …With a reputation as a mild-mannered, old-school gentleman,…[50] Kibaki, 76, showed a steely core by swearing himself in within an hour of being pronounced victor in an election denounced as fraudulent by opposition challenger Raila Odinga and questioned by international and Kenyan observers.Odinga’s supporters said he would be declared president at a rival ceremony on Monday, but police banned the event [and hundreds of riot police sealed off the proposed venue, Uhuru Park for several days].”This is the saddest day in the history of democracy in this country. It is a coup d’etat,” said Koki Muli, head of respected local watchdog, the Institute of Education in Democracy.[51] ” In truth,the election was more of a draw, so close that the official inquiry of the election concluded it was impossible to conclusively establish who between Kibaki and Raila won.

  • [When the election was eventually investigated by the Independent Review Commission (IREC) on the 2007 Elections chaired by Justice Johann Kriegler, it was found that there were too many electoral malpractices from several regions perpetrated by all the contesting parties to conclusively establish which candidate won the December 2007 Presidential elections. Such malpractices included widespread bribery, vote buying, intimidation and ballot stuffing by both sides, as well as incompetence from the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK)(which was shortly thereafter disbanded by Parliament).[52]]

Violence after 2007 elections

“It’s not that we don’t like Kikuyus – it’s because they think they have a right to rule this country forever, even if it means stealing votes.[51]

Opposition supporters saw the result as a plot by Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe, Kenya’s largest, to keep power by any means.Feeling cheated and extremely bitter,[53] and also fueled by other long standing perceived grievances,[45][54] the tribes that lost the election could not contemplate five years without political power and anti-Kikuyu sentiment swelled.[44][27] Thus began the 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis, as violence broke out in several places in the country, started by the ODM supporters protesting the “stealing” of their “victory”, and subsequently escalating as the targeted Kikuyus retaliated.[27][55][56] As unrest spread, television and radio stations were instructed to stop all live broadcasts.

There was a major breakdown of law an order in several cities and regions, and the situation threatened to escalate into a cataclysmic disintegration of the country as whole areas began to be ethnically cleansed amidst threats of regions seceding from the country and leaving central Kenya “an Island like Lesotho“. There was also widespread theft,vandalism, looting and destruction of property, and a significant number of atrocities,killings[57] and sexual violence were reported. A subsequent United Nations report stated that more than 1,200 Kenyans were reported killed, thousands more injured, over 300,000 people displaced and around 42,000 houses,farms and many businesses,looted or destroyed.[58]

The violence continued for more than two months, as Kibaki ruled with “half” a cabinet he had appointed,[59] with Odinga and ODM refusing to recognize him as president.[60]

National accord and Grand Coalition Government

The Country was only saved by the mediation of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan with a Panel of “Eminent African Personalities” backed by the African Union, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Following the mediation, a deal, called the national accord, was signed in February 2008 between Raila Odinga and Kibaki,now referred to as the “two Principals”. The accord, later passed by the Kenyan Parliament as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 provided inter alia for power-sharing, with Kibaki remaining President and Raila Odinga taking a newly re-created post of Prime Minister.

On 17 April 2008, Raila Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister, along with a power-sharing Cabinet, with 42 ministers and 50 assistant ministers, Kenya’s largest ever. The cabinet is fifty percent Kibaki appointed ministers and fifty percent Raila appointed ministers, and is in reality a carefully balanced ethnic coalition. The arrangement, which also includes Kalonzo Musyoka as Vice President, is known as the “Grand Coalition Government”.[61]

High points

President Kibaki, the economist whose term as Finance minister in the 1970s is widely celebrated as outstanding, has done much to repair the damage to the country’s economy during the 24-year reign of his predecessor, President Moi. The country, compared to the Moi years, is much better managed, and has by far more competent personnel, and is already much transformed.[62]

The improved management of the economy during the Kibaki presidency has seen continued Kenya GDP growth from a low 0.6% (real −1.6%) in 2002 to 3% in 2003, 4.9% in 2004, 5.8% in 2005, 6% in 2006 and 7% 2007,[63] a very significant recovery from the preceding near total economic collapse and decay .

The President has also overseen the coming into being of the Vision 2030, a development plan aimed at raising GDP growth to 10% annually and transforming Kenya into a middle income country, which he unveiled on 30 October 2006.[64][65]

Many sectors of the economy have recovered from total collapse pre-2003.[66] Numerous state corporations that had collapsed during the Moi years have been revived and are performing profitably.[67] The telecommunications sector is booming. Rebuilding, modernization and expansion of infrastructure has been going on in earnest, with several ambitious infrastructural and other projects, which would have been seen as unattainable pipe dreams during the bland and largely stagnant Moi years, planned or ongoing.[67][68][69] The country’s cities and towns are also being positively renewed and transformed.[70]

Development is also ongoing in all areas of the country including Kenya’s hitherto neglected and thus largely undeveloped semi-arid or arid north.[71][72] Further, it was during the Kibaki presidency that the Constituency Development Fund, CDF, was introduced in 2003. The fund was designed to support constituency-level, grass-root development projects.[73] It was aimed to achieve equitable distribution of development resources across regions and to control imbalances in regional development brought about by partisan politics.[74] It targeted all constituency-level development projects, particularly those aiming to combat poverty at the grassroots.[75] The CDF program has facilitated the putting up of new water, health and education facilities in all parts of the country including remote areas that were usually overlooked during funds allocation in national budgets.[76]

The president has also overseen a reduction of Kenya’s dependence on aid by western donors(which still remains significant though),with the country being increasingly funded by internally generated resources,tax revenue collection having grown tremendously during his term,[77][78][79] and also by increasing investment,grants and loans by non-western countries, mainly Japan, People’s Republic of China[80][81][82][83] and the Middle East, and to a lessor extent investment by South African,Libyan and Nigerian corporations, and even Iran.[84][85][86]

President Kibaki’s style is that of a competent technocrat, as opposed to the populist buffoonery, or strongman dictatorship, so common in Africa.[87] He,unlike his predecessors,has not tried to establish a personality cult.[88] He has not had his portrait on every unit of Kenya’s currency, neither has he had all manner of streets, places and institutions named after him.[88] He has not had state sanctioned praise songs composed in his honour, does not seek to dominate and lead all news bulletins with reports of his presidential activities, and does not engage in the populist sloganeering of his predecessors.[87]

Kenya is also much more democratic and freer in the Kibaki era than it was during the Kenyatta and Moi eras.[89]

When he came to power in 2003, President Kibaki rolled out free learning both in primary and later in secondary schools. Enrolment in primary schools has climbed from six million in 2002 to 9.3 million in 2010, while the subsidised secondary education has helped push enrolment from 882,000 in 2003 to 1.7 million in 2010. The success of this program has earned Kibaki recognition from various world leaders including Bill Clinton.[90]

President Kibaki is the first leader in the East Africa and may be in Africa to bring into place a new constitution, that deprives the presidency off powers and not hang around in power like most African leaders.[91]

Kibaki is a laid back type of a leader, who shows no desire for publicity, thus giving his political opponents the benefit of defining him in their own terms. He will be remembered much for the free education, new and high profile constitution, media freedom, better economy and infrastructural development. For those who look for minor negatives, they will find much to discredit president Kibaki.[92]

Shortcomings

The shortcomings of the Kibaki presidency include the president’s not so stellar performance in the areas of political reform; constitutional reform;containment of Corruption in Kenya;addressing the fundamental problem of the country’s wealth, income and development inequalities;[93][94] eliminating tribalism,and fostering national unity and cohesion;reduction of youth unemployment and crime; and facilitating generational change- as elaborated below. Tribalism and corruption still remain major tools of acquiring and maintaining political power in Kenya.[95] As a result,all the good work the president has done remains at risk of being all undone, as it was to a significant extent by the post- 2007 election violence, and Kenya remains at risk of becoming a failed state.[96][97][98][99]

The President has been criticized for poor political management of the country, and apparent failure to unite, and amply manage the competing interests of, Kenya’s various tribes.[95] As a result, the country remains at the risk of tearing apart,[100] and the President and his allies need to do more to prevent the country’s balkanization into ethnic enclaves especially after benefiting from tribalism during elections.[101][102][103]

He has also been accused of ruling with a small group of his elderly peers,mainly from the educated side of the Kikuyu elite that emerged in the Kenyatta years,usually referred to as the “Kitchen Cabinet”[87] or the “Mount Kenya Mafia”.[104] There is therefore the perception that his is a Kikuyu presidency . This perception was reinforced when the President was seen to have trashed the pre- 2002 election Memorandum of Understanding with the Raila Odinga led Liberal Democratic Party,[105] and was further reinforced by his disputed 2007 election victory over the Raila Odinga led ODM Party being achieved nearly exclusively with the votes of the populous Mt. Kenya Kikuyu, Meru and Embu communities.[106]

The Commission of Inquiry Into Post Election Violence [CIPEV]put it thus :-

The post election violence [in early 2008]therefore is, in part, a consequence of the failure of President Kibaki and his first Government to exert political control over the country or to maintain sufficient legitimacy as would have allowed a civilized contest with him at the polls to be possible. Kibaki’s regime failed to unite the country, and allowed feelings of marginalization to fester into what became the post election violence. He and his then Government were complacent in the support they considered they would receive in any election from the majority Kikuyu community and failed to heed the views of the legitimate leaders of other communities.”[107]

The President, who was elected in 2002 on a reform platform, is also yet to deliver long clamored for fundamental reforms and a new constitution,[108] instead maintaining the status quo ante which he helped to establish and was a major part of, and thus keeping the overwhelming presidential powers granted by Kenya’s current constitution.[109] It does also seem that his template is the presidency of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and that a major aim of his presidency is the preservation of the elite that emerged during the Kenyatta years, which he is part of, along with the system that made that elite and so much preserves and favours it.[87][110] The general feeling of disappointed Kenyans, so optimistic after the 2002 “revolution” is amply captured by the following quote from T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom “... when we achieved and the new world dawned, the old men came out again and took our victory to re-make in the likeness of the former world they knew.”[111]

Though the President has never personally been accused of corruption,[112] and has managed to virtually end the grabbing of public land rampant in the Moi and Kenyatta eras, he is yet to adequately contain Kenya’s endemic corruption.[113][114][115] Elected on an anti-corruption platform, one of President Kibaki’s first acts a president was to appoint John Githongo, a prominent anti-corruption activist, as Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics, reporting directly to him. Three years later, a frustrated Githongo resigned this position, citing the impossibility of his position in a situation of such widespread and high level corruption, and went into exile in London.[116] In the Anglo-Leasing scandal, which Githongo played a major role in uncovering, senior politicians including several Ministers and the Vice President Moody Awori were alleged to be closely involved. Githongo has also highlighted the unwillingness of President Kibaki to address these allegations, suggesting that Kibaki himself is therefore personally implicated.[116] To date despite the efforts of John Githongo and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) through numerous investigations and prosecution of cases, no high-profile figures have been convicted in court on corruption charges.[117] On 15 November 2006 Kiraitu Murungi, who had “stepped aside”to allow for independent investigations of corruption allegations in the Anglo-Leasing scandal, was reappointed as Energy Minister, and George Saitoti, who had been previously accused in connection with the Goldenberg scandal, was reinstated as Education Minister.Both ministers were said to have been exonerated in the resultant investigations.[118] Michela Wrong, in her book on Githogo, describes the situation thus:[111]

Whether expressed in the petty bribes the average Kenyan had to pay each week to fat-bellied policemen and local councillors, the jobs for the boys doled out by civil servants and politicians on strictly tribal lines, or the massive scams perpetrated by the country’s ruling elite, sleaze had become endemic. ‘Eating’, as Kenyans dubbed the gorging on state resources by the well-connected, had crippled the nation. In the corruption indices drawn up by the anti-graft organisation Transparency International, Kenya routinely trail[s] near the bottom …, viewed as only slightly less sleazy than Nigeria or Pakistan…”

The President’s style of a seemingly aloof withdrawn technocrat or intellectual makes him come across as a seemingly snobbish upper class urbanite who is out of touch with the ordinary Kenyan.[111] The President’s aloof “delegation style” also makes his governments,especially at cabinet level, seem dysfunctional and chaotic.[119]

Another major problem that the President is only just beginning[120] to adequately address youth unemployment, and soaring crime mainly perpetrated by frustrated youth on the wrong side of the wide poor-rich divide in the country.[121]

The president has from time to time addressed the above issues, as he did for instance, in his Madaraka Day speech delivered to the nation on 1 June 2009.[120]

Currently Kibaki is being faced with something most political analysts call Legacy crisis. People are eargerly awaiting to see his legacy summed up after 10 years as President.

Personal life

Mwai Kibaki and Mrs. Kibaki with then U.S. President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush at the White House during a state visit in 2003

President Kibaki is officially married to Lucy Muthoni. They together have four children: Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai, and Tony Githinji. They also have three grandchildren: Joy Jamie Marie, Mwai Junior and Krystina Muthoni.[122] Jimmy Kibaki has begun to emerge as a politician in his own right, and pundits speculate that he has designs to be his father’s political heir.[123]

In 2004 the media reported that Kibaki has a second spouse allegedly married under customary law, Mary Wambui, and a daughter, Wangui Mwai. After the news broke, the State House released an unsigned statement that Kibaki’s only immediate family is his wife, Lucy and their four children.[124] The Washington Post termed the entire scandal as a “new Kenyan soap opera”.[125] In 2009, Kibaki, accompanied by a furious Lucy Kibaki, held a press conference to re-state to the world that he only has one wife.[126]

President Kibaki is known to be a keen golfer and is one of the longtime members of the Muthaiga Golf Club.[127]

He is a practicing Christian and belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.

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Posted on June 12, 2012, in Categorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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