Kenya’s former president Mwai Kibaki dies at 90

Mwai Kibaki, Kenya‘s third president from 2003 to 2013, brought economic reforms and a new constitution to the country but struggled to combat pervasive corruption.

Kibaki, a British-educated economist, hid his political savvy behind his unflappable demeanor, which helped him win the presidency after four decades as a congressman, government minister, and then vice president under his predecessor, Daniel arap Moi.

Kibaki is credited for recovering Kenya’s then-ailing economy, but his tenure was overshadowed by violent unrest that killed more than 1,200 Kenyans following his disputed re-election in December 2007.

When journalists were swiftly evacuated from the electoral commission, the opposition was well ahead. Kibaki was declared the winner by a razor-thin margin hours later. Protesters’ fires erupted in smoke almost immediately.

Kenyatta remembered Kibaki’s extensive public service, including his five decades as a member of parliament, when announcing his death.

In a televised statement, Kenyatta stated, “Kibaki was a true patriot whose legacy of civic responsibility would continue to inspire generations of Kenyans long into our future.”

Kenyatta did not specify the reason of death, but domestic media indicated that Kibaki had been ill for some time.

Politicians took a break from campaigning during the August 9 general election to mourn Kibaki.

“He remained firm and built the groundwork for the economic blessings that Kenya is reaping now,” Musalia Mudavadi, a supporter of Deputy President William Ruto in the presidential election, said.

Kibaki, on the other hand, failed to address rampant graft, which is a fundamental demand of voters in the approaching elections, which put Ruto against Raila Odinga, a former veteran opposition leader who has been accepted by the political establishment.

Kibaki also worked to bring calm to regional hotspots, according to Moses Wetengula, a former cabinet member. “I oversaw many operations to stabilize Somalia and other areas of instability, including Congo,” Wetangula remarked as his foreign minister.

Kenyan peacekeepers are still stationed in Somalia’s south.

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