|Birth Day:||November 15, 1931|
|Birth Place:||Gatuyaini, Kenya|
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He attended the prestigious London School of Economics for a B.Sc in public finance before returning to Kenya to become executive officer of Kenya African National Union.
Kibaki was born in 1931 in Thunguri village, Othaya division of Kenya's then Nyeri District, now Nyeri County. He is the youngest son of Kikuyu peasants Kibaki Gĩthĩnji and Teresia Wanjikũ. Though baptised as Emilio Stanley by Italian missionaries in his youth, he has been known as Mwai Kibaki throughout his public life.
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. 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 BSc 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 1961. In 1961, Kibaki married Lucy Muthoni, the daughter of a church minister, who was then a secondary school head teacher.
In early 1960, Mwai Kibaki left academia for active politics by giving up his job at Makerere and returning to Kenya to become an 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. His election was the start of a long political career. In 1963 Kibaki was appointed the Permanent Secretary for the Treasury. 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. In 1969, he became Minister of Finance and Economic Planning where he served until 1982.
In 1974, Kibaki, facing serious competition for his Donholm Constituency seat from a Mrs. Jael Mbogo, whom he had only narrowly and controversially beaten for the seat in the 1969 elections, 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.
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.
Kibaki fell out of favor with President Moi in March 1988, and was dropped as vice president and moved to the Ministry of Health. He seemingly took the demotion in his stride without much ado.
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) and entered the presidential race in the upcoming multi-party elections of 1992. He was criticized 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 multiparty despite not having fought for it.
Kibaki's political style during these years was described as gentlemanly and non-confrontational. This style exposed him to criticism that he was a spineless, or even cowardly, politician who never took a stand: according to one joke, "He never saw a fence he didn't sit on". He also, as the political circumstances of the time dictated, projected himself as a loyal stalwart of the ruling single party, KANU. In the months before multi-party 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".
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. In January 1998, Kibaki became the leader of the official opposition with the Democratic Party being the official opposition party in Parliament.
In preparation for the 2002 elections, Kibaki's Democratic Party affiliated with several other opposition parties to form National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (NARC). 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 (now Kibaki's successor as Kenya's 4th President after the 2013 General Election), 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!
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 kilometres (25 miles) From Nairobi. He was subsequently hospitalized in Nairobi, then London, after sustaining fracture injuries in the accident. 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 and Kijana Wamalwa (who went on to become the Vice President) who campaigned tirelessly for Kibaki after stating, "The captain has been injured in the field... but the rest of the team shall continue."
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.
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. At his inauguration, he stressed his opposition to government corruption, saying: "Government will no longer be run on the whims of individuals."
Kenya's economy in the Kibaki years experienced a major turnaround. GDP growth picked up 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, then after the post election chaos and Global Financial Crisis—2008 (1.7%)and 2009 (2.6%), recovered to 5% in 2010 and 5% in 2011.
Critics posit that President Kibaki failed to take advantage of the 2002 popular mandate for a complete break with the past and fix the politics largely mobilized along ethnic interests. "... 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." Elected in 2002 on a reform platform, Kibaki was seen to have re-established the status quo ante. His opponents charged that a major aim of his presidency was the preservation of the privileged position of the elite that emerged during the Kenyatta years, of which he was part.
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. 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. Kibaki did not look well, for instance, when he appeared live on TV on 25 September 2003 to appoint Moody Awori Vice President after the death in office of Vice President, Michael Wamalwa Kijana.
In January 2003, Kibaki introduced a free primary education initiative, which brought over 1 million children who would not have been able to afford school the chance to attend. The initiative received positive attention, including praise from Bill Clinton, who would travel to Kenya to meet Kibaki.
The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was also introduced in 2003. The fund was designed to support constituency-level, grass-root development projects. It was aimed to achieve equitable distribution of development resources across regions and to control imbalances in regional development brought about by partisan politics. It targeted all constituency-level development projects, particularly those aiming to combat poverty at the grassroots. The CDF programme 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. CDF was the first step towards the devolved system of government introduced by the 2010 Constitution, by which Local Government structures were Constitutionally redesigned, enhanced and strengthened.
In 2004, the media reported that Kibaki has a second spouse, whom he allegedly married under customary law, Mary Wambui, and a daughter, Wangui Mwai. State House in response released an unsigned statement that Kibaki's only immediate family at the time was his then wife, Lucy, and their four children. In 2009, Kibaki, with Lucy in close attendance, held an odd press conference to re-state publicly that he only has one wife. The matter of Kibaki's alleged mistress, and his wife's usually dramatic public reactions thereto, provided an embarrassing side-show during his presidency, with the Washington Post terming the entire scandal as a "new Kenyan soap opera".
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.
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, with the aim of purging all Raila-allied ministers from the cabinet. 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-organize 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 MP's from the opposition, termed the Government of National Unity (GNU), was thereafter appointed, but some MP's who were offered ministerial positions declined to take up posts.
President Kibaki also oversaw the creation of Kenya's Vision 2030, a long-term development plan aimed at raising GDP growth to 10% annually and transforming Kenya into a middle income country by 2030, which he unveiled on 30 October 2006.
On 26 January 2007, President Kibaki declared his intention of running for re-election in the 2007 presidential election. 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, DP, Narc-Kenya, Ford-Kenya, Ford People, and Shirikisho.
On 30 September 2007, a robust and much healthier President Kibaki launched his presidential campaign at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi.
The election was held on 27 December 2007. Kibaki won and was sworn in what remains to be a contentious issue at twilight.
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 the new Parliament.
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 was fifty percent Kibaki appointed ministers and fifty percent Raila appointed ministers, and was in reality a carefully balanced ethnic coalition. The arrangement, which also included Kalonzo Musyoka as vice president, was known as the "Grand Coalition Government".
However, the passage of Kenya's transformative 2010 Constitution, successfully championed by President Kibaki in the Kenyan constitutional referendum in 2010 was a major triumph and achievement, which went a long way into addressing Kenya's governance and institutional challenges. With the new Constitution started wide-ranging institutional and legislative reforms, which President Kibaki skilfully and successfully steered in the final years of this presidency."His greatest moment was the promulgation of the new Constitution... It was a very deep and emotional moment for him," Kibaki's son Jimmy was quoted as saying.
Lawyer George Kegoro, in an article published in the Daily Nation newspaper on 12 April 2013 summarized the Kibaki Political Legacy thus:-
The Daily Nation, in an article published on 4 March 2013 titled "End of a decade of highs and lows for Mwai Kibaki" summarised it thus:
A proud looking but rather worn President Kibaki handed over the Kenyan presidency to his successor, Uhuru Kenyatta, on 9 April 2013 at a public inauguration ceremony held at Kenya's largest stadium. "I am happy to pass the torch of leadership to the new generation of leaders", said Kibaki. He also thanked his family and all Kenyans for the support they had given him throughout his tenure in office, and cited the various achievements his government made.
Ms. Wambui, the rather popular "other woman", who enjoyed the state trappings of a Presidential spouse and became a powerful and wealthy business-woman during the Kibaki Presidency, frequently drove Lucy into episodes of highly embarrassing very publicly displayed rage. Ms. Wambui, despite opposition from Kibaki's family, led publicly by Kibaki's son, Jimmy, and despite Kibaki's public endorsement and campaign for her opponent, succeeded Kibaki as Member of Parliament for Othaya in the 2013 General Election. In December 2014, Senator Bonny Khalwale stated on KTN's Jeff Koinange Live that President Kibaki had introduced Wambui as his wife.
President Kibaki was married to Lucy Muthoni from 1961 until her death in 2016. They have four children: Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai, and Tony Githinji. They also have several grandchildren: Joy Jamie Marie, Rachael Muthoni,Mwai Junior and Krystinaa Muthoni. Jimmy Kibaki did have, so far unsuccessful, designs to be his father's political heir.
On 21 August 2016, Kibaki, who was ill, was taken to Karen Hospital and later flown to South Africa for specialized treatment.
Currently, Mwai Kibaki is 89 years, 8 months and 11 days old. Mwai Kibaki will celebrate 90th birthday on a Monday 15th of November 2021.
Find out about Mwai Kibaki birthday activities in timeline view here.