Kenya is mourning former president Mwai Kibaki as a sharp intellectual giant who had economic insights to fix broken economies.
Kibaki was active in Kenyan politics and governance for half a century but what stands out most about him is his ability to rebuild economies from ashes of destruction like the one left by his predecessor Daniel Moi in 2002.
He was not only fixing broken economies, the fallen leader is also remembered as the gentleman of Kenyan politics.
John Kamau, an author, wrote that Kibaki’s cool mind coupled with his intelligence saw him outsmart his challenges in the 1990s to when he became president in 2002.
But Kibaki did not like pettiness, especially the Raila Odinga brand of politics that is characterized by anarchy, protests, show offs and changing of the constitution to create positions for groupies and cronies. He found Odinga pushy, overworked and not really a good administrator.
He gave Odinga his first dose after the 2002 elections. Odinga had coined the infamous ‘Kibaki Tosha‘ phrase with hopes of a PM position being created and dished to him. That did not see the light of the day. Kibaki had an unexpected change of mind and shifted his focus on rebuilding the economy.
“Kibaki and Raila drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which clearly stated that once in power, Kibaki would push for a parliamentary system which entailed whittling down of presidential powers to make room for a powerful Prime Minister (a position that had been promised to Raila)…” Yash Pal Ghai.
Kibaki would again prove that he was a hard nut for Odinga to crack following an impasse on the size of the cabinet after the two formed a grand coalition government in 2008.
He was not comfortable with the 20-20 split in the lucrative cabinet posts that Odinga viewed as a reward to his biggest supporters.
And his stint with Odinga between 2008 and 2013 provided many scenarios where he trashed Odinga’s political schemes. As campaign was hitting fever pitch in the run up to 2013 polls, Odinga had made Mau forest conservation a serious political issue.
President Kibaki who did not want to associate with the matter as Odinga lost the backing of Rift Valley, failed to go to Mau Forest for what PM Odinga believed was to be a symbolic launch of a national tree-planting programme.
Odinga had widely publicized that Kibaki was to attend, a plot that was meant to pile pressure on Kibaki to attend but he dodged Odinga and Mau politics.
While DP Ruto suspended his campaign as a mark of respect to Mzee Kibaki, Raila chose to fly to the US on a political trip and was seen enjoying while all of Kenya was mourning.
Kenyans have taken to social Media to warn Raila that this disrespect towards Mzee Kibaki in his passing will not be forgiven.
President Kibaki will be laid to rest at his Othaya home on April 30th and the given the outpour of anger against former PM Raila Odinga, he has been forced to cut short his US Political trip and return ti Kenya to pay his homage to President Kibaki. A clear reflection of Raila being concerned only about his public image and it seems like Kenyans will not forgive him for this come August 9, 2022.