Kibaki belonged to the school where politics needed professionalism

Mourners follow the funeral of late former President Mwai Kibaki at Nyayo National Stadium. [Dennis Kavisu]

The late President Mwai Kibaki will have two contrasting chapters in Kenya’s history. His tenure will figure in the worst pages of ethnic violence and corruption scandals as well as the best pages of economic progress and constitutional reform.

You can never dictate to history how you would like to be remembered. Going all out in the name of building a legacy can end up being a mistake. History may omit you from the list of memories. History has its own mind about who will be remembered and how. The deceased leaders would be shocked if they learned why they are remembered.

History chooses its accent. Some people’s story chose to immortalize really rugged spots, but today they are called the GOATS. Listening to the texture of the criticism Kibaki receives, it seems that the story has chosen a place for him in the room of the unforgettable.

Dr Kibuka Githaiga has described Kibaki as arguably the “father of modern Kenya”. Kibaki dared to dream that Kenya could come out of the shell of smallness and start showing its head among the nations of the world. He made the working nation work and in no time positive results were manifesting. He has demonstrated that Kenya can go from an April Fool’s joke to a true dream existence.

While the given name is a cultural and legal identifier, the values ​​are the earned name. The richer the values ​​displayed, the higher the chances of the story putting you in the hero corner. We will always talk a lot about Kibaki’s values ​​and style.


Many politicians in Kenya are reluctant to cut a family image. It is as if projecting the image of an endearing family took away from the image of independence. The family humanizes too much whereas a politician would like to appear an enigma. But this is an error of perception. Kenyans, on the contrary, are moved when they see the family side of their leaders. Just as they want to see their leaders worship God, they want to see their leaders play with their children. This expectation explains the quick critique that follows a leader who uses abusive language: “Does he know the kids are listening? »

At one point, Kibaki held a press conference to affirm his choice of a monogamous life, this in a culture that easily gave him a polygamous option. Given the intellectual and the philosopher that he was, he had the opportunity to expose another school of thought on marriage. But he supported the one-woman option. Memories of his children clearly portray a man who ranked his family very high. Family conscience sifts through the words a public leader uses. Speeches considered to be the greatest of all time are universal and available to everyone without any word filtering, indicating that obfuscation of family limits a leader’s chances of being a universal inspiration.


There are leaders who are worse than myopic. They are very egocentric. They only see things through the eyes of “What’s in it for me?” In leadership, authenticity and the human dimension are inseparable. Being people-centered means listening to people’s stories and being moved by them. By being moved, the action is restless. I remember KIbaki publicly shed tears while listening to the stories of young life-changing scholarship recipients from Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly. He was for all the efforts that made life better. He didn’t count other players who changed people’s lives as competitors but as partners. He claimed no monopoly on kindness.


Kibaki was a brilliant economist. Interestingly, his political life did not obscure his profession as an economist. When he became president, he intentionally wore his economist hat. This is not the case for many contemporary politicians. Unfortunately, many call their professions to be highways to personal gain. Their political brand stifles their professions. They even mentor bright young minds in the ways of brutality by training them on destructive innovations. Kibaki belonged to the school where politics needed professionalism. He had a double edged and cut approach as a politician and an economist.


Patriotism is a dying value. It is a term little used in current political parlance. Contemporary politicians know they have an awfully low reading of patriotism. What’s even worse is that they don’t want to increase it! Raising patriotism would mean sacrificing opportunities for others and doing good in the name of the country without expecting anything in return. The days of suffering for the country are over. Behold the days of siphoning are here! From the discomfort of the days before independence to the heat of post-election violence, Kibaki showed a commendable love for the country.


Kenyans expect their leaders to have visible spirituality. Even those who are actively irreligious must display some form of commitment to God. Without this optical religiosity, politicians are quickly labeled enemies of God, a doom label for any vote-hunter. Kibaki did not import raw spirituality into his political platforms. The scarcity of spiritual language in his political rhetoric could easily make him pass for a humanist.

But he had a deep spirituality. His discipline to maintain a simple priest-congregation equation speaks directly to the inflated spirituality of some politicians who insist they are also priests and therefore must speak at every church service they attend. Kibaki’s master class teaches them all about being a satisfied devotee.

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