Facts about Kibaki

Published December 31, 2007

President Mwai Kibaki, 76, beat opposition rival Raila Odinga by a narrow margin to win re-election in Kenya’s closest ever vote, the head of the country’s electoral commission (ECK) said on Sunday.

— Kibaki was born on Nov 15, 1931, in Othaya near Mount Kenya. The highlands are filled with tea and coffee farms on Kenya’s most fertile soils, in the heartland of his Kikuyu tribe, Kenya’s largest. The son of a tobacco trader, his name in Kikuyu means big tobacco leaf.

— An adroit political player over the decades, Kibaki became a legislator for the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) party at independence in 1963. Within two years he was appointed commerce minister and then finance minister from 1970-1983. He served 10 years as President Daniel arap Moi’s vice-president, from the latter’s election in 1978.

— Gradually falling out of favour with Moi, Kibaki defected from KANU in 1991 and launched the Democratic Party to contest Kenya’s first multi-party election in 1992. He lost that and a 1997 poll. But in 2002 his National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) won power.

— During his term, Kibaki’s NARC coalition split, with one of its members, Raila Odinga, becoming his main election opponent. Kenyans are generally happy with Kibaki’s economic performance, and were delighted at his introduction of free primary and secondary education. But critics say he has done little to combat graft and tribalism, and reneged on some pledges such as re-writing the constitution within 100 days.

— Married with four children, Kibaki was educated at Uganda’s Makerere University and the London School of Economics, where he was the first African to graduate with a first-class degree. He returned to Makerere in 1958 as an economics lecturer.

— Among Kenya’s richest men, he has vast land holdings and interests in hotels, insurance and farming. Kibaki enjoys playing golf and socialising at Nairobi’s exclusive clubs.—Reuters

Opinion

Editorial

1971 in retrospect
Updated 28 Nov, 2022

1971 in retrospect

The point of no return came when the military launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971.
Gender-based violence
28 Nov, 2022

Gender-based violence

IT is a war without boundaries and seemingly without end. A UN report on femicide released on Nov 25, the...
Battle against dacoits
28 Nov, 2022

Battle against dacoits

THE Punjab police is clearly fighting a formidable, and so far losing, battle against the criminal gangs based in ...
Policy rate hike
Updated 27 Nov, 2022

Policy rate hike

The decision to hike the policy rate by 100bps is a step in the right direction, even if intended to appease the IMF.
Vawda’s reprieve
27 Nov, 2022

Vawda’s reprieve

FAISAL Vawda should be relieved. After years of running from a reckoning for submitting a false declaration in his...
Gujarat’s ghosts
27 Nov, 2022

Gujarat’s ghosts

TWO decades have passed since the bloody Gujarat riots, one of the worst spasms of anti-Muslim violence witnessed in...