Former President Mwai Kibaki dies at 90

Uhuru announces Kibaki's death

Former President Mwai Kibaki has passed away at the age of 90. 

His death was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday.

"It is my sorrowful duty to announce to the nation the passing on of H.E. Emilio Mwai Kibaki, the Third President of the Republic of Kenya. H.E. Mwai Kibaki lived a dedicated life of public service. We salute a notable father figure in the chronicles of our Nation. A leader who strove so hard and accomplished so much for his country. A nation he so deeply cherished and served with commitment and an unbending will to improve the lives of our people," he said.

"As we mourn this immeasurable loss, we recall with eternal gratitude President Kibaki’s patriotic journey in service to his Country, which can be traced way back to Kenya's fight for liberation," he added. 

After announcing his death, President Kenyatta declared a period of national mourning, including the flying of national flags at half-mast, until a state funeral is held for Kibaki.

No funeral date 

No date has been set for the funeral. Mr Kenyatta said the late President will be accorded a State funeral with full military honours and protocols.

“The President, the Deputy President, the Chief Justice, Cabinet Secretaries, the Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate, Kenya diplomats abroad and whomsoever else is so authorised by law, shall not fly the national flag on their official motorcade from today until sunset on the day of Kibaki’s interment,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Private life

After leaving office in 2013, Kibaki rarely engaged in public life. He fell ill in 2016 and government officials and his family were all along guarded about issuing information on his health.

He had enjoyed good health most of his adult life, and was known to play golf, becoming almost a permanent fixture in the country’s club circuit until he was injured in a 2002 road accident.

Outgoing president Daniel arap Moi, left, gestures as he sits alongside Kenya's newly elected president Mwai Kibaki during a swearing-in ceremony in Nairobi, on December 30, 2002. Veteran politician Kibaki and his opposition alliance were swept into office three days earlier in general elections won for the first time by the political opposition.

Photo credit: File

Kibaki served as the third President for 10 years (2002-2013) and as MP for 50 years (1963-2013).

Political career

He joined the National Assembly in 1963 as Member of Parliament for Donholm constituency, subsequently renamed Bahati and now Makadara. In 1974, he shifted his political base from the capital city to his rural home in Othaya, Nyeri County, where he was elected and served as MP until 2013.

He also held various Cabinet positions in the governments of Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi.

Upon joining Parliament in 1963, Kibaki was appointed by Jomo Kenyatta as permanent secretary for the Treasury and in 1966 became assistant minister for Finance and chairman of the Economic Planning Commission. He later headed the ministries of Commerce and Industry, and Finance and Economic Planning.

Kibaki also served as vice-president for 10 years (1978-1988) under Moi, who died in February 2020.

He left the position after falling out with Moi and became an opposition MP from 1992 to 2002, when he was elected the third President after two unsuccessful attempts (1992 and 1997).

narc mou

From left: Ms Charity Ngilu, Mr Wamalwa Kijana, Mr Mwai Kibaki, Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka and Prof George Saitoti during the signing of the Narc MoU in 2002.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

After leaving office in 2013, Kibaki retired into private life and did not engage in active politics. In August 2016 he was flown to South Africa for specialised treatment after he fell ill on a weekend and was rushed to Karen Hospital in Nairobi.

Former Presidents Daniel arap Moi (right) and Mwai Kibaki

Former Presidents Daniel arap Moi (right) and Mwai Kibaki on May 4, 2016. 

Photo credit: File | Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group