Emilio Mwai Kibaki, C.G.H. (born 15 November 1931) is a Kenyan politician who was elected the third President of Kenya in December 2002 of theRepublic of Kenya. He was elected to a second five-year term in December 2007 after controversially emerging as the winner of a highly contested election versus Raila Odinga, who was later named Prime Minister in a coalition government. The election was marked by accusations of fraud and widespread irregularities that led to the post-election violence of 2007–2008.
Kibaki was previously Vice-President of Kenya for ten years from 1978 to 1988 under then President Daniel Arap Moi and also held cabinet ministerial positions, including a widely acclaimed stint as Minister for Finance (1969–1981), Minister for Home Affairs (1982–1988) and Minister for Health (1988–1991).
After resigning as a cabinet minister in 1991, Kibaki served as an opposition Member of Parliament from 1991 up to his election in 2002 after two unsuccessful bids for the presidency in 1992 and 1997.
Early life and education
Kibaki was born in Gatuyaini village in division of Nyeri District in 1931. 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 for all intents and purposes as his name.Family oral history maintains that his early education was made possible by his much older brother-in-law, Paul Muruthi, who insisted that young Mwai should go to school instead of spending his days grazing his father’s sheep and cattle and baby-sitting his little nephews and nieces for his older sister.
Kibaki turned out to be an exemplary student. He attended Gatuyainĩ School for the first two years, where he completed what was then called Sub “A” and sub “B” (the equivalent of standard one and two or first and second grade). He later joined Karima mission school for the three more classes of primary school. He later moved to Mathari School (now Nyeri High School) between 1944 and 1946 for Standard four to six, where, in addition to his academic studies, he learnt carpentry and masonry as students would repair furniture and provide material for maintaining the school’s buildings. He also grew his own food as all students in the school were expected to do, and earned extra money during the school holidays by working as a conductor on buses operated by the defunct Othaya African Bus Union. After Karima Primary and Nyeri Boarding primary schools, he proceeded to Mang’u High School where he studied between 1947 and 1950. He passed with a maximum of six points in his “O” level examination.
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 Universityin 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 B.Sc 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 1960. In 1962, Kibaki married Lucy Muthoni, the daughter of a Church Minister, who was then a secondary school Head Teacher.
President Kibaki’s first term was about reviving and turning round the Kenyan economy after years of economic mis-management during the Moi years – a feat that was largely attained in the face of great challenges, including the President’s ill health at the time, and political tension culminating in the break-up of the NARC coalition. 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.
President Kibaki, the economist whose term as Finance minister in the 1970s is widely celebrated as outstanding, has done much to repair the damage to the country’s economy during the 24-year reign of his predecessor, President Moi. The country, compared to the Moi years, is much better managed, and has by far more competent personnel, and is already much transformed.
The improved management of the economy during the Kibaki presidency has seen continued Kenya GDP growth 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, a very significant recovery from the preceding near total economic collapse and decay.
The President has also overseen the coming into being of the Vision 2030, a development plan aimed at raising GDP growth to 10% annually and transforming Kenya into a middle income country, which he unveiled on 30 October 2006.
Many sectors of the economy have recovered from total collapse pre-2003. Numerous state corporations that had collapsed during the Moi years have been revived and are performing profitably. The telecommunications sector is booming. Rebuilding, modernisation and expansion of infrastructure has been going on in earnest, with several ambitious infrastructural and other projects, which would have been seen as unattainable pipe dreams during the bland and largely stagnant Moi years, planned or ongoing. The country’s cities and towns are also being positively renewed and transformed.
Kibaki has overseen a reduction of Kenya’s dependence on aid by western donors, with the country being increasingly funded by internally generated resources such as increased tax revenue collection. Additionally, Kenya has increased the amount of incoming investments, grants and loans by non-western countries, mainly Japan, People’s Republic of China, and the Middle East; to a lessor extent, investment by South African, Libyan and Nigerian corporations, and Iran have also played a part.
President Kibaki’s style is that of a competent technocrat, as opposed to the populist buffoonery, or strongman dictatorship, so common in Africa. He,unlike his predecessors,has not tried to establish a personality cult. He has not had his portrait on every unit of Kenya’s currency, neither has he had all manner of streets, places and institutions named after him. He has not had state sanctioned praise songs composed in his honour, does not seek to dominate and lead all news bulletins with reports of his presidential activities, and does not engage in the populist sloganeering of his predecessors.
The President’s style of a seemingly aloof withdrawn technocrat or intellectual makes him come across as a seemingly snobbish upper class urbanite who is out of touch with the ordinary Kenyan. The President’s aloof “delegation style” also makes his governments,especially at cabinet level, seem dysfunctional and chaotic.
After the supreme court dismissed CORD petition Kibaki is expected to handover presidency in the swearing ceremony to Uhuru Kenyatta that will be held on 9 April 2013. The swearing ceremony will mark the end of his presidency and 50yrs of public service