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Uhuru, Ruto, Raila pay moving tributes to Kibaki

Uhuru, Ruto, Raila pay moving tributes to Kibaki

By Justus Karanja

President Uhuru Kenyatta lead thousands of mourners in paying tributes to former President Emilio Mwai Kibaki at Nyayo National Stadium National Funeral Service.

During the service, Jimmy Kibaki, the late President Mwai Kibaki’s eldest son paid a glowing tribute to his father as a man of great passion who dedicated his life to Kenya and serving the people.

Jimmy in his tribute also said the family realises and acknowledges that the loss of their father is indeed a loss faced by Kenyans at large and this was evidenced by the long queues witnessed at the National Assembly where his late father laid in state.

He also reminisced on the good memories of his father claiming that if his father was to wake up at that time in point, he would have asked all the people who had come to see him lying in state to immediately go back to work because, for him, work was very important.

“If there’s a word that can encapsulate the life of Mwai Kibaki, it is excellence. Mzee lived to excel. From the moment he left his village in Othaya to begin his education, up to the day he retired as the President of the Republic of Kenya, that journey has been a journey to excel.”

Jimmy in emphasis said that excelling doesn’t always mean succeeding but it means trying your best, “this is what Mzee inspires us to do. To do our best.”

“So as Kenyans, as we send this great Lion of Kenya to rest beside his beloved wife, the late Lucy Kibaki, let us dedicate ourselves to excel for Kenya.”

In addition, Jimmy also thanked the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kenya for their swift action in taking over operations after Mzee passed on in Nairobi Hospital and later on moved the body to Lee Funeral Home.

“The professionalism of the armed forces has allowed us to mourn Mzee in a way that we feel truly humbled. I have even been saluted by Generals and other high ranking military officials. I remember being saluted by so many military officers when I went to see my father lying in state. I was like…. I could get used to this,” he said.

“General Kibochi, we as a family, want to say, Asante Sana!”

Trying to describe the dynamic relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his late father, Jimmy said that there are times he and his late father would watch the evening news. When the news came on, he would start dosing when some politicians started speaking. But when you (President Uhuru Kenyatta) came on the screen, he would sit upright and listen very keenly.

Jimmy also emphasized that the late Kibaki was very fond of President Kenyatta.

In conclusion, Jimmy said the family was overwhelmed by the demise of their father but were indeed very grateful to Kenyans at large.

During the public viewing of Mzee Kibaki’s body on Monday, Jimmy said that the last three months before his father’s death were the most difficult.

“Mzee had been ailing for about two or three years but for the last three months were quite difficult but he put up quite a good battle but in the end because of age and other factors determined that he had to go,” he said.

Deputy President William Ruto eulogised former President Mwai Kibaki as the best President Kenya ever had in a passionate and personal tribute.

Amid cheers from the crowd gathered at Nyayo Stadium for the State Funeral, Ruto described Kibaki as a man of great simplicity, from his journey in tending to goats to a great scholar and the finest economist the country has ever seen.

“We gather here to mourn the departure of a great son of our country. A distinguished servant of the people who rose through the ranks to the highest office,” he said.

The DP, who took to the podium after the opposition leader Raila Odinga, seized the opportunity to indirectly promote his campaign blue print that is hinged on transforming the economy, stating that it was every leader dream to follow in the footprints of the economist.

“I see his shadow and influence in what is going to become of the 5th president of Kenya, I see a conversation around the economy in which Kibaki was architect,” he said.

He said President Kibaki made a huge contribution to the second liberation, and once he ascended into office laid a firm foundation on education, infrastructure development and the economy.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta has been a good student of President Kibaki, I know that as his Deputy. President Kibaki laid the foundation for President Uhuru to build the expansive infrastructure we have in place now,” he said.

Ruto said while Kenya has bid farewell to the 2nd and 3rd Presidents in a span of two years, he takes pride in the way the country has respected its leaders while in office and in retirement.

ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga described the late former President Mwai Kibaki as a true statesman for his commitment in serving the country.

Speaking at Nyayo Stadium during the State funeral of the former Head of State, Raila said Kibaki’s fight against corruption was beyond reproach, lauding him for his role in uniting the country especially after the controversial 2007 general election.

“During the post-election violence, talks had collapsed, Kofi Annan invited Kibaki and I and we agreed to forgo our own interests. Some people wanted to access the room to compel Kibaki not to agree to power sharing but he told them everything was okay,” he said.

Raila had the crowd laughing when he remarked, “I don’t know how to eulogise a politician without talking politics” following a directive by the clergy warning leaders against making political statements, but all the same heeded the request.

And while recounting their time together in Government, Raila said, “There were differences while running the Government but we were able to solve them amicably.”

He remembered how his late father Jaramogi Oginga inducted a young Kibaki into politics, narrating a story on how during a visit to Uganda, Jaramogi was introduced to Kibaki then a student at Makerere by President Milton Obote.

Kibaki would be tasked with drafting a manifesto for KANU paving the way for his political journey.

“Today we tell the story of Mwai Kibaki as a youth, as an intellectual, as a politician. We join the family in saying kwaheri to a great patriot,” He said.

He described Kibaki as a gentleman, a man of conviction and a leader who gave ministers freedom to run their ministries so long as they didn’t engage in corruption.

“We maintained our friendship even after he retired as the President, as we mourn, I bring to you condolences of Kenyans from abroad who aren’t here with us,” he said.

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