1931 - 2022

Date/Year Of Birth


Date/Year Of Death

22 April 2022

Cover Message


Date/Year Of Death

22 April 2022



Life Story

Former president Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki still stands as one of Kenya’s longest-serving Parliamentarians, and by the time of his retirement from State House in 2013, he had clocked 50 years in the August house. Within that time he had served as a Member of Parliament, Minister, Vice President, leader of government business, leader of official opposition and President. Below is a brief and deliberately apolitical history of his life.

Birth and Early Life: Kibaki was born on 15 November 1931 in Gatuyaini village, Othaya division of Kenya's then Nyeri District (now Nyeri County). He was the youngest son of Kikuyu peasants Kibaki G?th?nji and Teresia Wanjik?. Though baptised as Emilio Stanley by Italian missionaries in his youth, he has been known as Mwai Kibaki throughout his public life.

Education: Kibaki started his schooling at the village school in Gatuyaini, where he completed two years. He then continued his education at the Karima mission school, close to Othaya town, before moving to Mathari School (now Nyeri High School) between 1944 and 1946. In addition to his academic studies, he learned carpentry and masonry at the school.

His intelligence and aptitude for learning stood out from a young age and in 1947 he qualified to study at the prestigious Mangu High School in Kiambu County. He completed in 1950, gaining the highest grade in his O-Level examinations. In his last year at Mang'u, Kibaki briefly considered enlisting in the army, but this ambition was thwarted when Kenya's Chief colonial secretary, Walter Coutts, prohibited members of Kikuyu, Embu, and Meru communities from joining the military.

His star continued to rise in academic circles after he was awarded a scholarship to Uganda’s renowned Makerere University in 1951 where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, History and Political Science. He graduated four years later with First Class honors. Whilst there, he also served as the Vice Chairman of the Makerere students guild between 1954 and 1955. Mwai Kibaki then received a scholarship to study at the London School of Economics from 1955 to 1958 where he excelled in Economics and Public Finance, graduating with distinction.

Marriage: In 1961, Kibaki married Lucy Muthoni, the daughter of a church minister, who was then a secondary school head teacher. The couple was blessed with four children: Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagi and Tony Githinji. Kibaki was preceded in death by his dear wife, Lucy who passed away in April 2016.

Working Life: Upon his return to East Africa, Kibaki then served his alma mater, Makerere University, as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Economics from 1958 to 1960.

In 1960, Kibaki left Makerere University and joined the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party as he sought greater impact in national politics. After Kenya gained independence in 1963, he won a seat in the National Assembly for Donholm constituency, now Makadara, in Nairobi County. He later moved his political base to his native home in Othaya constituency which he represented until he ascended to the presidency.

His political career went a notch higher in 1965 when he was appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry and he later served as the Minister of Finance between 1969 and 1982. His economics background had prepared him to navigate this complex docket. Kibaki was appointed Vice President when Daniel arap Moi rose to the presidency upon the death of Jomo Kenyatta in 1978.

Journey to the top: With the introduction of multi-party politics, Kibaki resigned his membership in KANU in 1991 to form the Democratic Party, the vehicle he used to run for president in 1992 and 1997. He lost on both occasions and became official head of the opposition in 1998.

In September 2002, Kibaki joined a group of notable politicians including Raila Odinga, Charity Ngilu and Michael Wamalwa in forming the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), a multiparty alliance that nominated Kibaki as its presidential candidate. He won that election and was re-elected in 2007.

On April 6, 2013, Kibaki, having completed his mandatory two terms in office, handed over to President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani. Kibaki and his family kept a low profile after 2013 with Kibaki giving his maiden public lecture in December at the University of Nairobi.

Signing off:  On August 21, 2016, Kibaki was taken to Karen Hospital for treatment, and later flown to South Africa for specialized treatment.  In June 2020, Kibaki’s private secretary Ngari Gituku told the media that Kibaki would have regular check-ups at the Nairobi Hospital but, contrary to some media reports, the former president had not been admitted.

Sad day: President Uhuru Kenyatta officially announced Mwai Kibaki's death on Friday 22 April 2022 in a televised address at State House, Nairobi. The retired President was aged 91.

Story sources: www.wikipedia.org, www.thefamouspeople.com, www.citizen.digital & https://www.britannica.com


In his honor, as private citizens, the team at www.mycondolencebook.com have set up this online condolence book. Access is via a link or visit the page and click on the image of the late President to send a message. Kindly keep the messages brief and respectful. The messages remain private, visible only to those authorised to do so.

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Shadrack Njoroge Kirunga

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