Kenya’s former President Kibaki laid to rest in ancestral home

Soldiers salute during the state burial for Kenya’s former President Emilio Mwai Kibaki in Othaya, Nyeri county, Kenya, April 30, 2022. (Photo by John Okoyo/Xinhua)

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | Emilio Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s third president who died on April 22 at the age of 90, was laid to rest in his ancestral home located in central Kenyan county of Nyeri on Saturday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who succeeded Kibaki in April 2013 was among dignitaries who attended the state burial whose climax was a 19-gun salute by the country’s military.

While delivering his eulogy, Kenyatta hailed Kibaki’s transformational leadership, intellect, patriotism and selfless dedication to improve the lives of ordinary citizens, hence positioning Kenya as a regional economic powerhouse.

“As we prepare to lay to rest an astute economist, visionary leader and a selfless public servant, let us endeavor to emulate his good deeds and make this country a beacon of hope, resilience and opportunities,” Kenyatta remarked.

Kenyatta whose term in office ends in August as dictated by the constitution challenged elected leaders to embrace Kibaki’s cherished ideals like good governance, economic reforms and national cohesion.

Born in 1931, Kibaki served as Kenya’s Finance Minister in the 1960s soon after the country attained independence from British colonial rule, later on becoming a Vice President from 1978 to 1988 under the late President Daniel Moi.

Kibaki also served the country as a Health Minister before resigning from government to form an opposition party which later propelled him to presidency in 2002 under the National Rainbow Coalition(NARC).

During his presidency from 2002 to 2013, Kibaki oversaw economic and governance reforms, pursued regional integration and revitalized bilateral cooperation with China that hastened Kenya’s modernization.

It was during Kibaki’s reign that Kenya witnessed implementation of China-built modern infrastructure projects including Thika Superhighway and several ring roads within the capital Nairobi.

The late Kenyan leader conceptualized the 480 kilometers China-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway(SGR) whose implementation was concluded in May 2017. ■

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