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Nyeri leaders mourn passing of former President Kibaki

Nyeri residents have eulogised Kenya’s third president, the late Mwai Kibaki, as a true servant leader.

Nyeri governor, Mutahi Kahiga, described former President Kibaki as a gallant son and the best president that the nation has ever had. He said that the country had lost a great leader who will be remembered for restoring hope and rebuilding the economy.

Administrative police lower the flags to half-mast at the Regional Commissioner’s office following the death of Kenya’s third president, Mwai Kibaki. Photo by Wangari Mwangi

“He gifted the people of Kenya a working economy and halted our full dependence on external entities. His legacy is firmly settled and forever cemented in our hearts,” said Kahiga.

Kahiga also remembered him as the longest serving Othaya legislator who became a role model for leaders on how to manage public affairs.

He earned the respect and admiration of both friends and foe. He was a giant who navigated the murky waters of politics with so much ease and charm. He gave us the blue print of success in the management of public affairs.

Nyeri Town MP, Ngunjiri Wambugu wrote on his Facebook page: “Absolutely one of a kind. There will never be another like him. Rest well sir…You did your part for Kenya.”

While conveying their messages of condolence following his demise on Friday, the residents paid glowing tribute to President Kibaki and praised him for transforming the nation’s economic and social welfare.

Davis Wachira, a senior citizen, describes Kibaki as a bright man who steered the nation to great economic developments through his good governance.

“I have known Mzee Kibaki since the 1960s when he was at Makerere University. Kibaki was a bright man who saved this country economically and socially. May he rest in peace,” he said.

Peterson Munge said that Kenyans had lost a great leader who had many attributes to be emulated. He said that he will remember president Kibaki as a leader who joined politics for the greater good of the country. Munge said one of the things he will remember president Kibaki for was the economic transformation which enabled Kenyans to be self-reliant.

“When he was elected president, he diligently performed his duties and everyone is enjoying the many good things he left behind during his tenure in office. For instance, he was able to move the country from a point of economic hardship and thanks to his leadership, many Kenyans like me were able to afford things like property,” said Munge.

Others like Carol Kariuki, a food eatery owner, remembered the former president for his comical utterances that were riddled with a lot of lessons. She said she would remember him for challenging people to earn a living through hard work.

“Much as he used to call people ‘bure kabisa there was always a good lesson behind his jokes. He always used to say that there was no need for one to be alive if their work is to steal from others and from that he taught people that they need to earn their living through hard work,” she said.

Joe Wanjohi described president Kibaki as the best president the country has ever had. Wanjohi said that Kibaki is one of the few leaders in the country whose reputation has not been tainted with scandals.

“I remember him for his politeness and his sober and mature politics. Truly Kenya and Nyeri at large has lost a good leader,” he said.

Susan Wanjugu, another resident, said that his death was a big blow as the country had lost a hardworking leader. Wanjugu says that she would remember Kibaki for not only improving the economy but also for improving the transport system through modern roads.

“He has done so much for this country; we cannot be able to say enough of what he did for this country. I will especially remember him for conceptualizing the Thika Super highway, our movement is very easy thanks to his effort,” she said.

Archbishop Amos Mathenge of AIPCA church Tetu said that president Kibaki’s death was a shock for many. He eulogised the former president as a patient and very reserved man who influenced people positively. Mathenge said that he will remember president Kibaki’s tendency to discourage people to rely on handouts.

“He discouraged people from waiting for his motorcade on the road sides. He would always tell bystanders to go out and work and that encouraged people to embrace hard work, to date my rallying call to my congregants is for them to go out there and work,” said Mathenge.

John Theuri while eulogizing president Kibaki, likened his death to the fall of a fig tree (Mugomo) since he was the senior most leader in the county. He said he will remember him for his contribution to the economy, education and leadership spheres.

“He is the one leader who left this country with so much we can take pride in as citizens. His death has left a huge gap, may he rest in peace,” he said.

By Beth Ndirangu

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