Five things you probably did not know about Mwai Kibaki

Mwai Kibaki

Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki died on Friday at the age of 90.

His body is currently lying in state at the national assembly where he served for 50 years.

But apart from the popularity of President Kibaki, there are a number of things that not many are aware of.

He grew up not liking the name Emilio

Kibaki was born to Kibaki Githinji and Teresia Wanjiku in Thunguri Village, Othaya, in Nyeri.

The Italian missionaries baptized him Emilio, but he did not seem interested in the name.

So, he was Mwai Kibaki for the rest of his life. “Emilio” would appear in the ballot papers, election complaints and affidavits.

 He became a bus conductor

During the holidays he worked for the Othaya African Bus Union Company.

He was a talented student. He attended Mang’u Secondary School where he was the first “A” student, between 1947 and 1950 he achieved a pass mark of six points in his Form Four examinations.

He wanted to join the army

It is possible that Kibaki would end up as General Kibaki but the colonial authorities did not intend to have troops from central Kenya, home to the Mau-Mau group.

His dream of military service, inspired by veterans who returned to World War II, melted away when he joined Makerere University, Uganda, where he studied Economics, History and Political Science graduating in 1955 with a first-class honour, B.A. in Economy.

During those days, jobs were more than the seekers. With these high-profile qualifications, he got a job at Shell’s largest oil company as an assistant sales manager in the Uganda Unit.

Later, he enrolled in the London School of Economics for a degree in public finance, graduated with upper-class honours, and returned to Makerere as a lecturer in 1958.

He was named by the Times in 1974 as ‘capable of leading’

In 1974, he faced stiff competition for the Donholm seat from Jael Mbogo who almost ousted him in 1969, and moved his political base to Othaya.

TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. And they were not wrong Kibaki would be Othaya MP until 2007 and a two-term President of Kenya.

In 1978 Moi named him Vice President and Interior Minister.

He grew to love the game of golf

Kibaki loved to play golf and was a patron of the Kenyan golf club for over 30 years.

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