ADDIS ABABA – Former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, who led the country from 2002 to 2013, has died at 90.
His 2002 election ended 40 years of one-party rule since independence, upsetting a candidate handpicked by outgoing president Daniel arap Moi.
However, his re-election in 2007 sparked months of nationwide violence and led to 1,200 deaths, according to the BBC.
President Uhuru Kenyatta led the tribute to his former rival, saying he had “led the charge to keep the ruling party accountable”.
Kibaki had “earned the abiding respect and affection” of this nation, he added.
Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde also said she was “Greatly saddened” by the passing of President Kibaki.
“His support to me as the first DG-UNON was critical,” President Sahle-Work said. “My heartfelt condolences to my brother President Uhuru Kenyatta, the government and the brotherly people of Kenya. May he Rest In Peace.”
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat also said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the passing of Kibaki.
“My sincere condolences to his family, president Uhuru Kenyatta, the Government and people of the Republic of Kenya,” Mahamat added.
Kenya has declared a mourning period until Kibaki’s burial, with flags flying at half-mast. A state funeral with full military honours has also been arranged.
The son of a tobacco trader, Kibaki attended Kampala’s Makerere University before earning a degree from the London School of Economics. He returned to Makerere as an economics lecturer in 1958.
Following Kenya’s independence, he was selected to parliament and became an aide to founding President Jomo Kenyatta.
Two years later, he was appointed commerce and industry minister.
Kibaki later served as Moi’s vice president, but a spat saw him moved to several less prominent posts before he switched to the opposition and won the 2002 election.
He is survived by several children and grandchildren.
– EM/News Agencies
Featured Image Caption: Kibaki was victorious in the 2002 and 2007 elections [Photo File/AFP]
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