Kenya honors former President Kibaki with state funeral

Apr 28, 2022, 2:31 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2022, 7:45 am

A photograph stands next to the coffin of Kenya's former President Mwai Kibaki, at his state funera...

A photograph stands next to the coffin of Kenya's former President Mwai Kibaki, at his state funeral in the capital Nairobi, Kenya Friday, April 29, 2022. Kenyans are paying their last respects to the former leader, whose death was announced last Friday, in a state funeral service that is attended by African leaders. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

(AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyans paid their last respects to former President Mwai Kibaki in a state funeral service Friday that was attended by African leaders.

Kibaki, whose death was announced last Friday, has been praised by Kenya’s current leaders as a respected statesman. He was 90.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his tribute Friday called Kibaki “one of the greatest African statesmen of his generation” and recalled him as “a man of few words but a man of decisive action.”

Authorities declared Friday a public holiday in honor of Kibaki, who served two terms as president from 2002 to 2013. The presidents of Kenya, South Africa and South Sudan are among the dignitaries attending the state funeral in the capital, Nairobi.

Hundreds of Kenyans had stood by the roadside to watch a military procession escorting the hearse to the national stadium where thousands more had gathered since early morning.

“It is the second time I have seen something like this. It is sad but very colorful,” said Mercy Wairimu, a street vendor of sweets.

Kibaki will be buried on Saturday at his ancestral home in central Kenya.

Before becoming president in 2002, Kibaki had a distinguished career as a public servant. He had served as finance minister, vice president, and official leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. He was often seen as a gentleman in a country full of more aggressive politicians.

Kibaki’s reelection to a second term in 2007 put a dent in his reputation as his victory was disputed by his opponent, Raila Odinga. Odinga asserted that the election result had been rigged and that he had really won the poll.

Hundreds of people were killed in weeks of ethnic violence that followed.

Amid the stalemate, Kenya exploded into fighting along tribal lines that forced more than 600,000 people from their homes. The violence shattered Kenya’s standing as a beacon of stability in East Africa.

The international community led by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan eventually brokered a fragile power-sharing deal between Kibaki and Odinga, who settled for a new role as Kenya’s prime minister.

In the wake of the violence, Kibaki oversaw a new constitution for Kenya that was aimed at decentralizing powers and reducing persistent ethnic tensions that continue to flare up during electoral seasons. The new constitution was praised as having some of the most progressive human rights provisions in the world.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Image: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote...

Associated Press

Supreme Court agrees to decide if Trump can be prosecuted for election interference

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the former president can be prosecuted on charges he interfered with the 2020 election.

1 day ago


Michael Tackett, The Associated Press

McConnell will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November

McConnell said he plans to serve out his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, “albeit from a different seat in the chamber.”

2 days ago

Image: This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, on Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidenti...

Associated Press

Trump, Biden won Michigan: but ‘uncommitted’ votes stick out

Early results from Michigan highlighted some of the two candidates' biggest political vulnerabilities ahead of the November general election.

2 days ago

An entrance to a Macy's store in the mall. (File photo: Ted Shaffrey, AP)...

Associated Press

Macy’s to close 150 stores as sales slip, pivot to luxury with Bloomingdale’s locations

Macy’s will close 150 unproductive namesake stores over the next three years including 50 by year-end, the department store operator said Tuesday.

2 days ago

Image: Former President Donald Trump, with lawyers Christopher Kise and Alina Habba, attends the cl...

Associated Press

Donald Trump appeals $454M judgment in New York civil fraud case

The former president is challenging that he lied about his wealth as he grew the real estate empire that launched him to stardom.

4 days ago

lily gladstone...

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

‘Oppenheimer,’ Lily Gladstone win at 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards

Gladstone won Saturday and the crowd erupted. Stone, too, stood and vigorously applauded. Her win would be a first for Native Americans.

5 days ago

Kenya honors former President Kibaki with state funeral