5 things we'll remember Kenya's former President for as he celebrates his 86th birthday

The former president turns 86 years old today.

Kenya's 3rd President Mwai Kibaki is celebrating his 86th birthday.

He was born on November 15, 1931 in in Othaya, Nyeri County and was the youngest son of Kikuyu peasants Kibaki Gĩthĩnji and Teresia Wanjikũ.

Kibaki, an economist trained at East Africa’s Oldest University, Makerere University in Kampala, served as the country's President from 2002-2013.

His remarkable development record is echoed in the fact that he was committed to delivering what he promised Kenyans on 30th of December 2002 when he took office.

And as he celebrates his 86th birthday, Business Insider SSA looks at some of the highlights that marked the legacy of a president who is also an avid golfer:

Leadership style

President Kibaki's style was that of a low profile personality despite him being a highly intelligent and competent technocrat. His style of leadership was rather viewed as that of a withdrawn intellectual or technocrat.

He was not the kind of leader who tried to establish a personality cult. He never dominated news bulletins with reports of his presidential activities - however routine or mundane; and never engaged in the populist sloganeering of his predecessors.

Infrastructural development

The Kibaki presidency set itself the main task of reviving and turning round country after years of stagnation and economic mismanagement during the former President Daniel Arap Moi's years.

He oversaw many infrastructural projects that saw Kenya's economy experience a major turnaround. The most visible of all the projects that the president will be remembered for is the Sh31 billion Thika superhighway that was commissioned in November 2012.

Kibaki also commissioned the Olkaria 280 MegaWatt (MW) geothermal project whose main was to raise Kenya Electricity Generating Company’s (KenGen) total electricity capacity by 25 percent.

Such was the development that saw the GDP growth from a low 0.6% (real −1.6%) in 2002 to 5% in 2011.

Free primary education

In January 2003, Kibaki introduced a free primary education initiative, which brought over 1 million children who would not have been able to afford school the chance to attend. The initiative was lauded by many leaders including former US President Bill Clinton.

2010 Constitution

The passage of the Kenya's transformative 2010 Constitution was another key highlight of Kibaki's legacy. The constitution, which he championed by for in the Kenyan constitutional referendum in 2010 was a major triumph and achievement, which went a long way into addressing Kenya's governance and institutional challenges.

Witty remarks

It would not be right to end the list without mentioning Kibaki's witty remarks. The former President's speeches were nothing short of entertaining. His speeches were often marked by phrases such as "Kumbafu (useless) and mafi ya Kuku (chcken's droppings)" which he used in a humorous way.

That said, we wish the former President a Happy and Delightful Birthday.


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