The Day Ngilu Dragged Kibaki to Be Nominated as Flagbearer

  • President Mwai Kibaki (fourth right) with members of the Committee on Management of Grand Coalition Government Harambee House April 2008 Daily Nation
  • Kitui Governor, Charity Ngilu, has been credited as being one of the key players in Mwai Kibaki's successful presidential bid in 2002.

    She reportedly dragged the reluctant Kibaki by the hand to what turned out to be the most important meeting of his entire life, as it resulted in him being named as the party's flagbearer and eventually president.

    A report by the Daily Nation gave a detailed account of the nomination day drama, and how Kibaki almost missed out on the presidency due to his reluctance to play a lead role in proceedings, preferring to have others battle for him.

    Image showing President Kenyatta among other digniaries during his working tour of China April 25, 2019

    "Ms Ngilu pulled Kibaki by the hand and impressed on him what a turnaround effect his physical presence would make at the Milimani meeting," an excerpt of the report revealed.

    Ms Ngilu knew that Kibaki needed to be physically present for the party nominations as his absence would lead to strong lobbying for NAK to pick a neutral candidate from outside the orbit of her National Party of Kenya (NPK), Kijana Wamlawa's Ford Kenya and Kibaki's DP party. 

    Party members present at Milimani Hotel led by Shem Ochuodho and Otieno Kopiyo (both MP's at the time) had already started proposing Reverend Mutava Musyimi (Chief Executive of National Council of Churches of Kenya at the time) as the preferred presidential nominee.

    The current Kitui governor realized that they were up for a fight and promptly took it upon herself to physically drag Kibaki to the meeting as she knew that his presence, backed by strong lobbying by herself and Mr Wamalwa, would carry the day, and it did.

    In typical Kibaki fashion, records indicated that members were taken aback by just how easy he was taking the entire matter, leaving Ngilu and Wamalwa to do all the heavy lifting.

    The former president felt that Mr Ochuodho and Kopiyo were lightweights who could not swing the votes with what he allegedly referred to as 'their neutral candidate nuisance.'

    He was proved right as his mere presence, thanks to Ms Ngilu, swayed the votes overwhelmingly in his favour, eventually leading to his 2002 landslide presidential victory.

    Former President Daniel Moi (l) and Mwai Kibaki pictured during the handover ceremony in 2002