Veteran Journalist Re-Lives Mwai Kibaki's Presidency

  • Former President Mwai Kibaki passed away on Friday, April 22, 2022
    Former President Mwai Kibaki passed away on Friday, April 22, 2022
    File
  • Following former President Mwai Kibaki's demise, a former Nation Group journalist has given an account of the late head of state's era from his lens.

    Charles Onyango Obbo detailed his piece, recalling how observant he was- tucked in his then corner office at Nation Centre.
     
    The veteran Ugandan journalist came to Kenya in 2003 in the initial years of President Kibaki's regime to serve as the Executive Editor for Media Convergence at the Nation Media group.

    It took him time to get used to the new Kenyan president who, compared to other African leaders, did not intimidate nor opress his critics.

    A photo of former Nation Media Group journalist, Charles Onyango Obbo.
    A photo of former Nation Media Group journalist, Charles Onyango Obbo.
    Kofi Annan Foundation

    "Guess I had been traumatised, but it took me two years to come to terms with an African leader who didn't jail, exile, or kill critics" the scribe tweeted.

    He described Kibaki as the 'typical old Makerere-schooled East African patrician' who contrary to others of his ilk was too proud to even mention the names of the then opposition leaders.

    The Ugandan writer praised Kibaki for his role in reviving the Kenyan economy judging at how many Kenyan companies announced their Initial Public Offering (IPOs) during his tenure.

    An IPO is the process of offering shares of a private corporation to the public in a new stock issuance.

    "From my corner office at Nation Centre, I counted that Kibaki came to the Nairobi Securities Exchange to launch an IPO, more times than he went to Parliament to harangue his fellow politicians" Charles concluded that was what sums up Kenya's third President the best.

    The downside of Kibaki's era as Obbo narrated was the 2007 election and violence that took a toll on his legacy. He described the situation as Kibaki eating the forbidden fruit.

    "An uneasy coalition followed, but he redeemed himself with a massive service delivery & development binge in his 2nd term - and left Kenya a budget surplus" he stated.

    The Master's Degree holder from American University, Cairo opined that Kibaki was the most consequential and reformist Kenyan leader. 

    Obbo's father-in-law was Kibaki's roommate at Makerere. 

    Kenyans continue to mourn Kibaki following his unprecedented death. President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a period of national mourning with flags flying at half-mast until President Mwai Kibaki is buried. 

    "President Mwai Kibaki shall be accorded a State Funeral, with full Military Honours and Protocols being rendered and observed," he ordered. 

    death violence