By Paul Mukana
As Kenyans continue mourning the demise of the 3rd president Emilio Mwai Kibaki, his decorated political career is quite an oblivion.
Kibaki is perhaps the longest serving public servant in Kenya, having circumnavigated the tricky political arena for 50 years.
Kibaki was born and raised in an average family at Gatuyaini village, Othaya, Nyeri county on 15th November 1931.
The genesis of his political career is rooted back to 1963 immediately after graduating from Makerere University with a first class honours degree in economics.
He was then appointed as a lecturer at the same institution before landing in the Kenyan political arena as KANU’s executive officer.
His top cream mind ensured that he clinched the then Doonholm parliamentary seat , Nairobi, in the hotly contested 1963 elections.
The resilience in him gave him an exponential rapport with the then president Jomo Kenyatta.
Kibaki then narrowly defeated Ms.Jael Mbogo to earn the Bahati parliamentary seat in 1969.
In the subsequent elections, he moved to Othaya constituency, his home turf, where he served as MP for 40 years until his retirement.
That makes him the longest serving MP in the history of Kenyan politics.
His requisite power in social-economic programs made Jomo Kenyatta to appoint him the second minister for finance after James Gichuru.
It is a position that brought him to the international limelight due to his excellent economic experience.
At treasury, he formulated trajectory projects which included foreign financing, laying strong economic foundations.
It is an economic force that spearheaded the rise of Webuye Pan Paper Mills,Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret-Malaba highway, Kenya Fertilizer Plant in Mombasa among dozens of other projects.
Kibaki was appointed as Kenya’s 4th vice president in 1978 after Jomo Kenyatta’s death.
President Moi had no choice but to hand Kibaki the job due to his experience and wonderful oratory skills.
Kibaki served as VP for 10 years until 1988 when he was demoted to serve as the health minister.
He fall out with president Moi in 1991 and actively ventured into the multy party politics along other zealous leaders who included, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenneth Matiba, Masinde Muliro amongst dozens of other youngster politicians.
He founded the Democratic Party (DP) , a party that was portrayed as a vivid opposition outfit.
Kibaki unsuccessfully vied for the 1992 and 1997 presidential elections twice failing out to President Moi.
The loss left Kibaki with no choice but to coalesce the opposition politics after the parliament officially confirmed him as the opposition leader in 1998.
As a matter of fact, after losing his 1997 presidential bid at 67, many of his critics laughed at him and predicted the end of his career.
However, Kibaki’s moment of glory was yet to arrive.
He teamed up with Ford Kenya’s Kijana Wamalwa, LDP’s Raila Odinga together with other passionate leaders prior to the 2002 presidential elections.
They formed a stout political outfit termed the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) which Kibaki used to historically ascend to power in December 2002.
His critics were left speechless.
Kibaki arrived for the swearing in ceremony on a wheelchair having survived a car crash prior to the election campaigns of 2002.
His presidency culminated on a new style of adminstration and let the cabinet ministers do their part.
More roads were built in his regime including the famous Thika Superhighway that connects Nairobi to Kiambu county.
It is a regime that adminstered free primary education for the first time in Kenya’s history.
There was privatisation of public organizations, immense economic growth plus Independence of public universities.
Kibaki’s adminstration kept the public debt in check and delivered the 2010 constitution which still serves the country.
Only 250,000 Kenyans were connected to the internet in 2003.
However, in 2013, before Kibaki exited office,30 million Kenyans were using smartphones with 14 million others accessing the internet.
So, Kibaki simply reignited the country’s social-economic development status.
He talked seldomly but acted decisively throughout his 50 year political career.
He placed his wing men in right positions and fired notorious lieutenants if need arose.
Kibaki didn’t crave for prominence and his illustrious 50 year political career was purely shaped by destiny.
In a nutshell, Kibaki served as executive officer of KANU before entering parliament in1963,where he served as MP for a half a century (1963-2013).
He was Kenya’s second finance minister and 4th vice president serving in both the Kenyatta and Moi regimes.
He parted ways with Moi in 1991, formed the DP party that championed for multiparty democracy.
He twice lost the presidential race(1992&1997), before clinching it in 2002 .
The only stain on his career was during the 2007/08 post election chaos that saw him broker a power sharing deal with his rival Raila Odinga.
Nevertheless, Kibaki spend the better part of his life serving Kenyans.
He received dozens of accolytes as a top notch economist being the first African to attain a first class degree at the London school of economics in 1957.
Despite being a melly person, Kibaki ostensibly managed to navigate the bumby Kenyan political arena for 50 years.
He has died and gone, but his legacy will prevail for centuries.
In the meantime time president Uhuru Kenyatta has led scores of politicians in eulogizing the late Kibaki and ordered all flags to fly half post until Kibaki’s burial.
Other leaders who have eulogized Kibaki are DP Ruto, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, Martha Karua, Kalonzo Musyoka among others.
DP Ruto has cancelled his western campaign tour to mourn Kibaki.