Lucy Kibaki: Controversial but with a soft spot for women, children

April 26, 2016 5:49 pm
In an unprecedented move, Lucy Kibaki stormed the nation Centre one night in the company of security men in her night clothes/FILE
In an unprecedented move, Lucy Kibaki stormed the nation Centre one night in the company of security men in her night clothes/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – A few months after former President Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as the third President of Kenya in 2003, information leaked out that Lucy Kibaki had shut down a pub used as a joint to socialise at State House, Nairobi.

She said it was “a watering hole for people whose interest was to quench their thirst instead of serving people.”

That controversy was only a tip of the iceberg in the 10 years that Mwai Kibaki was in power.

Throughout his leadership, one controversy followed another like a shadow. Some incidences were so dramatic that they sounded like rumours.

Whereas some of them leaked out to the public and others remained as top secret, Lucy Kibaki sometimes made riveting announcements in the full glare of cameras.

In an unprecedented move, Lucy Kibaki stormed the nation Centre one night in the company of security men in her night clothes.

While there, she slapped television cameraman Clifford Derrick before seizing tape recorders and reporters’ notebooks in protest of ‘negative’ representation of State House and her family.

The incident came days after another showdown when dressed in a tracksuit, Lucy Kibaki stormed a garden party hosted by World Bank, Kenya Director, Makhtar Diop who was their neighbour in Muthaiga.

She complained that the music was loud and threatened to unplug the cables.

In 2007, in what was satirised as a ‘presidential slap’ Lucy Kibaki is reported to have slapped the master of ceremony at a national event when he referred to her as Lucy Wambui instead of Lucy Muthoni Kibaki.

The name Wambui, is associated with Othaya MP Mary Wambui who is rumoured to be Kibaki’s second wife.

State House comptroller Matere Keriri was also alleged to have been the third person to receive the ‘presidential slap ‘as did former MP Gitobu Imanyara.

But that is not the only way Kenyans remember Lucy Kibaki.

Her other side was that of humanity and kindness that evidently was overflowing in her heart.

Seeing children and women suffer always broke her heart.

She was passionate and sometimes almost broke down into tears condemned people who had failed to protect women and children.

She particularly concentrated on advising young girls to focus on education, reject early marriages and build their careers.

It is that passion that Kenya and the world will remember her for, and her commitment to combating the HIV/AIDS scourge in Kenya and in Africa.

She served as the chairperson of the organisation of the 40 African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS.

In efforts to address the disease among young people, she strongly advocated for abstinence from sex till marriage.

Born in 1934, Lucy Kibaki also focused greatly on people living with disabilities and called for improved and affordable health facilities.

In recognition for her advocacy for better health, in February, 2013, Anyang Nyong’o, then the Minister for Health named a hospital given as a gift to Kenya as Mama Lucy Hospital.

To date, the hospital stands as a legacy that will always remind Kenyans of the unique first lady.

Born to Reverend John Kagai and Rose Nyachomba in Mukurweini, Lucy got married to Kibaki in 1962.

In 2002, she became Kenya’s third first lady but for the first time with a lot of difference.

Known to speak her mind, she stood up to ferociously defend her marriage and family.

READ: I have one wife, Kibaki says

Despite the drama during her 10 years at State House, Kenyans often complained that she had gone quiet whenever she didn’t speak.

There were rumours surrounding her health for some time, until it became public at the weekend that she had been flown to London for specialised treatment.

READ: Lucy Kibaki to get medical treatment in London

She is survived by her husband Kibaki and four children Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai, and Tony Githinji.


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