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Kenyan president prepares to retire

OTHAYA, Kenya, Oct 9 – An interdenominational thanksgiving prayer service was held in Othaya on Saturday as President Mwai Kibaki who is the local MP started planning for his retirement from active politics after nearly half a century.

The prayers at the Approved School grounds near Othaya town were meant to thank God for having given President Kibaki a chance to serve the people of Othaya since 1974.

President Kibaki who has been an MP for Othaya for over 37 years used the occasion to challenge local leaders to focus on serving the nation and its citizens with humility and in a just manner.

“Authority to lead comes from God and a leader must carry the burdens of an entire nation and its citizens and not a section of the citizenry,” President Kibaki asserted.

The Head of State is expected to retire from politics after next year’s general election.

The President cautioned leaders against being drunk with power and reminded them that God is the only one who ordains authority which must be exercised with utmost responsibility.

“Kenya belongs to God and Kenyans are a God’s creation. All positions are God given. Focus on serving the entire nation and its 40
million people,” he said.

President Kibaki thanked Othaya constituents for maintaining peace, supporting and allowing him time to serve the country.

He warned leaders against blinding pride which he termed as the basis of tribulations and downfall of any leader.

Urging Kenyans to uphold hold love and unity he expressed optimism that more citizens had experienced improved living standards due to various projects being initiated in all parts of the country.

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“There is evident change in the living standards of Kenyans when anyone tours the countryside,” he said.

The President emphasized that there was no need to engage in bitter rivalry at various spheres of life especially in the political and
religious fields.

The Head of State thanked the religious leaders for organizing the interfaith prayer session and affirmed that it was the best way to
forge ahead, heal the nation and seek God’s divine direction in all matters.

Addressing the congregation, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta noted that President Kibaki’s leadership has steered the nation to greater heights since pre-independence days.

He underlined that the President never answers his critics but remains entirely focused on serving the nation and its citizens hence providing an excellent climate for development in the country.

He underscored that the current expanded democratic space being enjoyed in the country was a fundamental milestone achieved under his leadership.

Said the Finance Minister: “President Kibaki is not only a role model but also an exceptional mentor in leadership whose legacy will be remembered for many years.”

Former Vice-President, Moody Awori applauded President Kibaki for his illustrious political career which started in Nairobi and later in Othaya where he has left behind lasting achievements.

He credited President Kibaki with the reviving of the country’s economy, equitable development of the nation and promotion of intercommunity harmony and tolerance.

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Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi said that Nyeri County would continue to consult President Kibaki even in retirement.

Trade Minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere termed President Kibaki a great respecter of the rule of law and constitutionality as evidenced throughout is reign as the President.

He affirmed that Kenyans had many lessons to learn from President Kibaki’s leadership style especially love, humility, tolerance, inclusiveness and non-discrimination.

Speaking on behalf of the First Family and quoting the President, Jimmy Kibaki reiterated that leadership is a privilege to serve others with the aim of improving their lives and not an opportunity to satisfy selfish ambitions.

He noted that President Kibaki was an example of a servant leader whose God fearing predisposition had enabled the constituency and the country at large enjoy immense development.

The President’s son thanked Othaya constituents for their steadfast support to the Head of State adding that there have never been any
political campaigns in the constituency for many years because they had faith in his leadership.

Kibaki was previously Vice President of Kenya for ten years from 1978-1988 and also held cabinet ministerial positions, including a widely acclaimed stint as Minister for Finance (1969-1981), Minister for Home Affairs (1982-1988) and Minister for Health (1988-1991).

After resigning as a cabinet minister in 1991, Kibaki served as an opposition Member of Parliament from 1991 up to his election as Kenya’s third president in 2002 after two unsuccessful bids for the Kenyan presidency in 1992 and 1997.

In early 1960,Mwai Kibaki left academia for politics when he gave up his job at Makerere and returned to Kenya to become executive officer of Kenya African National Union (KANU), at the request of Jaramogi Oginga.

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In 1963, Kibaki was elected as Member of Parliament for Donholm Constituency (subsequently called Bahati and now known as Makadara) in Nairobi. His election was the start of a long political career.

In 1974, Kibaki, facing serious competition for his Donholm Constituency seat from a Mrs Jael Mbogo, whom he had narrowly and controversially beaten for the seat in the 1969 elections, moved his political base from Nairobi to his rural home, Othaya, where he was subsequently elected as MP.

He has been re-elected Member of Parliament for Othaya in the subsequent elections of 1979, 1983, 1988, 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007.


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