, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – Tributes were streaming in Tuesday following the death of former First Lady Lucy Kibaki at a London Hospital.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who made the announcement from State House, Nairobi said she will be remembered for her immense contribution in the country’s development.
“Especially notable was her virtues of leadership and commitment to improving the wellbeing of the ordinary Kenyans, in particular her focus in tackling HIV/AIDS, which will remain an inspiration to many,” President Kenyatta said.
His Deputy William Ruto said: “I condole with the family of his Excellency Mwai Kibaki and pray that they bear this grave loss with fortitude.”
According to President Kenyatta, Lucy Kibaki died at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital on Tuesday morning.
Businessman Chris Kirubi also sent a message of condolence to the Kibaki family, saying “I would like to send my sympathy to former President Kibaki and his family at this time of sorrow. It is my prayer that the Almighty God gives them comfort.”
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi said the “loss of Lucy Kibaki is a big one, when the country needs people who can stand for the nation. God giveth, so he taketh. Condolences!”.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, while mourning the former First Lady said: “She was a very strong Lady who stood for strong family values. You remember when she stormed media houses to defend issues she believed in.”
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed said Kenya had lost an “astute defender of women rights.”
Amani Coalition leader Musalia Mudavadi said Mama Lucy “exemplified and stood studiously for the place and voice of women in society.”
Former Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia who worked at State House during former President Kibaki’s tenure has described the late Lucy as a “great hero and patriot of exemplary intelligence, courage in performance of public service and in family.”
“I attest Mama Lucy stood for values of excellence, patriotism, nationalism, peace and unity of Kenya. She had continual passion for justice and fairness to all especially the weak and the poor. ”
Other leaders who mourned Lucy Kibaki included Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula who described her as a key pillar in the coalition government and a role model to many.
Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who worked in the Kibaki regime said he “appreciates her deep sense of patriotism and commitment to the development of this nation.”
“She was vibrant, honest and truly passionate in whatever task she had set out to achieve. Her commitment for instance, to the girl child education, notably her involvement in the establishment of the Starehe Girls Centre will remain in the hearts of many as a testimony of her hard working spirit,” he said.
Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o said “Kenyans knew mama as a lady who was never afraid to speak her mind and to stand for the right cause. May the good Lord give strength to Mzee Kibaki and his family and may He keep and protect Mama in her everlasting life.”
Attorney General Githu Muigai remembered Lucy Kibaki for her zeal to fight and support her husband, Mwai Kibaki throughout his leadership.
“Lucy will be remembered as a great pillar of strength. She supported her husband for the 10 years he was President. She strongly advocated for the support of women and children. She was the symbolism of the strength of a woman, of a mother of a grandmother that she was able to demonstrate in the two generations of Kenyans, that was even a more lasting legacy than many of the other things that are physical in nature,” Muigai stated.
The late Lucy Kibaki was last seen in public in August 2010 during the promulgation of the new constitution.
She has been in and out of hospital since then until last week when she was flown to London or further specialised treatment.