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Mwai Kibaki a legacy to remember

08 February 2013, 12:16 Paul Orodi

Being a commander is not an easy task; whether it’s a brigade of two or a legion of millions.

The courage to stand up and face all your followers when troubles are neck high is a daunting task that not everybody can perform.

You may fall in love with the glamour and praise that comes along with the position but at the end of the day people will remember you for who you were in times of trouble and hardships.

His Excellency the President Mwai Kibaki has served Kenyans for a decade and he has finally completed his full term.

As he vacates office, there is heated campaign and everyone wants to succeed him.

No one sits back to analyze what they will be stepping into; all they care about is to be sworn in before a multitude of jubilant Kenyans and relocating to State House.

What they do not realize is that the President has left very wide a gap to be filled and whoever does so won’t have much time to adapt to the tasks at hand.

Having graduated with a first class honours from Makerere University in the 50’s, Mwai Kibaki was summoned to Nairobi by the then president Jomo Kenyatta to take up a position in government.

Little did the economist know that he would someday sit at the very chair of his former bosses.

He served very diligently in both regimes and never raised a finger to protest what his bosses had approved.

He knew his work well and performed it to the best of his ability.

After about 40 years, the man from Othaya got his chance to step up to the occasion and he gladly did so.

In 2002, Kenyans from all corners backed the man who had all along been known to sit on the fence.

With a landslide win, he was destined to occupy the house on the hill and that was the day Moi knew how much Kenya detested him and his cronies.

“Yote yawezekana bila Moi, yote yawezekana bila Moi... (all is possible without Moi...)” that was the jubilation song being sang at Uhuru park on the former president’s face.

Entering into office, Kibaki had a full tray and it was up to him to show Kenyans his worth.

Being a development minded character with little or no politics in him, Kibaki got down to work and appointed very capable persons to his cabinet and gave them positions they were qualified to hold.

People like Hon. Raila sat in the Roads docket while Hon. Mwiraria held the Finance slot.

Kibaki was all along development oriented and he cared less about politics.

He only mentioned a few things when necessary but never went crisscrossing the country like his predecessor.

In five years, Kibaki had done so much with his only short fall being a loss in the 2005 referendum.

The long serving Othaya MP started off with the launch of the Vision 2030 and restructuring of some government positions and offices in order to ensure good service delivery to Kenyans.

He also opened doors to the public for complaints to be aired and ensured that corruption is driven out of public offices.

With an election coming in 2007, the president had very little time to campaign as his in-tray was still full and almost overflowing.

The contest was heated and he still managed to recapture the top job despite having not held a massive campaign like his competitors at the time.

After the election in 2007 is when Kibaki’s courage was tested to the ultimatum.

Having been sworn into office in the evening and the country already on fire, the president took charge of matters at hand and ensured that peace and order are restored in the quickest time possible.

Nothing else mattered to him except that calm be restored and economic activities regain operation status.

This was his test of fire and sure as death, he rose to the occasion and managed to quell the violence that had erupted.

As he vacates office, some will say he has not done as expected while others will praise him for the much he has done.

One question is; would you do as much in such a scenario where the country expects so much in a short time and still keep your cool?

Most of us would have lost our peace of mind when the violence in 2007 erupted but Mwai Kibaki did not and this is what he will be fondly remembered for.

In the time of fire, he did not stand on the roof tops and bomb every corner while locking up political rivals but instead sat down and strategized means of stopping the chaos.

Moi in 1982 had two days of trouble and that made him a man Kenya had never come to know over the years.

However, as you measure Kibaki’s success just remember, he has taken Kenya from levels we could not imagine to heights where we can now see our promised land.

Moses did that much for Israelites and to date he is known as one of the greatest leaders.

As Kibaki heads for retirement, I can personally give him a standing ovation and thank him for all his sweat drops because for sure he has wiped them with sour hands.

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