June 20, 2024

Mwai Kibaki Death; The night swearing-in that dent Kibaki’s legacy

3 min read

Mwai Kibaki Death; The night swearing-in that dent Kibaki’s legacy in the disputed 2007 presidential election.

Mwai Kibaki Death

President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the death of retired President Mwai Kibaki at the age of 90 years.

In his statement at State House, Nairobi on Friday, April 22, Uhuru declared a period of national mourning with flags flying at half-mast until President Mwai Kibaki is buried.

In honour of Mwai Kibaki, Uhuru announced that a special committee will be tasked with the responsibility of planning the burial of the late President.

Mwai Kibaki served as Kenya’s third President between 2002 and 2013.

Mwai Kibaki’s tenure was praised as one of the best in reshaping Kenya’s economic development.

However, its the scenes of 2007 in the disputed presidential election that dent his legacy. 

The late president Mwai Kibaki was sworn in at 1800hrs, almost at night for a second term after controversially winning the hotly contested 2007 election.

The night swearing marked the beginning of Kenya’s darkest hour with violence starting immediately after the swearing-in.

The celebration was so hurriedly put together that some of the invited guests were seen on live television hurrying to their seats as President Kibaki took the oath.

The swearing was planned in secrecy as immediately after the announcement of presidential election results, a short ceremony was conducted at State House.

The Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) had announced that Kibaki had garnered 4.58 million votes against his closest rival Raila Odinga’s 4.35 million.

The official results were announced through the national broadcaster, KBC-TV, after an earlier attempt at Kenyatta International Conference Centre degenerated into chaos.

“I declare Mwai Kibaki the president of the Republic of Kenya,” then commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu declared after reading the final tally of the election results.

Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu said any irregularities alleged by the Orange Democratic Movement were now in the domain of the law courts.

“The Electoral Commission has no jurisdiction over the issues raised. These are matters for the judiciary. We hope the courts would move expeditiously,” he said.

All local journalists had been ejected from the precincts of the KICC as the results were announced.

After the swearing ceremony, Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) called a Press conference where the party declared him as the President-elect and announced their intention to form a parallel government.

Violence broke out in various parts of the country with youths burning vehicles alleging the rigging by the government. 

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To arrest the situation, the Government suspended all live broadcasts citing the need for “public safety and tranquillity”.

A statement from the Ministry of Information and Communications also directed media houses and journalists to stop any broadcast of “inciting or alarming” material.

The statement was signed by the then permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Bitange Ndemo, citing instructions from the Minister for Internal Security, Mr John Michuki.

The violence saw the intervention of the international community that brought former UN secretary-general the late Kofi Annan to lead the mediation process.

The violence continued until late January 2008 when both Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga shook hands at the steps of Harambee House.

By then, official figures show that nearly 1,200 had died and 350,000 others uprooted from their homes.

The mediation process bore the grand coalition government with Mr. Odinga being appointed the Prime Minister until early 2013.

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