Mwai Kibaki to undergo neck surgery in South Africa

Kenya’s former president Mwai Kibaki

Kenya’s former president Mwai Kibaki is set to undergo an operation on Thursday, August 25, at a South African hospital.

Kibaki will undergo surgery at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg.

The surgery is aimed to remove a blood clot in the former president’s neck.

According to the Nation, doctors at the hospital located the clot in good time while it was in a relatively safe part of his body.

According to reports, Kibaki’s health has improved considerably since arriving at the South African hospital.

“he is much better than when he left the country,” a source quoted by the Nation said.

Among family members who are with the former president at the hospital is his son Tony Kibaki and daughter Judy.

Kibaki on Sunday, August 21, was admitted to Karen hospital suffering undisclosed ailment and was later airlifted to South Africa for specialised treatment.

Rumours had spread that the retired president was dead were denied by his family through spokesman Ngari Gituku.

Gituku, on Monday, August 22, asked Kenyans to ignore rumours going around that Mwai Kibaki had passed away.

A relative who on Tuesday, August 23, visited Kibaki at the hospital confirmed he was getting better as he was awake and could talk unlike before.

President Kibaki is best remembered as the man who refused to surrender power after he lost an election in 2007.

2007: Elections 

On 26 January 2007, President Kibaki declared his intention of running for re-election in the 2007 presidential election. On 16 September 2007, Kibaki announced that he would stand as the candidate of a new alliance incorporating all the parties who supported his re-election, called the Party of National Unity. The parties in his alliance included the much diminished former ruling KANU,DP, Narc-Kenya, Ford-Kenya, Ford People, and Shirikisho.

Kibaki’s main opponent, Raila Odinga, had used the referendum victory to launch the ODM, which nominated him as its presidential Candidate for the 2007 elections.

On 30 September 2007, a robust and much healthier President Kibaki launched his presidential campaign at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi.

Kalonzo Musyoka then broke away from Raila’s ODM to mount his own fringe bid for the presidency, thus narrowing down the contest between the main candidates, Kibaki, the incumbent, and Odinga. Opinion polls up to election day showed Kibaki behind Raila Odinga nationally, but closing. On regional analysis, the polls showed him behind Raila in all regions of the country except Central Province, Embu and Meru, where he was projected to take most of the votes, and behind Kalonzo Musyoka in Kalonzo’s native Ukambani. It was thus projected to be a close election between Kibaki and Raila.

The election was held on 27 December 2007.

2007–2008: Results dispute and post-election violence

Three days later, after a protracted count which saw presidential results in Kibaki’s Central Kenya come in last, allegedly inflated, in a cloud of suspicion and rising tensions, amid vehement protests by Raila’s ODM, overnight re-tallying of results and chaotic scenes, all beamed live on TV, at the national tallying centre at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, riot police eventually sealed off the tallying Centre ahead of the result announcement, evicted party agents, observers and the media, and moved the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Samuel Kivuitu, to another room where Kivuitu went on to declare Kibaki the winner by 4,584,721 votes to Odinga’s 4,352,993, placing Kibaki ahead of Odinga by about 232,000 votes in the hotly contested election with Kalonzo Musyoka a distant third.

One hour later, in a hastily convened dusk ceremony, Kibaki was sworn in at the grounds of State House Nairobi for his second term, defiantly calling for the “verdict of the people” to be respected and for “healing and reconciliation” to begin. This arose tension and led to protests by a huge number of Kenyans who felt that Kibaki had refused to respect the verdict of the people and was now forcibly remaining in office.

Immediately the results were announced, Odinga bitterly accused Kibaki of electoral fraud. Odinga’s allegations scored with his supporters, and seemed meritorious since the results had defied pre-election polls and expectations and election day exit polls. Furthermore, Odinga, who had campaigned against the concentration of political power in the hands of Kikuyu politicians, had won the votes of most of the other Kenyan tribes and regions, with Kibaki’s victory being attained only with the near exclusive support of the populous Kikuyu, Meru and Embu communities-who had turned up to vote for Kibaki in large numbers after feeling, in reaction to the Odinga campaign, and with the covert encouragement of the Kibaki campaign, increasingly besieged and threatened by the pro-Odinga tribes. Moreover, ODM had won the most parliamentary and local authority seats by a wide margin.  A joint statement by the British Foreign Office and Department for International Development cited “real concerns” over irregularities, while international observers refused to declare the election free and fair. The European Union chief observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, cited one constituency where his monitors saw official results for Kibaki that were 25,000 votes lower than the figure subsequently announced by the Electoral Commission, leading him to doubt the accuracy of the announced results.

It was reported that Kibaki, who had previously been perceived as an “old-school gentleman”, had “revealed a steely side” when he swore himself in within an hour of being announced the victor of the highly contested election—one where the results were largely in question. Odinga’s supporters said he would be declared president at a rival ceremony on Monday, but police banned the event. Koki Muli, the head of local watchdog, the Institute of Education in Democracy, said called the day the “saddest…in the history of democracy in this country” and “a coup d’etat.”

Opposition supporters saw the result as a plot by Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe, Kenya’s largest, to keep power by any means. The tribes that lost the election were upset at the prospect of five years without political power, and anti-Kikuyu sentiment swelled, spawning the 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis, as violence broke out in several places in the country, started by the ODM supporters protesting the “stealing” of their “victory”, and subsequently escalating as the targeted Kikuyus retaliated.As unrest spread, television and radio stations were instructed to stop all live broadcasts. There was widespread theft, vandalism, looting and destruction of property, and a significant number of atrocities, killings and sexual violence reported.

The violence continued for more than two months, as Kibaki ruled with “half” a cabinet he had appointed,with Odinga and ODM refusing to recognise him as president.

When the election was eventually investigated by the Independent Review Commission (IREC) on the 2007 Elections chaired by Justice Johann Kriegler, it was found that there were too many electoral malpractices from several regions perpetrated by all the contesting parties to conclusively establish which candidate won the December 2007 Presidential elections. Such malpractices included widespread bribery, vote buying, intimidation and ballot stuffing by both sides, as well as incompetence from the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), which was shortly thereafter disbanded by the new Parliament.

2008: National accord and Grand Coalition Government 

The Country was only saved by the mediation of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan with a Panel of “Eminent African Personalities” backed by the African Union, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Following the mediation, a deal, called the national accord, was signed in February 2008 between Raila Odinga and Kibaki, now referred to as the “two Principals”. The accord, later passed by the Kenyan Parliament as the National Accord and Reconciliation Act 2008 provided inter alia for power-sharing, with Kibaki remaining President and Raila Odinga taking a newly re-created post of Prime Minister.

On 17 April 2008, Raila Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister, along with a power-sharing Cabinet, with 42 ministers and 50 assistant ministers, Kenya’s largest ever. The cabinet was fifty percent Kibaki appointed ministers and fifty percent Raila appointed ministers, and was in reality a carefully balanced ethnic coalition. The arrangement, which also included Kalonzo Musyoka as Vice President, was known as the “Grand Coalition Government”.

2013: Power handover 

A proud looking but rather worn President Kibaki handed over the Kenyan presidency to his successor, Uhuru Kenyatta, on 9 April 2013 at a public inauguration ceremony held at Kenya’s largest stadium. “I am happy to pass the torch of leadership to the new generation of leaders”, said Kibaki. He also thanked his family and all Kenyans for the support they had given him throughout his tenure in office, and cited the various achievements his government made.

The handover marked the end of his presidency and of his 50 years of public service. The election of 2013 just like the election of 2007 was also stolen against Raila Odinga. Kenya’s Election body has since been disbanded.

The former president has been on a fairly good health since he was involved in a car accident back in 2002.

We wish him quick recovery.




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