Kenya’s third President Emilio Mwai Kibaki passed away today morning aged 90 years old. An announcement was made by President Uhuru Kenyatta who praised his predecessor as a great Kenyan and a statesman.
The late president who was listed as one of the best in the region would not have considered a career in politics were it not for Kenya’s first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
While attending Uganda’s 1962 independence celebrations, Jaramogi, acting on the advice of Kikuyu elders convinced Mwai Kibaki to abandon his work as a tutorial fellow at the Makerere University for politics back home in Kenya, where he would be among the elite helping to build the country as it attained self-rule a year later.
Impressed by the young Kibaki and determined to bring him back home, Jaramogi tasked his friend Prof David Wasao, a lecturer at Makerere to initiate the talks that saw the young Economist join politics.
He successfully talked the third president into returning home to be KANU’s Executive Officer.
Read: The legend of Jaramogi’s mystical left hand
Kibaki was at first hesitant and told Odinga the idea was good but he had not ‘settled’, and he only had three months to be confirmed as a lecturer. He argued he would then be able to get a loan and buy a car. Jaramogi could have none of that and said he would buy him a car upon his arrival in Nairobi, from Makerere.
Two weeks after the Kampala meeting, Kibaki arrived in Nairobi and went to Jaramogi’s office upon which one of the first vice president’s personal assistants Edwin Radier was sent money to go pay for Kibaki’s first car.
“I was given Sh9,500 to go to Marshalls where I paid for the Peugeot saloon car for Kibaki. Odinga also rented for Kibaki a house in Bahati and paid him an allowance of Sh700 to maintain the car for six months,” Radier, a former Kisumu councilor.
Kibaki was not the only young politician Jaramogi bought a car during that time.
The first VP also identified former Kisumu Rural MP Ndolo Ayah who became his personal secretary and bought him a sports car and Burudi Nabwera whom he recruited to become Kanu co-ordinator for Nyanza North.
Jaramogi also bought Nabwera a new Peugeot saloon car and for Ayah, he paid a deposit of Sh1,000 to Kisumu Municipal Council for a house in Ondiek Estate.
Jaramogi opted for Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu for the position of KANU’s Executive Director and removed Collins Omondi Odipo who previously held the position. This, according to Odinga was to help popularise the new party at the top and help mobilize Kikuyus to join.