Mwai Emilio Stanley Kibaki
President (since 2002); leader of the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition; Chair, Democratic Party
Date of Birth: 15/11/1931
Place of Birth: Gatuyaini village, Othaya, Nyeri district, Central Province
Commentary: A veteran of Kenyan politics, first becoming a member of parliament in
1963, Mwai Kibaki was originally a stalwart of the Kenya African National Union (KANU). He served under President Jomo
Kenyatta as Finance Minister and when Daniel arap Moi took over after Kenyatta's
death in 1978, he rose to the position of Vice-President. He continued to manage the finance portfolio until he exchanged it for a role in
the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Heritage.
A dispute with Moi
resulted in his demotion from the Vice-Presidency in 1988 and
consequent transfer to the Ministry of Health.
This fall from favour was followed in 1991, by the repeal of Section
2A of the Kenyan constitution at Kasarani. Kibaki seized this
opportunity for the recognition of opposing political parties and left
KANU to form the Democratic Party (DP) on the 25 December 1991. On
the DP ticket Kibaki ran for President in two succesive elections in 1992 and 1997, but only managed to come third and then
It was not until 2002 that Kibaki's presidential desires were
realised. On this occasion he prepared for the election by merging the
DP with 13 smaller parties, creating the National Alliance Party of
Kenya (NAK), which in turn conjoined with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to form an umbrella coalition party, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). Kibeki won a
landslide victory and was sworn in on 30 December 2002, claiming the presidency at his third attempt.
Kibaki's first term was marred by the heated consitutional
debates that raged over presidential powers. When a referendum in
November 2005 rejected a draft constitution, supported by Kibaki, he
took the dramatic step of dismissing his entire cabinet along with all
the deputy ministers that he could constitutionally remove and
replacing them with his supporters.
The issue of presidential power returned to haunt Kibaki in the
controversial 2007 elections. His presidential ticket was endorsed by a
new alliance called the Party of National Unity (PNU) which was made up
of a number of parties, including KANU, the DP and NARC Kenya. The Electoral
Commission declared Kibaki the victor on 30 December 2007, however, Raila
Odinga, Kibaki's closest rival, refused to accept this result, raising
allegations of fraud that were supported to a strong degree by popular
opinion. Riots followed Kibaki's re-election. Unrest
continued until a power sharing deal was reached that gave Odinga
the newly created post of Prime Minister.