On Saturday evening, 19-gun salutes and a Kenya Air Force fly-by honored the third President of the Republic of Kenya, Emilio Mwai Kibaki, as his body was taken from his home in Othaya, Nyeri County, to be buried.
Officers from the Kenya Defence Forces gently lowered the former Head of State’s body to the grave at 5pm today, after President Uhuru Kenyatta and other national leaders paid their final respects.
Speaking at a State burial service in Othaya for former President Mwai Kibaki, who died on 22 April, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked the nation to emulate Kibaki not just in words but in thoughts and deeds.
“As Kenyans, let’s not just say by word of mouth but in deeds and thoughts, let us emulate this elder statesman in all that we do in our lives. I have no doubt if we do that God will continue to bless our nation, the Republic of Kenya,” President Kenyatta said.
“The world will not forget him (President Kibaki). We will always appreciate him and cherish his achievements,” President Kenyatta said.
Family and friends of the late President Kibaki delivered emotional tributes, extolling the former Head of State’s exemplary life.
Archbishop Muheria urged politicians to emulate the late former President by embracing humility and forgiveness, saying the virtues are key in consolidating harmonious co-existence amongst Kenyans.
“God wants us to reign in our mouths. He (President Kibaki) never said a remark against his competitors. He always joked but was respectful. We need a special sanitizer to disinfect not our hands but our mouths,” Archbishop Muheria said.
In his remarks, Deputy President William Ruto hailed the late President as the father of modern-day Kenya, saying the former Head of State laid a strong foundation for the country’s economic and social transformation.
“It is true, (President) Mwai Kibaki planted the seeds of what has become the greatest transformation of our infrastructure under him and under our fourth President, President Uhuru Kenyatta,” DP Ruto said.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga eulogized former President Kibaki as a transformative leader whose knowledge and experience in public service was crucial during the 2002 political transition.
“(President) Mwai Kibaki was someone who had a clear foresight, ready to negotiate, a team player and one who was ready to take new progressive ideas to support development,” the former PM said.