By John Ikani
Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, who served as the country’s third President has died at the age of 90.
His death was announced Friday by his successor, incumbent Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who described him as inspirational.
“It is a sad day for us as a country. We have lost a great leader,” Kenyatta said in an address on state television.
“President Kibaki will forever be remembered as a gentleman in Kenya’s politics. A brilliant debater whose eloquence, wit and charm won the day time and time again.”
He ordered a period of national mourning until sunset on the day Kibaki is to be buried, with all flags to be flown at half-mast.
More about Kibaki
Kibaki’s served as President from 2002 to 2013, winning elections against Kenyatta and ending four decades of one-party rule.
As leader, Kibaki, one of the country’s richest men, ushered in economic reforms and a new constitution but failed to deliver on promises to combat corruption. His tenure was marred by the disputed 2007 polls that led to deadly violence.
His disputed re-election in 2007 against Raila Odinga, who accused him of rigging the outcome, led to street clashes and the deaths of more than 1,100 people.
But Kibaki was also hailed in 2010 for shaping a new constitution for Kenya and improving social services.
Kenyatta also praised the late President for transforming the country.
“The late former president’s administration conceptualized and spearheaded a transformation in crucial sectors such as education through the globally lauded free primary education program, infrastructure developments in transport and energy and the increasing the availability and the access to health care for his fellow Kenyans,” Kenyatta said.
At the end of two terms, Kibaki handed power to Kenyatta, who was elected in 2013, and retired from politics.