Mwai Kibaki Biography

Mwai Kibaki, the third President of Kenya, was a visionary leader who sought to bring progressive changes and stability to his nation. With a wealth of experience in politics and government, including serving as Vice President, Kibaki had the advantage of leading Kenya in the right democratic direction. He formed his own party, the ‘Democratic Party’, after a fallout with the autocratic president at the time, and embarked on a journey towards the presidency. Despite the challenges of political corruption, Kibaki introduced constitutional reform, free primary education, and worked towards reviving the healthcare system. He also established a multi-party system, breaking away from authoritarian rule. Kibaki’s leadership was welcomed both nationally and internationally, as he brought a fresh change to Kenya at a critical time for the country.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Emilio Mwai Kibaki, Emilio Stanley
  • Age: 92 Years, 92 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Lucy Kibaki
    • Father: Kibaki Gĩthĩnji
    • Mother: Teresia Wanjikũ
    • Children: David Kibaki, Jimmy Kibaki, Judy Kibaki, Tony Kibaki, Winnie Wangui Mwa
  • Presidents
  • Black Leaders
  • Founder/Co-Founder: National Rainbow Coalition, Party of National Unity, Democratic Party
  • Education: London School of Economics and Political Science, Makerere University, Mang’u High School

Childhood & Early Life

Mwai Kibaki was born on November 15, 1931, in a village called Gatuyaini in Nyeri County, Kenya. He was the youngest of eight children of peasant farmers, Kibaki Githinji and Teresia Wanjiku. Belonging to the Kikuyu tribe, the largest tribal group in Kenya, Kibaki showed remarkable intelligence and aptitude for learning during his primary school years. He was sent to attend Man’gu High School, one of Kenya’s best high schools, where he studied from 1947 to 1950. His outstanding academic achievement earned him a scholarship to Kenya’s renowned Makerere University, where he studied economics, political science, and history. He graduated with distinction in 1955.


After a brief stint as Uganda Shell Company’s assistant general manager, Mwai Kibaki received a scholarship to study at the London School of Economics. Excelling in economics and public finance, he returned to Kenya in 1958, ready to apply his efforts and knowledge to his home country. Kibaki accepted a position as Assistant Lecturer in economics at Makerere University. In 1960, he resigned from this position to join the KANU (Kenyan African National Union), the dominant political party in Kenya at that time.

In 1963, Kibaki was elected to the Kenyan Parliament and continued to serve in various roles until he was appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning by President Jomo Kenyatta in 1969. He gained valuable experience and established a good reputation and record for himself during these early years in politics and government. In 1978, he was appointed Vice-President under Daniel arap Moi and rose to the presidency upon the death of Kenyatta.

Moi’s style of government became increasingly autocratic, and he removed Kibaki from the Vice Presidency and demoted him to the Ministry of Health in 1988. Disputes and disagreements with the President eventually led to Kibaki’s resignation from KANU in 1991. He immediately formed the ‘Democratic Party’ in opposition to Moi’s oppressive policies. In 2002, Kibaki became president after his party, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), gained momentum and Kenya was ready for change and freedom from Moi’s regime.

Significant economic changes were implemented by Kibaki during his first term as president. However, corruption remained rampant, tarnishing his image by his second term. After the 2013 presidential elections, he handed over the presidency to Uhuru Kenyatta.

Major Works

One of Kibaki’s most significant contributions to Kenyan democracy was the constitutional reform of 2010. The new constitution allows for substantial institutional checks and ensures basic rights. He also introduced free primary education for all children in Kenya in 2003 and revitalized the healthcare system. His policy changes encouraged multinational companies to invest in Kenya, fostering growth and development for Kenyans. Life expectancy and infant mortality figures improved considerably during his tenure as president.

Personal Life & Legacy

Mwai Kibaki married Lucy Mothoni in 1962 and has four children. During his presidential election campaign in 2002, Kibaki was injured in a car crash, causing him to appear in a wheelchair during his inauguration as president. There have been questions raised about his relations with Mary Wambui, a Kenyan businesswoman with political leanings, with whom he is alleged to have a daughter.

Leave a Comment