Kenya’s Late President Mwai Kibaki and His Support for the Work of the Aga Khan Development Network; the President Conferred the Country’s Highest Honour on the 49th Ismaili Imam During His Golden Jubilee

Prepared and Compiled by MALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor BarakahSimerg and Simergphotos)

Aga Khan and Kibaki Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, watches as President Mwai Kibaki signs the guest book commemorating the inauguration of the Heart and Cancer Centre at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, July 25, 2011. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah

(The textual material for this piece has been compiled from numerous sources including Voice of America News and Wikipedia — Ed.)

The death of Mwai Kibaki who served as Kenya’s 3rd President from 2002 to 2013, was announced by his successor President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday April 22, 2022.

President Kenyatta also announced a period of national mourning until Saturday, April 30, the day the president is scheduled to be laid to rest at his home town in Othaya in the Nyeri highlands. Flags are being flown at half-mast in public buildings across the country. President Kibaki was 90 years old, and kept a low-profile after completing his two terms in the office as Kenya’s president. President Uhuru called him an inspirational leader and said that “Emilio Mwai Kibaki was a quintessential patriot whose legacy of civil responsibility will continue to inspire generations of Kenyans long into our future.”

The Interior Minister Fred Matiangi announced this past weekend that the late president “will be given a state funeral with the highest honours because of the distinct service he rendered to our country.” The funeral service will take place on Friday April 28 at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, and his body is now lying in state at Kenya’s parliament until Wednesday April 26, to allow citizens to pay their respects.

Mwai Kibaki served as president from 2002 to 2013, winning elections against Uhuru Kenyatta and ending four decades of one-party rule by KANU (Kenya African National Union) since Kenya’s independence. Kibaki had originally served in KANU in high profile positions including becoming its executive officer and helping to draft Kenya’s constitution as well as being elected as a KANU MP in a district in Nairobi. He then served as Kenya’s Vice President under President Daniel Arap Moi and after a fall-out with the president, he resigned from KANU and founded the Liberal Democratic Party. After losing presidential races in multiple elections, he finally won the election in 2002 on a platform promising to fight corruption and transform Kenya’s economy. While Kibaki ushered in economic reforms, corruption continued.

Unfortunately, his disputed re-election in 2007 against Raila Odinga led to street clashes and the deaths of hundreds of people. The former UN Secretary General, the late Kofi Annan, was instrumental in bringing an end to the violence in the country and laying foundations for a new Kenya that resulted in Kibaki shaping a new constitution for the country in 2010.

By improving social services and transforming the country, Kibaki left a legacy of strong growth in the regional economic powerhouse, launching major infrastructure projects and boosting the struggling health and education sectors.

In paying tribute to Mwai Kibaki, President Uhuru said that “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 increasing the availability and the access to health care for his fellow Kenyans.” Mwai Kibaki’s death was headlined in The Saturday Standard as “Kenya’s Best CEO,” while the Saturday Nation responded with “Salute to a Legend.”

At the end of the maximum of two elected terms that one is allowed to serve under Kenya’s constitution, Kibaki retired from politics. Uhuru Kenyatta was then elected as Kenya’s president in 2013.

Throughout his term of office, Mwai Kibaki strongly supported the initiatives undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network that advanced economic, education and health sectors of the country. Indeed, Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, visited Kenya on numerous occasions to participate in the inauguration of several projects at which President Kibaki was also present. During his Golden Jubilee visit to Kenya, the president conferred Mawlana Hazar Imam with country’s highest honour, the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, (C.G.H.).

We are pleased to bring to our readers glimpses of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visits to Kenya while President Kibaki was in office. Barakah has also included links to complete speeches made by President Kibaki and Mawlana Hazar Imam that readers are encouraged to read.

2003

December 19, 2003: Opening of the Alltex Factory

President Mwai Kibaki and Aga Khan Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, and His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki touring the Alltex factory, Athi River, Kenya, during the official opening of the state of the art apparel plant on December 19, 2003. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

I would like to begin my remarks this morning by thanking His Excellency, President Mwai Kibaki for accepting formally to open this new enterprise, Alltex. I also extend my warmest congratulations to the government and people of Kenya on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, celebrated a week ago. I have a vivid personal memory of being in Nairobi on the 12th December 1963, to witness that historic event.  It is an anniversary, Your Excellency, that is proudly shared by Industrial Promotion Services (Kenya) Limited, the sponsor of the enterprise to be inaugurated today. For IPS, too, was born here in 1963 and has grown and matured with the nation whose private sector it had been conceived to help build — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan and Mwai Kibaki Barakah and Simerg
Computerised machines at the Alltex Industries factory in Kenya create garments for export to North America and Europe. A project company of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development’s (AKFED) Industrial Promotion Services, the factory employs 2,000 people, 80 percent of whom are women. As part of AKFED’s mandate to integrate innovative social development initiatives, the plant provides a variety of services to its employees, including a crèche for workers’ children, healthcare and educational opportunities. Photo: AKFED/Gary Otte

The Imamat is a Muslim institution with a history going back over 1400 years. As Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, I am to be concerned with the quality of life of the Community and those amongst whom it lives. Over many centuries and decades, that responsibility of the Imamat has entailed the creation of institutions to address issues of the quality of life of the time, and it today includes a number of non-governmental organisations, foundations and economic development agencies. To the Imamat, the meaning of “quality of life” extends to the entire ethical and social context in which people live, and not only to their material well-being measured over generation after generation. Consequently, the Imamat’s is a holistic vision of development, as is prescribed by the faith of Islam. It is about investing in people, in their pluralism, in their intellectual pursuit, and search for new and useful knowledge, just as much as in material resources. But it is also about investing with a social conscience inspired by the ethics of Islam. It is work that benefits all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality or background. Does the Holy Qur’an not say in one of the most inspiring references to mankind, that Allah has created all mankind from one soul? — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Mwai Kibaki and Aga Khan, Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking at Alltex ceremony opening on December 19, 2003, with (L to R) Prince Rahim Aga Khan and Prince Amyn Aga Khan and (2nd right) Kenya President Mwai Kibaki looking on. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

*****

December 20, 2003: Inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy

In the long history of the Ismaili Imamat’s engagement with education, covering well over a 1000 years and numerous countries past and present, few days can have been as important as this one. It is therefore with the greatest happiness and gratitude that I thank His Excellency the President of Kenya, Mr. Mwai Kibaki for having accepted my invitation formally to open the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa. Your Excellency, it is a source of very great joy to everyone associated with the Aga Khan Academies and their aspirations of becoming Centres of Educational Excellence to have you here — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan and Mwai Kibaki Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, walking on the site of the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, during its inauguration on December 20, 2003. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Aga Khan and Mwai Kibaki, Kenya's 3rd president; Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki speaking at the inauguration of the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa on December 20, 2003, as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, looks on. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

Everyone who joins in the establishment of a new school participates in an act of joyful hope and faith. A new school looks to a better world, for it exists to help students develop the character, intellect and mental resilience that will enable them to prosper in circumstances that we can only imagine. If it becomes a great school, it will educate its students not merely to be personally successful but also to use their gifts to build their communities and enhance the common good to levels beyond our dreams. In dedicating this school then, we dedicate the governing board, teaching and administrative staff and students to the most devoted and creative service to Kenya, to Africa, and to mankind — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan, Prince Rahim and Mwai Kibaki on inauguration day of Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, Barakah.
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking on December 20, 2003 at opening ceremony of the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa in the presence of His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki (left) and Prince Rahim Aga Khan (right). Photo: Gary Otte.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2005

May 22, 2005: Opening ceremony of the International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress and 54th General Assembly

I believe the best journalists are not those who think they know everything, but those who are wise enough to know what they do not know. Excellence in journalism stems not from arrogant judgementalism but from intellectual humility — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan and Mwai Kibaki IPI World Congress Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, speaking at the opening ceremony of the International Press Institute (IPI) Conference in Kenya held on May 22, 2005, with President Mwai Kibaki seen seated at left. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2007

August 13, 2007: A State House Welcome at the Start of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee

Aga Khan and Kibaki at State House Golden Jubilee, Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya welcomes Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to State House in Nairobi, Kenya on August 13, 2007 at the commencement of his Golden Jubilee visit to Kenya. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Aga Khan and Mwai Kibaki State House 2007, Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki in conversation with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, members of government, leaders of the AKDN and the Ismaili community — Shafik Sachedina at left and Aziz Bhaloo at right — at State House on August 13, 2007 during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee visit to Kenya. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Aga Khan and Mwai Kibaki, Golden Jubilee 2007, Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, at State House in Nairobi on August 13, 2007 during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee visit to Kenya. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.

***

August 13, 2007: State Banquet and Kenya’s Highest Medal of Honour for His Highness the Aga Khan

On behalf of the Government and the people of Kenya, I warmly welcome Your Highness, the Aga Khan, to Kenya as you celebrate your Golden Jubilee. Allow me to take this opportunity, Your Highness, to acknowledge your exemplary spiritual leadership and to wish you continued success in your divine calling. Fifty years ago, this month, you acceded to the spiritual leadership of the Ismaili community. Over this period, you have recorded an impressive and enduring legacy of service to the Ismaili community, our country Kenya and the world at large. The achievements you have accomplished are an eloquent testimony of your dedication to your spiritual calling as well as selfless commitment to the well-being of mankind, irrespective of race or religion — President Mwai Kibaki (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan receives Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya from Mwai Kibaki during his Golden Jubilee, Barakah
His Excellency Mwai Kibaki decorates Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, with Kenya’s highest medal of honour, the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, at the State House Banquet on August 13, 2007, during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee visit. Photo: Gary Otte.

Your Highness, The Aga Khan Development Network has over the years remained a true partner in Kenya’s economic development. This is largely because of your commitment to the improvement of the well-being of our people. In recognition of your dedicated service to the people of Kenya through the various organisations which you lead, I am gratified that I have today bestowed upon Your Highness, Kenya’s highest medal of honour, — the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, (C.G.H.). I encourage you to continue your excellent work of advancing social and economic progress in our country. With these remarks, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, may I now request you all to join me in a toast to His Highness the Aga Khan on his Golden Jubilee, and to wish him good health, and a long and prosperous life. Thank you and God bless you all. — President Mwai Kibaki (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan receives the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya from Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Barakah
His Excellency Mwai Kibaki decorates Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, with Kenya’s highest medal of honour, the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, at the State House Banquet on August 13, 2007, during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee visit. Photo: Gary Otte.

Let me say first what a wonderful honour it is — to become a Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, and to do so on one’s Golden Jubilee! I am most deeply grateful to President Kibaki for this award — and for his very warm and generous words…..Kenya has played a role in past Jubilee celebrations of the Ismaili Imamat — during my late Grandfather’s time and my own. Some of our projects here bear names which came from those celebrations — like Diamond Trust and Jubilee Insurance. Some of our proudest accomplishments were launched as Jubilee initiatives. In that same spirit, we are announcing this week a number of new Golden Jubilee projects in Kenya and other parts of East Africa — including new ventures for the Aga Khan University Hospital and the Aga Khan University. The Aga Khan Academies programme will also expand into a new network of world class primary and secondary residential schools teaching the International Baccalaureate curriculum and covering no less than 14 countries in Africa and Asia. Its first school is already functioning in Mombasa, and is about to add new residence buildings for faculty and students — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan receives Kenya's Highest Honour, Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, joyfully addresses the gathering after receiving Kenya’s highest medal of honour, the Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya, from President Kibaki at the State House, Nairobi, on August 13, 2007. Photo: Gary Otte.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2009

July 2009: His Highness the Aga Khan Meets President Kibaki as He Travels to East Africa to Review AKDN Projects

Aga Khan and Kibaki
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, meets with Kenya’s President, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki during his visit to Kenya and other East African countries to review projects of AKDN, July 28, 2009 Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah

2010

March 17, 2010: Nation Media Group 50th Anniversary

Aga Khan received by Kibaki at Harambee House, Barakah
Upon his arrival in Kenya for the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group and the inaugural Pan Africa Media Conference , Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, meets with His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya at the Office of the President, Harambee House, Nairobi, on March 17, 2010. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Nation Media Group 50th anniversary, President Kibaki addresses conference in presence of Aga Khan, Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki addresses the conference during the Pan Africa Media conference, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group on March 18, 2010 as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan (2nd from right) and other attendees look on. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte

50 years ago His Highness the Aga Khan embarked on what we can now call a formidable journey. From humble beginnings, his vision of serving a country on the verge of independence has given birth to the Nation Media Group, the largest media house in East and Central Africa. I congratulate all those who have played a part in the growth of the Media Group. I salute the many men and women who have chronicled our history and heralded the future prospects and challenges of our country and region. These men and women have sought to define our place in a global village as new technologies bring to life what looked almost impossible in yesteryears. We salute past staffers and the new generation of journalists for their contribution in making our country the epitome of media freedom on our continent. Finally, I once again commend the Nation Media Group on this auspicious occasion of your Golden Jubilee. I am fully aware that one of the recurring stories that you have covered in Kenya is our 20 year search for a new constitution. I am confident that you are about to embark on writing the final chapters of this long journey. I am optimistic that Kenyans are now resolved in getting a new constitution. I appeal to you to support this development and give the country the necessary encouragement as we embark on a great journey of building a NEW KENYA. — President Mwai Kibaki (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Their Excellencies President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Kagame of Rwanda and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga touring an exhibition commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group (NMG) with Editorial Director of NMG Joseph Odindo, March 17, 2010. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte, Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Their Excellencies President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Kagame of Rwanda and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga tour an exhibition commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Nation Media Group (NMG) with Editorial Director of NMG Joseph Odindo, March 18, 2010. Photo: AKDN/Gary Otte.
Aga Khan at Pan Africa Media Conference with East African Leaders including Mkapa of Tanzania. Barakah
Participants of the Pan Africa Media Conference held on March 17, 2010, marking the 50th anniversary founding of the Nation Media Group. Back row, left to right: H.E. Princess Kabakumba Labwoni Masiko, Ugandan Minister of Information and National Guidance, Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications, Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Director of the Africa Media Initiative, Shakeel Shabbir, MP for Kisumu Town East, Linus Gitahi, CEO of the Nation Media Group and Wilfred Kiboro, Chairman of the Nation Media Group.Front row, left to right: H.E. Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique, Hon. Samuel Poghisio, Kenyan Minister for Information and Communication, Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, HIS HIGHNESS THE AGA KAHN, HIS EXCELLENCY MWAI KIBAKI, President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and H.E. Kalonzo Musyoka, Vice President of Kenya.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2011

July 25, 2011: Inauguration of Heart and Cancer Unit

Aga Khan and Kibaki, inauguration of heart and cancer centre, Barakah
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, stand for the Kenyan National Anthem at the ceremony marking the inauguration of the Aga Khan Hospital’s Heart and Cancer Centre in Nairobi, July 25, 2011. Photo: AKDN/Ejaz Karmali
Kibaki and Aga Khan Simerg and Barakah
President Kibaki addresses the gathering at the inauguration of the Aga Khan University Hospital’s Heart and Cancer Centre in Nairobi, with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan looking on, July 25, 2011. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah.

The opening of this Centre is a major milestone towards bringing world class healthcare and medical education to Kenya and the wider East African region. The Centre, demonstrates the long term commitment of Your Highness to building excellence in the provision of quality healthcare in our region. Indeed, this state-of-the-art facility will provide an opportunity for Kenya to serve the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Your Highness for the contribution the Aga Khan Development Network continues to make in our country — President Kibaki (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Kibaki and Aga Khan at inauguration of heart and cancer centre, Barakah.com
His Excellency President Mwai Kibaki and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, unveil the plaque marking the opening of the Heart and Cancer Centre at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, July 25, 2011. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah.

I am enormously pleased to celebrate with all of you this benchmark moment in the evolution of the Aga Khan Development Network and the Aga Khan University. I think of this as a “benchmark” because it signifies another step on a long pathway of medical advancement. We can trace that pathway back a thousand years – to the great hospitals that were founded in Cairo by my ancestors, the Fatimid Imam-Caliphs of Egypt. More recently, we remember the founding — some 53 years ago — of the Aga Khan Hospital here in Nairobi. That event was part of the Platinum Jubilee of my late grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah. From its very first day of operations in 1958, this has been a distinctive hospital — His Highness the Aga Khan (read full speech HERE; page has links to other pertinent material)

Aga Khan and Kibaki inspect cancer equipment, Barakah.com
President Kibaki and Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, inspect newly installed cancer equipment at the Heart and Cancer Centre at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, July 25, 2011. Looking on, just at right of Mawlana Hazar Imam, is Asmita Gillani, then CEO of Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah.
Aga Khan and Kibaki Barakah
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, watches as President Mwai Kibaki signs the guest book commemorating the inauguration of the Heart and Cancer Centre at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, July 25, 2011. Photo: AKDN/Aziz Islamshah

Date posted: April 25, 2022.

_____________________

For an excellent tribute to the late president, please click NATION: Statesman Mwai Kibaki.

FEEDBACK

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One comment

  1. A very good article on the late President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. I remember him from my Nairobi Days. I think his nephews were in Nairobi School formerly Prince of Wales with me in the 1970’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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