Mwai Kibaki, the third president of the republic of Kenya, passed away on Friday, 22nd April 2022 aged 90 years. Since then, prominent individuals who were either Member of Parliament or ministers in his government have come out to pay their last tribute showering the late with praises. However, this is not the case for former Nyeri Town MP Wanyiri Kihoro who came out to criticize the late president and stated that he won’t be attending his burial ceremony.
But how did the two who were once close friends fall out? Here is the full story as told by WoK.
Wanyiri Kihoro is a former Member of Parliament who represented Nyeri Constituency from 1997 to 2002. Apart from politics, he is a lawyer and an advocate of the high court of Kenya. He is also a published author of three books titled ‘The Price of Freedom, Never say Die and The Kapenguria Six.’ He was married to the late Wanjiru Kihoro who was an economist, writer and feminist activist. She died in a fatal helicopter crush on 12th October 2006.
Relationship with Kibaki
Wanyiri Kihoro and his wife Wanjiru were very close friends with the late President. Their friendship started during the struggle for multi-partism politics in Kenya. In fact, the family played a major role in Kibaki’s 2002 presidential campaigns which resulted in victory. While speaking to TV47 during an exclusive interview, Kihoro narrated how he and his wife contributed Ksh 17 million for Kibaki’s campaigns.
“My wife Dr Wanjiru Kihoro and I took that money to him in a plastic bag at the DP (Democratic Party) Finance offices in Nairobi. He could not believe that people could be so honest. We did a fundraising and took the money to him also accompanied by Kitui governor Charity Ngilu,” he explained.
The Fatal Accident
A few weeks after Kibaki was sworn in as Kenya’s third president, a fatal helicopter accident occurred on January 25th 2003. The occupants of the ill-fated chopper were traveling back to Nairobi from Busia after attending the homecoming ceremony of the former Vice President Moody Awori who was then a cabinet minister. The event also served as Kibaki’s victory celebration under the National Rainbow Coalition. The unfortunate accident claimed the lives of three people on the spot – Labour Cabinet Minister Ahmad Mohammed Khalifa and two pilots. Others who were in the chopper but escaped with minor injuries include politicians Martha Karua, Raphael Tuju and Linah Kilimo. Wanjiru suffered serious injuries and was admitted in ICU. She was in a coma for close to four years before she eventually died in 2006.
Dr Wanjiru slipped into a coma and was admitted at the Nairobi Hospital for three years and nine months. Despite Nairobi hospital being a walk away from State House, Kibaki whom he regarded as a friend, never paid them a visit at the hospital. They never met for both the ten years he was president and even ten years after retiring. This is despite Kibaki having the powers to invite him for a cup of tea to comfort him or even show up for his wife’s burial. As a result, the former MP revealed that he won’t attend Kibaki’s funeral. He further went on to criticize Kibaki’s administration claiming that he failed to unite the country and would have performed better as a church minister than a president.
“I am the kind of a person who doesn’t say or follow things that I do not believe in because that would be like lying in the eyes of the public. His achievements should not be exaggerated as he had his own shortcomings. For instance, Kibaki’s government allowed safaricom shares to be sold to foreigners instead of letting Kenyans own it exclusively. Kenyans would have benefited a lot from the bonuses of the biggest and most profitable telecommunications company in the East and Central African region,” he explained.