As Kenyans mourn the death of Kenya’s third President, Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki, the economist per excellence will forever be remembered for his achievements in various sectors of the economy and leadership.
From infrastructural development, to trade, and health, Kibaki’s fingerprints can easily be traced in every major project in the country. However, before joining the world of elective politics, Kibaki had an aptitude for learning as evidenced by his academic prowess.
Prior to joining the public service sector, Kibaki took up a number of odd jobs including as a part-time bus conductor during his secondary school breaks.
After finishing his O-levels at Mang’u High School, he joined Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda in 1951 and pursued a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics, History, and Political Science.
This was hailed as a turning point in the history of the university as Kibaki shaped the political conversations, advocating for students’ needs. He served as the vice chair of the Makerere Students Guild from 1954 to 1955.
Despite advocating for students’ rights and agenda to the university administration, Kibaki still attained a first-class honours degree in Economics.
This earned him a scholarship opportunity to study at the prestigious London School of Economics where he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Finance.
While awaiting for his scholarship to be processed, Kibaki worked as an assistant sales manager for Shell Company East Africa in Kampala. After a successful stint, he flew to London to continue with his studies, graduating with an impressive first class degree – the first African to achieve such a tremendous feat.
Priding himself as a jack of all trades, Kibaki had also learnt carpentry and masonry at Karima Mission School.
The former Head of State returned to Uganda where he served as an assistant lecturer in the department of Economics from 1958 to 1960.
Kibaki then deserted a career in teaching in order to join elective politics, effectively becoming an executive officer of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party upon request by the party’s Secretary General at the time, Tom Mboya.