15 November 2012

Kenya: President Turns 81

Nairobi — President Mwai Kibaki marked his 81st birthday on Thursday, and the last as president.

The president spent his afternoon at the official opening of the Vice President's new palatial residence in Karen, as various leaders and citizens took to social media and press statements to wish him happy birthday.

"Kindly join me in wishing the President, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki a happy birthday and many more to come," Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said in a post on his Facebook page.

Other Kenyans also joined in to wish the president a happy birthday saying he would be greatly remembered for spearheading a robust development record in addition to pushing for the promulgation of a new Constitution.

"Mr President on this special occasion I want to say thank you for changing the face of Kenya. You have had your share of challenges but you have stayed focused on the country's infrastructure, education and economy. This is your legacy as you prepare to retire next year. Happy birthday Mr President," said journalist Paul Ilado on Twitter.

"Happy 81st birthday Mr President Mwai Kibaki. Your 10yrs reign as the president of Kenya has taught us a lot! We're proud of you Sir," John Mwangi, a citizen, tweeted.

A statement posted on the State House website said Kibaki will be remembered for unveiling the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment creation.

As a result of the strategy real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 5.8 percent in 2003 compared to 0.4 percent when he assumed power in 2002.

"Hon Kibaki has also seen the coming into being of Vision 2030, a development plan aimed at raising the GDP to 10 percent annually and transforming the Kenya into a middle income country by the year 2030," according to the statement.

Kibaki holds two degrees; one from Makerere University and the London School of Economics.

He was also an assistant lecturer in the economics department of Makerere University.

His political career spans over a 52 year period.

He began as the Executive Officer of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) party in 1960. He is the MP for Othaya constituency which he has served since 1974, when he shifted base from Donholm Constituency in Nairobi which was later renamed Bahati.

The father of four has served as a vice president and minister in different capacities including Commerce and Industry, Health, Finance and Home Affairs.

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