Nairobi — Kenyan leaders joined the rest of the world in mourning the death of South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who passed on Thursday night at the age of 95.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in mourning and celebrating the life of Mandela described him as an outstanding African statesman with exceptional leadership skills.
"President Nelson Mandela was an exceptional transformational leader who was gifted with unique, admirable abilities and strong values. He believed in the noble principles of equity, justice, cohesiveness and inclusiveness in governance. He had faith and confidence in the ability of his people to realise the dream of a free, united and prosperous South Africa," Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta who termed Mandela as an icon of peace and reconciliation also lauded him for standing up for Africans in defending their rights.
According to Kenyatta, Africa and in fact the world has lost a man with outstanding skills of leadership.
"Mandela lived and worked for a world in which people should live together in peace and tranquillity regardless of colour, race or religion. His strong belief in Africa and its people epitomized the best of the Pan-Africanism spirit," Kenyatta said.
In his condolences, Deputy President William Ruto recalled Mandela as a man of great morals for his selfless leadership.
He said he will remember Mandela as a man of courage, principle and honour.
"The world has lost a moral example of selfless leadership, a man of courage, principle and honour. The African Continent is poorer without Madiba. We are mourning a father to multiple generations of Africans. Madiba left a legacy of leadership and he was a shining example that we should all emulate."
Former President Mwai Kibaki also recalled Mandela for towering over racism and redefining the meaning of freedom besides inspiring new standards of African dignity and brotherhood.
According to Kibaki, though Mandela is gone, he will always be remembered as he has left an indelible legacy for all generations to learn from.
"Mandela may be physically separated from us but his exceptional spirit and indiscriminate love for humanity has transformed the world and secured a place of honour for the ideals he unfailingly stood for. Mandela has bowed out of the scene but left Africa and her prospects on the world stage much brighter than ever before," Kibaki said.
In mourning Mandela, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he was a courageous leader who stood for principles of humanity; "in Mandela's death, the world has lost a great symbol for what humanity can achieve with good intentions and persistence."
Odinga said Mandela was persistent, courageous, full of humility, hope and tolerance.
"Nelson Mandela was one of those rare human beings that we are persistently looking for and we only come across once in a century or a generation, and only if we are lucky. We are lucky to have lived in his time and to have witnessed him rise to become a legend while he still lived."