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Why Kibaki was referred to as the ‘Coward in Chief’ by Matiba

Ouru David
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Former president, Mwai Kibaki [photo/nation.co.ke]

The former president was a once close friend to the late Kenneth Matiba during their years at Makerere  University. 

However, until his death, the two had had a frosty relationship and was how they fell out with each other during the youthful political days.

Both Mr. Matiba and Mr. Kibaki once served at the same ministry of Commerce where Matiba was appointed Permanent Secretary while Kibaki was his Minister. 

However, Matiba had to resign from the Cabinet after the controversial Mlolongo elections that were held in the year 1988 following rigging claims.

After the elections, Kibaki who won his Othaya seat was demoted from his deputy president sit to a Health minister. With their political fates, Matiba asked Kibaki to resign so that they could all fight for multiparty politics. 

Kibaki agreed to also resign and join Matiba in the fight for multiparty politics. Unfortunately, Mr. Kibaki rescinded to his earlier decision of resigning and told his friend Matiba that he had a second thought over resigning. 

Later on after two years, Mr. Kibaki publicly dismissed the multiparty fighters terming their move a futile exercise.

“At that time, resigning was an act close to treason. You waited to be sacked and after being sacked, you thanked the president for it,” recalled Mr. Paul Muite.

Because of this, the late Matiba never pardoned Mr. Kibaki and started referring to him as ‘General Kiguoya’ or simply The Coward in Chief.

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