The former Prime Minister of Kenya Raila Odinga was among Kenyans who gathered at the Nyayo National Stadium to pay their last respects to the departed former President of the Republic of Kenya Mwai Kibaki.
His wife, Ida Odinga, accompanied him to the state funeral service.
While giving his speech, Raila, who served with Kibaki in the same grand coalition government as a Prime Minister, said Kibaki was a gentleman and a man of conviction.
He said he once worked with Kibaki when in the opposition and then when they were together in the grand coalition.
Raila said Kibaki used to come up with a comprehensive description and explanation of the budget in a manner that shadowed the Finance ministers.
“I first worked with Kibaki in the opposition, then together in the grand coalition government, where he was our leader. During his presidency, he used to come up with eloquent exposition of the budget, most times better than the then-Finance ministers. He’d even tell them how the implementation would be done,” Raila said.
He remembered Kibaki as a free-spirited leader who allowed his ministers to work independently without his interference as long as they were not committing any offences related to corruption.
“He gave the ministers the authority and power to run their ministries so long as they were not involved in graft,” Raila said.
Contrary to the popular belief that Raila begrudged Kibaki for not endorsing him as his successor, Raila refuted the claims and revealed he consulted Kibaki frequently even after his retirement.
“After he retired, we continued to remain good friends. He advised me on several occasions,” Raila said.
Raila expressed his loss in the demise of Kibaki as he termed him as a good friend of his a patriot and an outstanding leader.
“I’d say I have lost a good friend. Kenya, on the other hand, has lost a patriot and great leader, whose value will only be known with time,” Raila said.