Former First Lady Mama Lucy Kibaki has died while undergoing treatment at a London Hospital. President Uhuru Kenyatta made the announcement saying that Mama Lucy had been unwell for over a month.
In a statement, the President said that Mama Lucy passed away at Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London.
“Her Excellency has been unwell for the last one month and has been receiving treatment here in Kenya and subsequently in the United Kingdom,” read the statement.
Below are 12 things you probably did not know about Mama Lucy Kibaki:
- Born and raised in Mukurwe-ini
Lucy Muthoni Kibaki was born in 1940 in Mukurwe-Ini to the Reverend John Kagai and Rose Nyachomba. She was the wife of Kenya’s third President Mwai Kibaki. She served as First Lady of Kenya from 2002 to 2013.
- Trained teacher
Lucy Kibaki was educated at Alliance Girls High School then trained as a teacher, and rose up to the post of Principal in Kiambu Teachers Training College (KTTC) before retiring.
She met Kibaki in 1960, who had just quit his teaching job in neighbouring Uganda’s Makerere University, and married him in 1962.
- Kenya’s First lady in over two decades
In 2002, Kenyans overwhelmingly voted in Mwai Kibaki as President. A stranger to many in the public sphere, Mama Lucy Kibaki started making headlines for her no holds barred approach.
- Chaired the Organization of the 40 African First Ladies Against HIV/Aids
Lucy Kibaki was passionate about the fight against HIV/AIDS. The former First Lady even chaired the Organization of the 40 African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS during her stint.
She also served as the Patron of Kenya Girl Guides Association of Kenya and big crusader against Female Genital Mutilation.
- First First Lady to have hospital named after her
Mama Lucy Kibaki goes down in history as the first Kenyan First Lady to have a health facility named after her. Kenya’s Government on March 1st, 2013 officially opened the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Nairobi, which was set up as part of the government’s efforts to provide accessible health services to citizens.
The newly built Embakasi District Hospital was re-named Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in a gazette notice signed by Minister Anyang’ Nyong’o in 2003.
Former President Mwai Kibaki inaugurated the health facility that was constructed in collaboration with the Chinese Government.
- Always stayed in Kibaki’s shadows until his Presidency
Like many other politicians’ wives in Kenya, Lucy Kibaki stayed in the shadows as Mr. Kibaki rose from an MP to become a Minister and Vice President under retired President Daniel Arap Moi, and finally the President of Kenya in 2002.
- Fiercely protective of her husband
Her supporters say she was fiercely protective of her husband following a car crash in 2002 that left him with a broken arm, a dislocated ankle and a neck injury. She was by her husband’s side campaigning vigorously in the run-up to the 2002 presidential polls.
- Not shy to controversy
Mrs. Kibaki over time launched verbal attacks on diplomats, journalists and policemen she believed had not treated her and her family with sufficient respect.
- Shy and reserved
Close family friends speak of a shy and reserved young woman in her youth. She performed well in school to become one of the first African women in Kenya to tutor in teacher training colleges. Lucy met Mr Kibaki, a dashing bachelor in 1960 and their romance led to a marriage.
- Attended last public official function in August 27th, 2010
The last public official function Mama Lucy attended was on August 27th, 2010 during the promulgation of the Kenyan Constitution at Uhuru Park. The event was attended by both local and foreign dignitaries who graced the historic occasion, which provided the Kibaki family the rare opportunity of leading the nation in ushering in a new set of laws.
Since then, Lucy Kibaki kept a low profile – with many speculating that she was unwell.
However, she briefly registered some presence when through the Office of First Lady official web page, which is under the State House official website, she made an entry on April 19th, 2012 asking politicians not to drag State House into their political wrangles, especially when they intend to disparage rivals.
- Flown overseas for treatment on March 22nd, 2016
On March 10, 2016 she was rushed to Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital for emergency medical attention before being taken to Nairobi Hospital where she was admitted in ICU for a while.
On March 22nd, 2016, Mama Lucy was flown out of the country for specialized treatment where she succumbed.
- First First Lady to allow a musician sell her music CDs at State House
Lucy Kibaki is the first Kenyan First Lady to allow artistes’ sell their creations to dignitaries at State House, Nairobi. Gospel singer Emmy Kosgei attests to this.
“I just got a call from State House in 2010. It was like a dream. Watching everyone dancing and screaming to my music was encouraging. Lucy Kibaki was dancing to my music. We were then invited to the State House garden party, where Kibaki encouraged me to sell my CDs at the dais,” Emmy told Standard in a 2014 interview.
Lucy Kibaki is survived by a husband and four children: Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai, and Tony Githinji.
May her soul rest in peace.