Kenya’s Former First Lady Lucy Kibaki Is Dead

Kenya’s controversial former first lady, Lucy Kibaki, has died in a London hospital of an undisclosed illness.

She gained notoriety for slapping a cameraman in 2005 when she stormed the offices of a private media group in anger at the way a story about her had been reported.

In a tribute to Mrs. Kibaki, President Uhuru Kenyatta praised her for her role in fighting HIV/AIDS in Kenya.

Mr. Kenyatta succeeded her husband, Mwai Kibaki, who governed from 2002 to 2013.

Mrs. Kibaki, who was born in 1940, had withdrawn from public life during the latter part of her husband’s rule.

She was last seen at a public function in August 2010, when she seemed excited about the adoption of a new constitution, dancing to a famous gospel song, Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper said.

Mr. Kenyatta said she had been unwell for the last month, receiving treatment in both Kenya and the United Kingdom. She left behind four children namely Judy Wanjiku, Jimmy Kibaki, David Kagai and Tony Githinji. She was born in the 1940s in Mukurwe-ini to colonial era Presbyterian Church of East Africa pastor Rev John Kagai and Rose Nyachomba.

Mrs. Kibaki trained as a teacher, leaving her job not long after her marriage in 1962 to raise her four children.

“Her Excellency will be remembered for her immense contribution in the development of country,” Mr. Kenyatta said in a statement.

According to the Daily Nation, she organised the First International Aids Run in 2003.

But it was said that she also provoked condemnation when she said unmarried young people had “no business” using condoms, calling on students to abstain from sex in order to avoid infection with HIV.

Mrs. Kibaki was the most controversial of Kenya’s first ladies, crossing swords with politicians, diplomats, journalists and policemen she believed had not treated her with sufficient respect.

Just months after her husband became president, she is reported to have shut down a bar inside State House that was a watering hole for ministers and close allies of Mr. Kibaki.

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