The last time President Mwai Kibaki drove down State House Road in a motorcade was in 2013, he left the political arena at the end of his 10-year term. His successor, Uhuru Kenyatta, took over.
When he drove down the street yesterday, he left the stage forever.
One day the sky was heavily overcast, which The mood in the The city and nation was depressed.
Military police and General Service Unit officers had already taken up positions at the Lee Funeral Home just before 6 am and manned both gates.
Kibaki’s family members were killed 7:55 a.m. in three vehicles, escorted by police pickets. They were immediately escorted to the mortuary for last rites before the service.
Lee funeral director Paul Van Brussel arrived at dawn to organize his team and help prepare the body for the
When it was loaded onto the hearse at 8am, the Belgian made sure the coffin was properly positioned and inspected every detail, including the vehicle’s door handles.
The glossy hearse emerged from the gate at 7:00 a.m. 8:35 a.m., ready for the drive to the State House.
The hearse was escorted by dozens of horsemen and military vehicles.
At upon arrival at the State House, the sky gave way to a drizzle. The last post – a military call signifying a soldier’s final rest – trumpeted through the garden.
The full military honors bestowed on Kibaki stood before.
Kibaki’s body was z left State House for the last time at 9:35. Then the slow march to Nyayo Stadium for the state funeral began.
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In a black suit, sky blue shirt and navy blue tie, President Uhuru Kenyatta looked dejected.
Just 26 months ago, the President accompanied his mentor – Daniel arap Moi – on the seven kilometer route to the stadium.< /p>
Nairobi Traffic Commander Joshua Omukata, assisted by Mr. John Gichohi, paced the streets with their radios giving directions and receiving up-to-the-minute updates on the city’s traffic conditions.
With heads of state – and leaders, diplomats and other dignitaries in the city, Mr. Omukata left nothing to chance.
But for some, like Mr. Andrew Mamati, all was not well. The 27-year-old street vendor strategically positioned himself at the gate of Nyayo Stadium from 4am, hoping to sell cold refreshments.
Unfortunately, those arriving opted for hot drinks to beat the biting cold to defeat.
Kibaki detested the flair of the public reception. On a visit to Eldoret, he once admonished the locals who had lined the streets to cheer him on.
Hundreds of Kenyans crowded the streets yesterday as the funeral procession, draped in the national flag, passed slowly.
Many stopped in front of the funeral home. Kenyans, both young and old, came out in droves to catch a glimpse of the action.
Thousands descended on the stadium as early as 7am to mourn the man who changed the course of the country , and their lives.
There was even a fight over free umbrellas provided by the government in case of a downpour.
Security inside and outside the stadium was tight . Those who entered were frisked while police officers patrolled the venue on the perimeter walls.
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Kibaki The body arrived at the stadium at 10:40 am. The funeral procession completed a 15-minute lap of honor around the 30,000-seat stadium.
After this military ritual, President Kenyatta led the visiting chiefs and other dignitaries to pay their last respects to Kibaki.
< p>Mr Kenyatta stood by the coffin while the leaders took turns viewing the body. They were returned to their seats by PS Macharia Kamau for Foreign Affairs.
The coffin stood on a white platform between two flags; a white – Kibaki’s presidential standard – and the national flag.
Kibaki’s family members sat in the main tent, their black clothing and mood in communion.
Then the eulogies began and Kibaki was greeted with awe, color and glory described. A true patriot and gentleman par excellence. Kenyan Mandela. The greatest Kenyan President.
“Kibaki the man. Kibaki the leader. Kibaki, the visionary,” President Kenyatta said of his predecessor.
It seemed like it was going to rain, but the sky over the city remained silent as the service continued.
Later in the afternoon, the clouds gave way to sunshine as the darkness of the day alternated with the light.
The canopy finally protected those in attendance and added color and splendor to the stadium.
After At the conclusion of 3:00 p.m., the gun truck was back to take the coffin back to the Lee Funeral Home.
As the military vehicles departed at 3:05 p.m. amid a flashing salute and the national anthem, the ritual marked the beginning of the end a long, eventful journey for Kibaki in a city where his political career began.
Additional reporting by Ndubi Moturi
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