Former President Mwai Kibaki flown to South Africa for treatment


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Former President Mwai Kibaki. PHOTO: FILE

NAIROBI: Former President Mwai Kibaki was Sunday evening flown out to South Africa for specialised treatment.

Kibaki left aboard a chartered flight that took off from Wilson airport.

According to a source close to the Kibakis, the former president had been rushed to Karen Hospital on Saturday night from his Muthaiga home in Nairobi after he reportedly developed complications arising from his 2002 accident.

In December 2002, Kibaki, the then Opposition presidential candidate was taken to the United Kingdom for treatment after he involved in an accident at the Machakos turnoff as his motorcade was coming from a campaign rally.

He would be elected president later that year being sworn in as the country’s third president on December 30 2002.

The former President Kibaki’s family confirmed he was flown to South Africa for specialised medical treatment, after being taken ill.

The statement explained he was accompanied by his doctor. “We expect him to return soon, and Kenyans will be informed of his progress as appropriate. We ask Kenyans to pray for him, and to respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time,” read the statement issued through the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit.

“The family decided to rush him to hospital on Saturday night when he complained of pain in the joints. He had been well during the day but complained of fatigue,” explained the source confidentially.

The source explained that the family, on the advice of doctors, decided to fly him out for further treatment.

Our source also revealed that the former President has been going for routine check-ups fortnightly at the Karen hospital, which is owned by Dr Dan Gikonyo, his personal doctor.

“It has been a routine for him to go for medical check-ups at the Karen hospital but yesterday’s (Saturday) was an emergency,” revealed the source.

Earlier President Uhuru Kenyatta had visited the retired president Sunday morning at the Karen hospital. Close family members and friends were also at the hospital.

Later sources said close family members including his children who had initially gone to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport but were recalled to Wilson accompanied him in the flight to South Africa.

When The Standard visited the Karen Hospital Sunday morning, there was heightened security with many plainclothes security officers and motorbike outriders.

A security official at the hospital confirmed that Kibaki was admitted at the hospital.

“He is here but we are under strict instructions from family members not to allow media in the hospital. We have been told that only State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu can talk about it,” he said.

The former president was appointed special envoy by United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in June.

The appointment made him campaign for safe drinking water on the continent, as part of Unesco’s efforts to increase access to water for all.

Last month, while attending Africa Water Week in Tanzania, Kibaki called on African countries to implement water and sanitation projects to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on Water and Sanitation by 2030.

“Water is a critical driver of economic progress as its availability would promote overall development and improve livelihood. It is sad that water situation in Africa is wanting and many people can’t access clean water and called for concrete and urgent steps and appealed to all stakeholders to make access to water and sanitation a reality,” Kibaki said.

He added, ”Now is the time to address this challenge. Governments, civil society organisations and the overall population must take action. This calls for the strengthening of partnerships by all stakeholders, noting that no government can fully provide water for all its citizens, without including the private sector. Only then will Africa be free from the effect of lack of water.”

The former president’s wife, Lucy, died in April at Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London where she had been flown for specialised treatment. She was buried at their Othaya home in May.
Kibaki served as Kenya’s President for two five-year terms, from 2002 to 2013, when he was succeeded by the incumbent.

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