Ramaphosa honours the late former Kenyan president and 'great statesman' Mwai Kibaki
President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to the late former Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, likening him to SA’s first president Nelson Mandela.
“We especially remember him for his leadership in uniting the people of Kenya and for us, as South Africans, we saw him in the mould in which we saw our own first president, Nelson Mandela, who sought to unite our nation and planted the seeds of the development of SA.
“You too have had a great president in President Kibaki, who has developed your country and helped to unite the people of Kenya.”
Ramaphosa joined a number of leaders who paid their respects during Kibaki’s funeral, which was held at the Nyayo national stadium in Nairobi on Friday morning.
He died on April 21 at the age of 90.
Ramaphosa said: “As SA and the Sadc, we were saddened to hear of the passing of President Mwai Kibaki. The news of his passing touched our hearts and our condolences were extended to you as Kenyans.
“We are here to extend and pay respects and our condolences to all of you as Kenyans and especially, President Uhuru Kenyatta and indeed the Kibaki family.
“We feel the pain and anguish that you are all going through, but at the same time we also believe that you are all collectively here to celebrate a life of a great statesman.”
Ramaphosa wished mourners strength.
“We also wish that you could remember President Kibaki for what he stood for and for what he did for this great nation.”
Ramaphosa said he made the trip to Nairobi to comfort his “brother Kenyatta and also to say that the relations between SA and Kenya continue to be strengthened in moments of celebrations and in moments of sadness”.
Ramaphosa thanked Kenyatta for extending his condolences to SA on the loss of more than 400 people during the recent deadly floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We wish to join you as Kenyans as you remember your dear and beloved departed president. We remember President Kibaki for the leadership that he demonstrated, not only to Kenya, but also to the African continent.”
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.