Kibaki, Mwai (Emilio Mwai Kibaki), 1931–, Kenyan political leader. An economist educated at the London School of Economics, he was elected to Kenya's first parliament (1963) as a member of the Kenya African National Union (KANU). He served as minister of finance and economic planning (1970–78) under President Jomo Kenyatta and as vice president (1978–88) and minister of finance (1978–82), of home affairs (1982–88), and of health (1988–91) under President Daniel arap Moi. In 1991 he broke with Moi (with whom he earlier had a falling out) and KANU and formed the Democratic party. Kibaki unsuccessfully against Moi in 1992 and 1997. As the presidential candidate of a broad opposition coalition (the National Rainbow Coalition) in 2002, however, he defeated Moi's chosen successor, Uhuru Kenyatta. Although Kibaki had run on an anticorruption plank, his government has been plagued with scandals of its own. It also experienced coalition divisions over the writing of a new constitution that failed to include a strong executive prime minister; the rejection of the document by voters in Nov., 2005, hurt Kibaki, who had worked for its passage. Kibaki was reelected in Dec., 2007, but the election was marred by vote fraud and criticized by domestic and foreign observers.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.