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Kibaki tickles ribs with ‘incorrect’ speech

Retired President Mwai Kibaki is ageing gracefully if what happened to him Thursday at a high powered event graced by ambassadors is anything to go by.

For starters, Mr Kibaki was unable to read his speech and apologized to the audience saying the “notes are for a different event”.

He had slowly read the salutation part of the speech recognizing the dignitaries present but even then, he was unable to do it correctly.

For instance, he referred to two invited governors: Garissa’s Nadhif Adan and Wajir’s Ahmed Abdallah as governors “from those places”.

STRUGGLING TO SPEAK

And after struggling to read the speech for about five minutes, he excused himself and said it was for a different event despite all indications that he was reading the correct speech.

“I apologise, theses notes are for a different event, I apologise,” he said even as the gathering broke into light laughter and appeared to empathize with him.

This was during the launch of two Sh8.5 billion water projects funded by the United States and Swiss governments among other donors held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.

Mr Kibaki, by virtue of him being the Patron of Millennium Water Alliance Kenya (MWAK), was the key guest.

MWAK is an organisation formed by leading US-based non-governmental organizations working in water and sanitation to “offer sustainable solutions through advocacy, shared knowledge, and collaborative programming”.

The event was attended by Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec and his Swiss counterpart Ralf Heckner among other high profile guests.

TWO HOURS LATE

The event begun almost two hours late and a slowly walking Mr Kibaki was ushered into the dias.

He was the last to make his speech and just after he addressed the gathering, an aide was seen handing him the speech and appeared as if he was explaining something to the former President regarding the address.

After he failed to read his speech, he opted to give off the cuff remarks, but even then it appeared he was struggling and he veered off the main topic which was water matters.

“Please don’t forget to visit and see the beauty of the country after your discussions,” he said.

Guests were heard questioning why his handlers opted to subject him to such a lengthy speech and whether he had rehearsed for the same.

PUBLIC LIMELIGHT

Mr Kibaki, 84, is the third president of Kenya and reigned for two terms (2003-2013) and is credited for having steered the country during its clamour for a new constitution and development of various infrastructural projects.

He has, however, remained out of the public limelight only appearing occasionally.

But it is his wife Lucy who has completely vanished from public glare way before the family exited from the seat of power.

In a similar occurrence last year, the retired President laboured to read a speech during a graduation ceremony at a university in Western Kenya.