World

Kenya to fly flag at half-mast to honour Mugabe

Kenya to fly flag at half-mast to honour Mugabe
  • Uhuru Kenyatta, Mwai Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi remember Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe as a hero.

  • President Kenyatta orders flying of national flag half-mast on Saturday to Monday in honour of Robert Mugabe.

  • Former president Mwai Kibaki termed the demise of Mugabe as the end of an era in Africa.

Kenyan leaders have paid tributes to Robert Mugabe following his death at the age of 95, announced on Friday.

Mugabe was Zimbabwe's first president after independence and ruled the country for 37 years before he was ousted in a military coup two years ago.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until he was finally ousted in November 2017. PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA | AFP

President Uhuru Kenyatta in his condolence messages said Mugabe would be remembered as a man of courage who was never afraid to fight for what he believed in even when it was not popular.

“In this moment of sorrow, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his relatives and the people of Zimbabwe who, for many years, he served with commitment and dedication,” a statement by President Kenyatta reads.

“Words cannot convey the magnitude of the loss as former President Mugabe was an elder statesman, a freedom fighter and a Pan-Africanist who played a major role in shaping the interests of the African continent,” he added.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Robert Mugabe

President Uhuru Kenyatta (gesturing) with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn during the launch of the negotiations of the Continental Free Trade Area in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015. FILE PHOTO | PSCU

Mr Kenyatta ordered that the national flag flies half-mast from Saturday to Monday as “a mark of respect for the memory of this African hero and friend of our country.”

END OF AN ERA

Former president Mwai Kibaki termed the demise of Mugabe as the end of an era in Africa.

“It closes the chapter of Africa’s founding presidents whose commitment to the emancipation of the people of Africa remains enduringly remarkable. His share of downsides aside, Mugabe, no doubt, stood for the greater good of Africa,” he said.

Mwai Kibaki and Robert Mugabe

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki (right), Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe (centre) and King Muswati III of Swaziland arrive for the 14th Comesa Summit in Luzitha, Swaziland in 2010. PHOTO | PPS

STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM

Mr Kibaki's predecessor Daniel arap Moi, who marked his 95th birthday on Monday, mourned his fellow nonagenarian describing him as a legendary fighter in dismantling bastions of colonialism in Africa.

In his message, Mzee Moi recalled how Mugabe suffered long prison terms in the then Rhodesia in pursuit of freedom of his people and restoration of the dignity of the African personality.

Mugabe was imprisoned in 1964 and spent 10 years in jail. Rhodesian leader Ian Smith denied him leave to attend his four-year-old son's funeral who had died while he was behind bars.

“Alongside such compatriots as Joshua Nkomo, Leopold Takawira, James Chikerema and Ndabaningi Sithole, Mugabe brought down the seemingly indomitable hardline and racist regime of Ian Smith,” Mzee Moi noted.

He said Mugabe had etched for himself a station of honour in the history of the struggle for the emancipation of the oppressed.