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Monday 24 October 2016

Former Kenyan first lady Lucy Kibaki dies in London hospital

Published 26/04/2016 | 16:16

Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and his wife Lucy wave to supporters in Nairobi in 2007 (AP)
Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and his wife Lucy wave to supporters in Nairobi in 2007 (AP)

Former Kenyan first lady Lucy Kibaki, who was known for her charitable work and her quick temper, has died aged 76 in a London hospital.

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Mrs Kibaki, often referred to as Mama Lucy, died while undergoing treatment at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced.

The statement did not say what she was suffering from but she registered at the hospital earlier this year for what the family said was a routine check-up.

She was married to Kenya's third president Mwai Kibaki, who was in power from 2002 to 2013 and who survives her.

Mr Kenyatta paid tribute to Mrs Kibaki's commitment to improving the lives of Kenyans and fighting Aids.

Former prime minister Raila Odinga also paid tribute to the former first lady.

He said: "In her own way, she gave the position of first lady a new and emphatic role. For her principled stand, Lucy was much misunderstood."

Kenya's previous first ladies were more subdued and out of the public eye.

In May 2005, Mrs Kibaki stormed into the newsroom of the Daily Nation, Kenya's largest newspaper, with her security detail and demanded that journalists be arrested for what she considered biased coverage. She was accused of assaulting a journalist.

She was angered by the newspaper's report that she had burst into the house of the World Bank country director during his going away party, complaining that the music was too loud and trying to disconnect the amplifiers herself.

The Nation reported that she yelled at guests that the neighbourhood was not a slum.

In December 2007, she was accused of slapping an official apparently angered because he introduced the name of a woman widely believed to be her husband's second wife.

In March 2009 Mrs Kibaki's husband convened a press conference and declared that he was monogamous after reports had emerged that he had a secret second wife.

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