Kenya will hold a state funeral on Friday for former President Mwai Kibaki, who died last week at the age of 90 after a decade in power marked by economic revival as well as scandal and violence.
Kibaki was Kenya’s third president, serving from December 2002 to April 2013, succeeding Daniel arap Moi’s 20-year authoritarian regime and preceding current President Uhuru Kenyatta.
On Friday morning, benches at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi’s heart filled up under a heavy sky. At 10:30 a.m. local time, a procession carrying Kibaki’s coffin approached (0730 GMT).
Along with ambassadors, officials, and government members, a dozen heads of state and prime ministers from across the African continent were expected, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.
According to a statement issued by Kenya’s foreign ministry, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II praised Kibaki for his “lifelong record of service” to the Kenyan people.
“It will be of deep sadness to your country to have lost a great statesman, but Kenya can take pride in the legacy of his leadership,” the queen said in a message of condolence to President Kenyatta on Thursday.