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With Lucy Kibaki, what you saw is what you got

Former First Lady Lucy Kibaki, who died on Tuesday, will certainly be missed by many, especially women, whose cause she fearlessly championed.

Rarely do you find such a forthright woman who is not afraid to defend her beliefs. It is a trait considered unbecoming of a woman in many cultures. But Mama Lucy, the wife of Kenya’s third President Mwai Kibaki, was not bothered and remained true to herself to the very end.

Many are those who hold back their true convictions, allowing themselves to get swallowed by the crowd. But not Mrs Kibaki, who was unafraid of confronting matters she felt important to the well-being of family and society. It has been said; “If you don’t stand for something , you fall for anything.”

Mama Lucy stood for what she believed in. She not only lived her beliefs, but did it with enthusiasm. When she danced with children at functions, a sense of warmth and genuineness pervaded the atmosphere. Myles Munroe, renowned for his lessons on living your purpose was killed together with his wife, Ruth, in a plane crash in 2014. A Christian Today Journalist said about him: “He was revered by some and denounced by others.”

Fact is, living your life to always please others is a futile existence. How often do people really say what they mean, and mean what they say? Transparency and accountability is the narrative that emanated from Mrs Kibaki’s life. What you saw is what you got.

Fear was certainly a characteristic she shunned and in the words of author and poet Maya Angelou, “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Mama Lucy has left a legacy. Honest to a fault and with a big welcoming smile, will be my fond memories of her.

As Kenyans, we mourn a remarkable individual, who loved her nation, empathised with the less fortunate and undoubtedly, committed to her family. Winston Churchill said: Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen and echo in equal measure.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia Isaiya Kabira who headed the president’s press corps during President Kibaki’s tenure said: “Even though she was often misunderstood, Mama Lucy was a woman of substance whose place in history will remain indelible.” —The author is a Senior Communications and Media Officer, World Vision, Kenya.

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