Kenya: Former first lady dies in London hospital

AP News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2016 10:59 AM
Kenya: Former first lady dies in London hospital

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Former Kenyan first lady Lucy Kibaki, prominent for charities and her quick temper, died Tuesday.

Kibaki, 76, often referred to as "Mama Lucy," died while undergoing treatment at the Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced. The statement did not say what Kibaki 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 2002-2013 and who survives her.

Kenyatta paid tribute to 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.

"In her own way, she gave the position of first lady a new and emphatic role. For her principled stand, Lucy was much misunderstood," Odinga said. Kenya's previous first ladies were more subdued and out of the public eye.

In May 2005, Lucy 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 tried to disconnect the amplifiers herself. The Nation reported that she yelled at guests that the neighborhood was not a slum.

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

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