The committee on nominations of Mo Ibrahim Prize has blamed the Kenyan media for speculating that former President Mwai Kibaki was on the short-list for the coveted leadership award.
The clarification puts to rest obscene media speculation that the former president was a ‘front runner’ for the prestigious award. The reports of Kibaki nomination divided Kenyans down the middle with many recalling Kibaki rigged the 2007 elections and oversaw the ethnicization of the government even after the ethnic strife.
â€œWe encountered reports about Kibaki in the media like everyone else, but we did not consider him for the prize. He was not in the shortlist,â€ said SalimÂ Ahmed Salim, chair of the selection committee.
Salim added that while Kibaki was eligible to be considered for the award since he left office in the last three years, he did not meet the set requirements to qualify for the award.
The Prize, which is the world’s most prestigious in monetary value, was then awarded to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba set to leave the presidency later this month.
Pohamba, a human rights and good governance icon, received the news of the nomination with elation, with the presidency saying the retiring leader was ‘humbled by this gesture’.
The presidency further statedÂ Â the president hoped to use the prize to advance the objectives of the Hifikepunye Pohamba foundation, which helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue higher education.
Ever since leaving office, Kibaki has had no worthwhile engagement on governance issues either in Kenya or at global level, only getting appointed – after heavy lobbying from Kenya – to be the water ambassador for the United Nations.