In 2014, a year after retired President the late Mwai Kibaki left office, he opted to sell his 14-floor building to Mt Kenya University (MKU) founder Simon Gicharu in a deal that dwarfed other real estate deals of the year.
The building, Union Towers, was sold to MKU for Ksh800 million, even as the university looked to establish a Virtual Learning Center.
“We have been pursuing avenues to strengthen our virtual learning programmes and will be using the premises to coordinate it,” Gicharu said.
On November 4, 2021, MKU opened the Mwai Kibaki Convention Centre at Thika Campus in honour of the late President.
The centre has a seating capacity of 2,000 and serves multiple purposes – including hosting conferences, academic presentations, plays and musical performances. It will be open for use by university students and members of the public.
Among other things, Kibaki’s two-term stint from 2002 to 2012 saw accelerated economic growth and infrastructure development in Kenya, as well as the introduction of Free Primary Education and expansion of tertiary education.
Notably, it was Kibaki who awarded a Charter to MKU on January 11, 2009 bringing to fruition a dream that started with the founding of MKU’s precursor, Thika Institute of Technology, in 1996.
The Mwai Kibaki Convention Centre has been in the making for the past three years. It is accessible through the university’s main entrance or via a dedicated entrance on General Kago Road.
MKU was founded by Gicharu as Thika Institute of Technology in 1996 and has todate spread wings to Nairobi, Thika, Mombasa, Meru, Nakuru, Mumias, Eldoret, Kitale, Lodwar, Kakamega and Kabarnet.
It also has a campus in Kigali, Rwanda and a marketing office in Juba, South Sudan.
Ten years after it was founded, in 2006, the Commission for University Education Kenya approved the institute’s request for collaboration with JKUAT to offer both diploma and degree programmes.
This was after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Kenya recognized the institute as a fully-fledged institution of higher learning and granted it full registration approval.
MKU is the first private institution in Kenya to be allowed to train pharmaceutical technologists by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Kenya.