Friday 13th May brought with it a dark cloud. Gloom swept across the globe as news emerged of the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.The news were confirmed by state news agency WAM.
“ Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE and the Islamic world…on the passing of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan on Friday , May 13 .” WAM said .
Ten Facts To Note
1. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed was 7 th September 1948 and died 13 May 2022 aged 73 years.
2. He succeeded his father as the 16th emir of Abu Dhabi on 2nd November 2004 and the presidency of the United Arab Emirates the following day. Khalifa was the second UAE President.
3. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed was among the richest monarchs in the world with an estimated 97.8 billion barrels of oil reserves under his control. He left behind a £120 billion fortune.
4. On January 2010 ,the world’s tallest man-made structure, originally known as Burj Dubai, was renamed the Burj Khalifa in his honour , after Abu Dhabi gave Dubai $10 billion to help pay off debts.
5. In January 2014 , Khalifa suffered a severe stroke. Though he was in a stable condition, the monarch was kept out of public life.
6. After the Monarch’s death, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced 40 days of mourning with flags at half-mast. In addition, work was suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days , starting Saturday 14th May.
7. Sheikh khalifa bin Zayed’s half-brother , Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan (popularly known as MBZ ) is now in charge of state affairs.
8. Vice President of UAE , Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum ,ruler of Dubai will act as interim president as the seven Emirates prepare to meet within 30 days to elect new president.
9. Although the UAE’s ruling Sheikhs hold near absolute power, Sheikh Khalifa began an experiment with elections by allowing limited voting .
10. He is known to have had eight children : two sons and six daughters with his first wife , Sheikha Shamsa bint Suhail Al Marzrouei.
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