I am ready for death, says much-married politician and farmer Jackson Kibor - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 2 October 2020

I am ready for death, says much-married politician and farmer Jackson Kibor

 

Eighty-six-year-old Jackson Kiprotich Kibor is many things, always the talk of the town in Eldoret and beyond.

A Kenyan cassanova, now on his fourth wife half his age. He lectures men about love, sex and not falling into bed dead-drunk.

A notoriously tight-fisted tycoon who says if his sons aren't loving and respectful they'll only get two acres of his vast lands and breath-taking wealth.

A cantankerous and litigious former politician and gentleman farmer who fought his sons in court over land, he once pulled a gun on a son and fitted his vehicle with deadly spikes to defend himself.

And he's a man of principle -once daring to ask President Daniel Moi to name and groom a successor. Everyone was horrified.

The Uasin Gishu Kanu leader was arrested, taken to State House and forced to kneel and apologise. He and Mzee later made up.

He's a self-made rags-to-riches man who used to drive a truck ferrying potatoes but says his first jobs were too degrading to mention.

Kibor, still tall, energetic and going strong - he only drinks one beer a week, wakes up 6 am and walks a lot - opened up in an exclusive interview with the Star.

He said he's ready to die after living the best life he could, tumultuous and satisfying. 

STILL GOING STRONG

At 86, he has never been hospitalised, he still walks long distances and his eyesight is sharp

He is popularly referred to as a veteran or prominent farmer-cum-politician but he has made headlines because of his polygamy, divorces and ugly battles with his sons over his land.

On Valentine's Day, February 14 this year, Kibor delivered the keynote address at a men-only conference.

“In matters of love and other issues, I have lifetime experiences which I had to share with the young men," he said.

Kibor was thrust into the limelight in 1992 when he was the powerful Kanu chairman for Uasin Gishu. He plucked up the courage to ask President Moi in public to name and prepare his successor - at the time no one expected Moi to exit voluntarily.

He was manhandled, forced to kneel and apologise to Moi. Kanu was outraged and Kibor was forced from power.

“I was only worried that with multi-party politics Moi’s time was limited to two terms and those who love him warned him to select a successor as good as he," Kibor said.

So who is Jackson Kibor?

Born at Lelmokwo in Nandi county to very poor parents, Kibor was orphaned after  his parents died when he was barely age five.

He dropped out of school in 1957 in Class 5 because he could not pay Sh1.50 per year to continue. He was a herds boy, farmhand and driver. 

“My background was horrible but that is in the past and I have no regrets because that life made me who I am today," Kibor said.

Today Kibor's is worth more than Sh6 billion, mainly from vast farms in Rift Valley covering more than 4,500 acres. He has real estate and prime plots in Eldoret, Kapsabet and Nairobi and luxury cars.

He was the only 'farmer' who imported six Mercedes-Benz S and C class cars, among other top-of-the-range vehicles.

Jackson Kibor with his fourth wife Yunita at their home near Eldoret on September 9.
DECEMBER-MAY: Jackson Kibor with his fourth wife Yunita at their home near Eldoret on September 9.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

On the family front, Kibor married four wives - one has died - and he has 26 children, including 16 boys.

Kibor made headlines with his long, salacious and successful divorces against his second and third wives.

After 52 years of marriage, an Eldoret court granted him a divorce from his second wife Josphine Jepkoech in October 2017. In October 18 he was granted a divorce from Naomi Jeptoo, his third wife.

“I was so happy the courts allowed me to part with the two women because they had become a burden in my life. I am happier and even feeling younger," Kibor said, adding that he will not marry again.

Eight years ago, he married his fourth wife, Yunita Kibor, who is less than half his age. The December-May marraige was criticised by elders and those he called "Kibor-haters" but he ignored them. Today they have four children.

“Yunita has taken good care of me in my sunset years and I don’t regret my decision. She made me feel younger and more energetic," Kibor said.

His first wife Mary died more than 30 years ago. Kibor married Naomi and he wanted her to take care of his vast wealth. But she ganged up against him with Josephine and some of his children, leading to divorces.

“Even though they were my wives, they really disturbed me, abandoning me to struggle alone, even denying me my conjugal rights and ganging up with my children to disinherit me by illegally taking over some of my assets and selling them off," the patriarch said.

He felt so demeaned and frustrated that his own family turned against him, yet he had worked hard to amass wealth so they could enjoy life.

He also cited cruelty in the divorce cases and accused Josphine of pinching him. But as he battled for divorce, Kibor was forced to deny accusations that he eloped with another man's wife, a case reported to police.

“I know how to love women but I respect people’s wives and families," the now happily married farmer said.

He worked as a farmhand and driver for Mzee Chirchir Masit and saved Sh35,000 in 1963 to buy 1,200 acres at Kipkabus in Uasin Gishu and later another Sh200,000 to buy 2,000 acres at Soy farm in 1969. Masic, aged over 100, is still alive.

Kibor bought another 1,200 acres in Trans Nzoia and 357 acres at Mafuta farm near Moiben, among other assets in the region.

“I worked for Masit for a long time. He harvested potatoes that we sold in Uganda for a lot of money. He taught me about hard work. I later bought my own lorry for the same potato business," Kibor said.

From his savings and hard work Kibor bought all his farms and livestock that earned him more money. He entered the real estate business.

He said his family can only benefit from his riches through his own goodwill, not by force. He became so angry with some 'greedy' children that he disowned them, demanding DNA tests to prove if they were his biological offspring.

“I will only give them wealth as I wish," he said.

He sued his sons for illegally taking over more than 700 acres and won the case last year after many years in court.

The sons have appealed the decision but Kibor told the Star at his 2,000-acre Soy farm that he has forgiven all family members for their transgressions.

He admits he's in his sunset years and says he can't be buried with his wealth. He has been subdividing his land and other property to be bequeathed to his children and end court battles with them.

But the size of their share depends on how loving and respectful they are.

“Those who have mistreated and disrespected me will get less while those who recognise me as their father and owner of the property have to get more. Some will get as little as two acres while others will get as many as 200 acres," he said.

He said they have to accept whatever he gives them because the land and assets are his and the beneficiaries have no other options. “They should use whatever I have given them to look for their own wealth," he said.

Kibor said although he has divorced two wives, he had not chased them from their homes and they will benefit from his assets, but through their children.

The octogenarian said he refuses to write a will and will share out his wealth before his death. He's doing so now.

“I had thought of writing a will but after I die no one would respect it and I would be nowhere to supervise. I better finish everything so when God takes me, I will have no case with anyone," Kibor said.

He said he has already shared out wealth to his family and put some in trusts on behalf of his younger children still in school.

His land disputes with his children and a daughter in-law  turned ugly and he once drew a pistol on a son whom he claimed wanted to attack him with a panga in a land quarrel.

“I was so angry and would have shot him if he had attacked me. I just drew the gun to show him that I was ready," the patriarch said.

I once went to Ruto's home in Eldoret where I told him he should humble himself and be wise if he wants to lead. I regret he is the opposite of that
Jackson Kibor

Police disarmed Kibor and he still doesn't have his gun back. After he was disarmed he had a Land Cruiser fitted with long sharp spikes, which he said would be his defence.

In 1981, Kibor was elected chairman of the Wareng county council covering current Uasin Gishu county. During his three-year tenure, he became one of the richest men in the country.

“I was a no-nonsense man at the helm and during my tenure we became the only council with a cash surplus. We were the first council to buy our own road construction machinery," he recalls.

As a leading maize and wheat farmer, Kibor is passionate about the plight of farmers and never misses a farmers' meeting. He blames successive governments for failing to help the farmers who put food on Kenyans' tables.

Having been thrown out of Kanu back in the 90’s, Kibor joined opposition politics. He is a staunch supporter of ODM leader Raila Odinga whom he says has worked hard and should be given a chance to lead, even as a ceremonial president.

“I know Odinga as a very wise person who means very well for this country," Kibor said.

He has met Deputy President William Ruto several times to discuss leadership but says the DP must go slow and be wise if he wants to lead Kenya.

“I once went to Ruto's home in Eldoret where I told him he should humble himself and be wise if he wants to lead. I regret he is the opposite of that," the veteran politician said.

He said though President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto share the blame for the Jubilee regime's messes, Ruto must respect Uhuru and work under him.

In Eldoret town, Kibor is highly respected. He is the only resident who can park his car anywhere, even in the middle of the road, without paying fees. No one will disturb him.

Before that, askaris used to clamp his car for illegal parking but Kibor used hack saws to destroy the clamps and drive off. Finally the Uasin Gishu assembly resolved that senior citizens like Kibor should enjoy free parking.

The darkest point in his life was when he was arrested after being linked to incitement during the 2007-08 post election violence. Kibor denied the charges, saying he is not a tribalist.

Kibor says he has seen it all, done it all.

He said he decided to attend the men's conference last February because of many complaints by women that men fail in their family responsibilities, mainly because of heavy drinking.

“I advised the young men you cannot drink yourself silly to the extent of being carried to bed. You claim to be the man of the house yet you just snore and sleep like the dead until the next day," Kibor said.

Kibor says he drinks one beer a week, eats all kinds of food and stays fit so he can do everything for himself, including driving. Every day he wakes up at 6am to check on his farm and says he likes to work hard on the land.

He has never been hospitalised, he still walks long distances and his eyesight is sharp.

“It’s only God who ensured I am healthy and I greatly thank Him," Kibor said.

He said though he has great wealth, money without good relations with people amounts to poverty.

"Just live well with people, respect and value everyone and don't be prideful or arrogant. Then God will bless you as he has blessed me," Kibor said.

Kibor is a staunch AIC follower and has given land to more than eight churches and a mosque. He bought more than 45 acres to construct Kipkabus Secondary School.

“I have done all that I could and in the best way possible. I guess no one can say I am a bad person and when God takes me away any time I will have no regrets," Kibor said.

As he narrated the captivating tory of his life, Kibor said that despite his wealth, he deserves a monthly stipend of Sh2,000 for the elderly as a sign of appreciation from the government for everything he has done.

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