By XN IRAKI
On Tuesday, John Michuki will be buried in his Kangema home. His age mate Njenga Karume will follow suite. The two giants will lie under the sod silently till the end time depending on your belief on life and death.
For eight decades, the two punctuated Kenyan political and economic landscape leaving landmarks and many legacies.
What made the two so successful? What are their entrepreneurial and economic legacies?
His prior experience, holding various positions in the government perhaps explains his success in politics. He debunked the myth that the old guards are not effective. Njenga Karume was less educated, never was a technocrat, but a true politician from grassroots to the national level.
Both are tied by the entrepreneurial acumen, accumulating wealth over the years.
There are many explanations for their success. On the personal level, they were forceful and seem to know what they wanted and how to get. They were decisive. For Njenga, he seems to have long recognised the power of pooling, hence his close association with Gikuyu Embu Meru Association.
Both were traditional, with close ties to their communities. This was evident from the single encounter I had with Michuki, issuing instructions to some of his juniors in coded mother tongue.
Attachment to traditions perhaps explains the success of Asians in business and in other ventures including academia. They even ensure their children talk their mother tongue and marry their own. The cultural drifts afflicting most of us could be part our undoing.
But the real source of these menâs success is less personal. They rode through economic and political transitions. Both were born during the colonial era, and had the benefit of living under mzungu.
Both lived through the price control regime where prices of essential commodities were controlled by the government to the free market era when prices were freed.