|The late Kipng’eno arap Ngen’y.|
Kericho, Kenya: When the curtains fell on Kipng’eno arap Ngen’y, the longest serving managing director of the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (KPTC) on Tuesday, he had already made a name as a manager, a philanthropist and a shrewd business man.
Born in 1937 in Soliat, Soin division, Kericho County, Ng’eny also served as Water Development Minister in the final term of retired President Moi’s Government.
His son Chris Ngeno said he died at the Aga Khan Hospital where he was receiving treatment for the last two months after he developed medical complications occasioned by a stroke he suffered three years ago.
“It is a sad day for us as our father has passed on. He had developed stroke three years ago which led to health complications which worsened two months ago when he was hospitalised,” Ngeno told The Standard.
The humble and soft spoken Ng’eny, according to those who knew him, was a hardworking person who did not tolerate idle people.
Donald Bett, a former KPTC Human Resource Manager, says the late minister was a focused person who ventured into politics by default and who kept his word.
“He reluctantly ventured into the murky waters of politics at the request of retired President Moi,” said Bett who was his political strategist.
He adds that the former head of state wanted Ng’eny to assist him in managing Kipsigis politics in a professional way, the manner in which he handled the telecommunications sector.
Ng’eny, reportedly fell out of favour with the retired president before the 2002 General Election because Moi supported former Criminal Investigations Department Director Noah arap Too for the Ainamoi parliamentary seat.
The businessman-cum-politician lost the bid to defend his seat during controversial Kanu primaries but still remained a steadfast party and Moi supporter.
Bett, who was before his employment, a Kanu youth wing says the fallen former minister will be remembered for various development projects such as education infrastructure, churches and provision of water.
Among the schools he assisted are Boiywet Secondary School, Ainamoi Secondary School and Soliat Primary and Secondary Schools which he founded.
The late politician helped to establish Soin Sugar Company Limited that serves more than 1,000 farmers in Kericho and Kisumu counties.
During his tenure as Water and Development Minister, he established and expanded a water plant at Kapsoit and tapped El Nino water at Ainamoi which residents still benefit from. He also helped provide Ainamoi residents with electricity.
Ng’eny, who was a widower for more than a decade, after his wife was killed in a road crash in Gilgil on the Nakuru-Nairobi highway, helped many secure jobs at KPTC and the Water Ministry.
“He was a visible man who assisted many people and funded various women groups in Kericho. He influenced the employment of many people in the telecommunication and water sectors,” says Bett, adding that he will miss his mentor.
“He tapped talent and helped many people who are now in influential positions. I know he is comfortable and at peace with his maker in heaven,” says John Bosuben, a prominent meat trader at Kapsoit trading centre on the Kericho-Kisumu road, who is from the same age group with Ng’eny.
Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat, who condoled with the departed former minister’s family and friends, said Ng’eny was an outstanding servant who left an indelible mark everywhere he served.
“He remained in Kanu even when he was out of politics. As a senior engineer at the defunct KPTC, he helped to expand the entity infrastructure and digitalisation that led to the birth of the mobile telephone and internet sectors,” said Salat.
Salat said Ng’eny’s former constituents and the entire Kipsigis people will miss him, adding that he was a man of few words but full of ideas, a virtue that made him to be felt where his services were needed.
One of his low moments in his robust life was when he was charged by an anti-corruption court in Nairobi in 2002 with abuse of office when he was Water and Development Minister.
He was the owner of Soin Arcade in Nairobi, Kapsoit Millers Limited in Kericho and the famous Mid West Hotel which hosted various political delegations when the retired President Moi used to visit the county.
The late minister kept a low profile after he quit politics. He was hardly seen in public functions after 2002.