The late Mark Too was a storyteller and a funny one at that. You could easily think his nickname, Bwana Dawa (Mr Fix It), in the 1990s was because, on a boring day, he could be tonic for your soul, cracking your ribs and maybe even breaking one.
He would take on anyone and say anything and seemingly get away with it because he made everything seem a joke.
One of his favourite stories was how he supposedly got one of the fiercest Kalenjin critics of Mzee Daniel arap Moi’s presidency, Jackson Kibor, who died last Wednesday, to kneel before the president.
Kibor was the first Kalenjin to dare Moi to name his preferred successor because, he said, retirement was an inevitable act of nature.
Well, he was not exactly the first to do so. Former Cherangany MP Kipruto Kirwa had done the same, albeit differently. He told Moi it would be disastrous to the community if he was to make ‘Total Man’ Nicholas Biwott his choice of community spokesman and political prefect.
Kibor’s hit the headlines because he was not far off from being just another village elder. He also had the guts buoyed by his stature as an arrogant, self-made wealthy landowner.
So going by Mark Too’s story, how did he get Kibor to kneel before Moi, something those in his social circles had said Kibor had vowed he would never do?
Let Mark Too take up the narration of the story from here.
“Mzee (Moi) was unhappy Kibor was insulting him before Kenyans. I proposed a one-on-one talk with him but Mzee was sure Kibor would not accept his invitation. I told Mzee to send me to him and I would deliver Kibor. Once he gave me the nod, I went to see Kibor.
“I pleaded with him that it was only fair, in keeping with our culture and tradition among Kalenjin elders, for him to honour the invitation, even if to just go and speak his mind. He finally accepted and I took him to Mzee.
“But I had a trick waiting for him up my sleeve. Kibor had always seen me as a fool but I knew I would beat him in his own game. At State House, I asked that we be given separate rooms to wait for Mzee, away from the prying eyes in the main reception area and waiting room. I also asked that Mzee should come to meet us here rather than us going into his office.
“In addition, I asked an aide to signal me the moment Mzee stepped out of his office. I then sat in a strategic position where I would see him come towards where we were with the corner of the eye while keeping Kibor busy with praises about his business acumen, political bravado and personal achievements in the seduction front.
“When the signal came, with Mzee striding before us, I went down on my knees while asking Kibor to do the same. Maybe he thought there was a coup or something serious happening and he went down. As this happened, Mzee walked in to find us in a kneeling position. He smiled. I had made Kibor kneel before him! Kibor never forgave me for this and just denigrated me as Sungura Mjanja (trickster).”
I must add here that I never got to verify this with the late Kibor, who probably had his side of the story but the laughter and dripping of saliva that characterised Mark Too’s narration told me he couldn’t have entirely cooked this story. I must also say this probably was one of the biggest political goals he scored against a man who had little regard for him and his master.
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