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Revealed: Mzee Jackson Kibor’s favourite Bible verse, and why he wasn’t baptised early

Jackson Kibor during his younger days. [Courtesy of Jackson Kibor’s family]

Mzee Jackson Kibor would have been baptised earlier, but his “busy” schedule could not allow him to.

He would wait until he was aged 87 (in May 2021) to get baptised, but not before seeking fellowship in several churches.

Kibor, who died aged 88, was buried at his Kabenes home in Soy Sub-County, Uasin Gishu County on Friday, April 1.

He had directed that he be buried next to the grave of his first wife, Mary Chererwe-Kibor, who died in 2010. His wish was granted.

His eulogy said Kibor attended several denominations in his almost-nine-decade life.

“Mzee Kibor’s Christian life started at AIC Sigot in Nandi County, where he and [his first wife] Mama Mary were to be baptised. Unfortunately, due to his busy work life, Mama Mary received the baptism on her own. Through the years, Mzee attended several churches, with different denominations which included the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA),” said his eulogy.

Kibor’s journey to wealth started back in the day, when he’d grow pyrethrum, wheat and canola on his farm in Kipkabus, Uasin Gishu County.

By the time of his death, his net worth wasn’t disclosed, though several reports suggest he was a multi-millionaire.

A picture of Kibor with one of his four wives.

“Kibor received remarkable support from his wives,” said the eulogy.

Kibor married his first wife, Mary, in 1958, when he was 24 years old. In 1965, seven years after his first marriage, he tied the knot with his second wife, Josephine Chemutto.

“In 1975, he married his third wife Naomi Cheptoo Matelong in Kipkabus,” said the eulogy.

In 2002, Kibor married his fourth wife, Eunitah Chelimo Bor.

His eulogy said Kibor had 27 children, 60 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

Besides crop and dairy farming, Kibor had also invested heavily in long-distance transport business. He operated the transport business under his company called Mafuta Transporters.

He’d later acquire commercial buildings in Eldoret, Nairobi and Mombasa.

“For years, he planted wheat and maize. He also reared dairy cattle and other farm animals,” said Mzee Kibor’s eulogy.

Members of at least seven churches and the Muslim community visited him when he was ailing a better part of last year through this year.

Kipsangui DCC, Chelemei SDA Church, Lelmokwo Friends Church, AIC Itigo and UPEC Church are some of the worship centres that sent representatives to Kibor’s treatment ward.

According to his eulogy, Kibor’s favourite Bible read was Mathew Chapter 5, verses 29 to 30. It says: “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (30) And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

Kibor also had a stint in politics. The year 1974 marked his first attempt at politics. He successfully contested for the councilor’s seat in Kipkabus.

He, thereafter, moved to Soy Constituency, where he successfully ran for Wareng County Council seat.

In the lead-up to multi-party democracy push in 1992, and thereafter, Kibor played an important role as President Daniel Moi’s grassroots mobiliser in Rift Valley.

In 2007, he declared support for Raila Odinga’s presidential bid.

“After the 2007 General Election, Mzee Kibor took a backseat from politics, and decided to focus on farming and his businesses,” said his eulogy.

“Mzee Kibor was highly disciplined and took his farming and business endeavours very seriously. His strongest friendships always revolved around business. He was smart, assertive and unapologetic. He was wise, and this earned him honorary positions such as chairman of the men’s conference, earning him recognition all over Kenya and beyond,” said the eulogy.

Kibor was diagnosed with Covid-19 in October 2020.

Doctors told him the disease had affected his lungs “beyond repair”.

“As such, he was on constant use of oxygen. On March 6, Mzee complained that he wasn’t feeling well. He was consequently taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret, where he was admitted. He spent ten days in hospital and succumbed at 11pm on March 16, 2022 surrounded by his family,” said the eulogy.

Kibor’s 60 grandchildren, in a joint eulogy, described their late grandfather as “loving and charming”.

“Whichever language we spoke, whether Kiswahili, Nandi or English, he understood what we meant. He would encourage us without holding back on his wisdom,” they said in the joint eulogy.