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Andrew Kiptoon: Moi-era minister who streamlined Roads ministry dies at 75

NATIONAL
By Julius Chepkwony | October 8th 2021
Former President Daniel arap Moi with former Baringo North Mp Andrew Kiptoon. [File, Standard]

A former Cabinet minister who streamlined the Roads ministry during the reign of former President Daniel arap Moi is dead.

Andrew Kiptoon died on Saturday evening at a Nakuru hospital. 

Gilbert Kiptoon said his father suffered a stroke in 2016 and in 2018 and died while undergoing treatment at War Memorial Hospital.

Kiptoon served as the Minister for Roads and Public Works from 1998 to 2000. He was the Baringo North MP from 1997 to 2002.

As minister for Roads, he initiated policies that created Kenya Urban Roads Authority, Kenya National Highway Authority and Kenya Rural Roads Authority.

His signature legislative idea was that five per cent of all revenues collected by the government through the fuel levy be shared equally among all constituencies for the maintenance of their roads.

The legislation changed road maintenance in Kenya which had been the preserve of the central government at the time.

According to Moi Cabinets, a publication by the Kenya Year Book Editorial Board, Kiptoon was an outspoken, honest and dedicated man.

The publication describes him as a man who spoke his mind and streamlined the Roads ministry.

Former Baringo North Mp Andrew Kiptoon. [File, Standard]

Born on October 6, 1946, in Kapchepkoiywo in Kabartonjo, Baringo, Kiptoon started schooling in 1955 at The African Inland Church Mission School.

He sat the Kenya African Preliminary Examination in 1961 and proceeded to Alliance High School. In 1968, he joined the University of Nairobi and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in structural engineering.

After graduating, Kiptoon worked for four years as a consultant with Cowi Consult, a Danish engineering company that sent him to Denmark for a course in engineering.

He returned from Denmark in 1976 and set up a company known as Chauhan Kiptoon Consulting Engineers.

Along with other engineers, he was requested by the government to build and expand Kenya’s water infrastructure.

Before he was sacked from his Cabinet position, Kiptoon was pushing for the implementation of the Roads Board Bill.

The Bill was supposed to transfer management of the fuel levy to districts under the supervision of elected leaders.

This sparked a falling out with powerful people who wanted their private companies to win tenders for road repairs and construction.

He was also determined to streamline the roads sector by blacklisting contractors who did shoddy work.

The axe fell on him after persistent lobbying and prodding by influential contractors who were in business with powerful government officials. 

His landmark buildings include the Teleposta Building, Post Bank Towers, Ukulima Co-operative Plaza and the Narok Post Office which had the design of a Maasai Manyatta.

He is credited with liberalising the Kenyan dairy sector when he was the chair of the dairy board which licensed private entries such as Delamare Dairies, Githunguri Dairies, Kwale Dairies, Molo Dairies and Brookside Dairies.

He will be remembered for implementing reforms that enabled notches to be put on all milk packets to enable the blind to know which side of the packet was to be opened and this is still in effect today.

As minister for Trade, he created standards that gave all products manufactured in Kenya to have the suffix 616 on their barcodes, which is the number assigned to products manufactured in Kenya.

He was a director at Kenya Airways (1980 to 1983), Director Kenya Wine Agencies Ltd (1990 to 1994) and the chair of Kenya Dairy Board from 1993 to 1996.

He served as an assistant minister for Education for three months and was subsequently appointed Minister for Science, Information and Technology. From 2002 to 2007, he served as Kenya’s permanent representative to UNEP and was also the chair of Egerton University Council from 2002 to 2004.

He will be buried on Monday at his home in Kaptere, Baringo County.

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