Retired politician and prominent farmer in Uasin Gishu, Jackson Kibor, is one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country.
Kibor, a former KANU Chairman and friend of retired President Daniel Arap Moi, has his vast wealth pegged on endless tracts of land and property.
He has been making headlines over the past few months over his divorce case and his sons’ court battle over his wealth. Last week, he was granted his divorce from second wife Josephine Jepkoech, his wife of over 50 years.
With more than 3,500 acres of land in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia, Kibor’s astute business acumen serves as an inspiration to many. He came from a humble background and shared his rags to riches story with the Nairobian.
“I used to take poles and firewood to school to pay fees, but when I was in Standard Five, they insisted on money which I did not have. I dropped out. I never saw my father, and my mother died when I was very small.”
Born in Kipkabus, Uasin Gishu County in 1934, his mother had moved with him to Nandi County before her death but he went back to Kipkabus and began doing casual jobs at a tanning facility in the area.
He told the local daily that his financial ascent began when he left the tanning company for a lorry driver’s job for the late millionaire Jonathan Kibogy in Uasin Gishu County, earning Sh75 a month. That was in 1958, five years before Kenya gained independence from British colonialists.
“I used to drive lorries transporting maize and potatoes across East Africa, life was tough and I learnt the important lesson of saving my salary. After some time I accumulated an amount that I used to purchase my own potatoes and sold in Kampala,” recalled Kibor.
“I used to buy a bag of potatoes at Sh6 per bag in Chepkorio and Metkei areas while in Kampala I would sell a bag at Sh16. I saved the profits which I used to buy my own Canter lorry and got another lorry shortly after.”
Along the way to amassing his wealth, Kibor had a stroke of luck when he won an East African darts competition with a Sh35000 cash prize and a free car.
“It was an East African event. My win was captured in the dailies to the surprise of my family and friends. The car was valued at Sh17, 600.”
From then on, Kibor embarked on large-scale maize and wheat farming. His first large piece of land measured 836 acres in Kipkabus.
“I borrowed Sh55, 000 from the Land Bank and added to the Sh35,000 and bought my first land measuring 836 acres in Kipkabus where I grew maize and did a lot of dairy farming. My first wife Mary helped manage the farm and repaid the loan before I married Josephine in 1965, who also stayed on the same farm,” narrated Kibor.
His second foray was in acquiring 1,543 acres in Kabenes area at Sh220, 000 in 1969 before purchasing 1,160 acres in Kitale which had 500 Friesian cows at Sh1.5 million.
Then he struck the mother lode with 357 acres in Moiben at Sh12 million, the only farm not bought from White settlers. He used loans and serviced them from proceeds from his businesses.
Talk about the real Arap Mashamba!