Revealed: Mzee Jackson Kibor’s favorite Bible verse and why he wasn’t baptized early

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Jackson Kibor in his youth. [Courtesy of Jackson Kibor’s family]

Mzee Jackson Kibor would have been baptized sooner, but his “busy” schedule could not allow it.

He would wait until he was 87 (in May 2021) to be baptized, but not before he had sought membership in several churches.

Kibor, who died at the age of 88, was buried at his home in Kabenes, Soy sub-county, Uasin Gishu county on Friday April 1.

He had ordered 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 had attended several confessions during his nearly nine-decade life.

“Mzee Kibor’s Christian life began at AIC Sigot in Nandi County, where he and [his first wife] Maman Marie had to be baptized. Unfortunately, due to her busy professional life, Mama Mary received the baptism on her own. Over the years, Mzee has attended several churches, with different denominations, including Seventh Day Adventists (SDA),” his eulogy said.

Kibor’s journey to wealth began when he grew pyrethrum, wheat and canola on his farm in Kipkabus, Uasin Gishu County.

At the time of his death, his net worth was not disclosed, although several reports suggest he was a multi-millionaire.

A photo of Kibor with one of his four wives.

“Kibor received tremendous support from his wives,” the eulogy read.

Kibor married his first wife, Mary, in 1958, when he was 24. In 1965, seven years after his first marriage, he married his second wife, Joséphine Chemutto.

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

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

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

Apart from agriculture 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 later acquired commercial properties in Eldoret, Nairobi and Mombasa.

“For years he sowed wheat and maize. He also raised 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 ill for much of last year until this year.

Kipsangui DCC, Chelemei SDA Church, Lelmokwo Friends Church, AIC Itigo and UPEC Church are some of the worship centers that have sent representatives to the Kibor treatment service.

According to his eulogy, Kibor’s favorite Bible reading was Matthew chapter 5, verses 29-30. He said, “If your right eye makes you stumble, pluck it out and throw it away.” It is better for you to lose part of your body than to throw your whole body into hell. (30) And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better that you lose a part of your body than your whole body goes to hell.

Kibor also had a stint in politics. The year 1974 marks his first political attempt. He successfully contested the council seat in Kipkabus.

He then moved to Soy constituency, where he successfully ran for Wareng County Council headquarters.

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

In 2007, he declared his support for the presidential candidacy of Raila Odinga.

“After the 2007 general election, Mzee Kibor took a step back from politics and decided to focus on agriculture and its businesses,” his eulogy said.

“Mzee Kibor was very disciplined and took his agricultural and commercial activities very seriously. His strongest friendships have always revolved around business. He was smart, assertive and unapologetic. He was wise, and this earned him honorary positions such as President of the Men’s Conference, which brought him recognition throughout Kenya and beyond,” the eulogy read.

Kibor was diagnosed with Covid-19 in October 2020.

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

“As such, he was constantly on oxygen. On March 6, Mzee complained that he was not feeling well. He was then taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret, where he was admitted. He spent ten days in hospital and succumbed at 11 p.m. on March 16, 2022 surrounded by his family,” the eulogy read.

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

“Whatever language we spoke, whether it was Kiswahili, Nandi or English, he understood what we wanted to say. He would encourage us without withholding his wisdom,” they said in the joint eulogy.

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