From Class 5 dropout to Billionaire - How Mzee Kibor built his empire

Life and Times of Mzee Jackson Kibor and how he earned his wealth

From Class 5 dropout to Billionaire - How Mzee Kibor built his empire

The late Mzee Jackson Kibor who was widely nicknamed the Men's Conference chairman was a man of means and according to media reports, was worth an estimated Sh6 billion.

In a past interview, Mzee Kibor said explained how he went from a Class Five dropout to an astute businessman.

He was born in Kipkabus, Uasin Gishu County in 1934 but moved to Nandi with his mother before she died.

Kibor moved back to Kipkabus and started looking for casual jobs at a tanning factory in the area.

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,” he said.

After working at the tanning factory, Kibor took up a job as a truck driver in 1958 for the late Jonathan Kibogy who was one of the millionaires in the area at the time. For his skills, the deceased took home Sh75 a month.

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 accumulated an amount I used to purchase my own potatoes that I sold in Kampala,” he said.

Kibor would buy potatoes at Sh6 per bag and sold the same in Kampala at Sh16.

I saved the profits which I used to buy my own Canter lorry and got another lorry shortly after,” he said.

Kibor was also a very good darts player and won several competitions including a regional tournament that made him Sh35,000 richer and the owner of a brand new car.

He then ventured into farming which changed his fortunes for the better, making him one of the wealthiest landowners in Uasin Gishu.

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,” he explained.

Kibor then acquired another tract of land measuring 1,543 acres in Kabenes area in 1969. At the time, the land was worth Sh220,000.

The farmer would also buy another 1,160 acres of land in Kitale in which he reared 500 Fresian cows. This investment is said to have cost him Sh1.5 million.

He also took advantage of white settlers who were fleeing Kenya after independence to acquire 357 acres of prime land in Moiben area at Sh12 million.

With the increase in value of land prices in from the 1960s to 2022, his 4,500 acres spread across Rift Valley would fetch a very good figure in the property market.

Kibor was elected head of the Wareng county council, which included present Uasin Gishu county, in 1981. During his three-year reign, he rose to become one of the country's wealthiest men.

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