By Prudence Minayo
A wise man said formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. Jackson Kibor is one of the wealthiest people in Kenya known for making headlines. The polygamous and former KANU chairman is either on the news divorcing a wife or threatening to have a DNA test carried out to establish if his children and indeed his. His life is a real grass to grace story. It was not formal education that earned him his money but rather learning from the school of life. Through hardwork and determination, he managed to change his life from an impoverished young man with no parents to a rich successful businessman. The story of this man inspires many to work hard but is also a good example of how wealth can attract a lot of conflict around you.
The wealthy landowner was born in 1934 in Kipkabus, Uasin Gishu county. Before her death, his mother relocated them to Nandi county but Jackson went back to Kipkabus later on. He never saw his father.
In his early days, Mr. Kibor went to school up to class five. He used to take poles and firewood to school as his fees but upon reaching class 5 the school wanted money instead. He had to drop out as he did not have the money.
The wealth he enjoys today is as a product of a lot of work and here is his journey:
While at Kipkabus, he worked for a tanning company but left to become a lorry driver for the late Jonathan Kibogy, a move that greatly worked in his favor. That was in 1958 and he used to earn 75/= per month. In an interview with Nairobian, he reveals how through this job he was able to become successful:
“ 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 recalls, adding “ I used to buy a bag of potatoes at sh6 per bag in Chepkorio and Metkei area using sh3 per bag for brokers and transport, 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.”
While at the police training college, he honed his skills in darts. A competition was held in Eldoret involving people from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. He won the competition and got sh35,000 prize money and a car valued at sh17,600.
He still goes on to explain to the Nairobian what he did with the money.
“ 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,” expounded Mr. Kibor.
This was how his journey as a rich man began and he continued making one land acquisition after the other. The second piece of land he bought was 1,543 acres in Kabenes area, followed by 1,160 acres in Kitale which had 500 Fresian cows at 1.5 million Kenyan Shillings.
Little by little, he became a rich landowner. He also bought 357 acres at Moiben for 12 million Kenyan shillings. The land investments provided him with a lot of wealth which accorded him a comfortable lifestyle.
The wealthy land owner also bought property in other counties, including Mombasa and Nairobi. He also drives luxurious cars and was able to afford to take his many children to some of the best and expensive schools in the country.
The millionaire has always enjoyed his polygamous lifestyle. Throughout his life, he has had four wives in the following order from first to last
- Mary who died in 2010
- Josephine Jepkoech
- Naomi Jeptoo
The family has been deep into controversy for a long time. Jackson Kibor divorced his second and third wife within 14 months of each other. He divorced Josephine after having been married to her for over 50 years and believes that his fourth wife is equal to the task of taking care of him on her own.
Some time ago, he was taken for questioning for allegedly shooting his son during a dispute and his gun was taken away. He accused his sons and ex-wife for plotting to harm him and take away his land.
Recently, he won a case against his sons who had taken him to court demanding his land. The court declared that the land belongs to him and he is under no obligation to just hand it over to the son. The former politician was happy about the win and said his sons should work hard and not fight for what he has achieved. He further accused them of selling his Nyali, Mombasa property and Karen, Nairobi property without his consent and said he needs to do a DNA test to ascertain whether those are really his biological children.
In an interview published by the standard, he revealed the following about his children:
“ My first wife Mary had nine children on our farm in Kitale, but two died. The second one had eight, although I don’t think one was mine. Naomi had six but one died and now Yunita has four children,” he said.
This means he had a total of 25 children but only 21 are alive.
After winning the case against his sons, he asked the government to return his gun. This is because he fears for his safety and needs a means of protecting himself.
Kibor claimed Loise was not his biological mother and that he married his second wife Josephine Jepkoech while she was pregnant with her. The renowned businessman said he did not “recognise her as my daughter and I will not give her anything as inheritance.”
Loise has maintained that Kibor is her father and she’s ready to undergo a DNA test:
“I resemble my dad and he who took care of my education from primary, secondary all the way to university level. It’s shocking that he now disowns me after all the time we have been together,” she said.
“I am ready that we go for DNA tests anywhere and publicly to prove that Kibor is my biological father,” Loise said in 2017.