Cantankerous farmer and politician was once Kenya’s best darts player before marital bile with wives and sons ruined his party
By Undercover Reporter
He paid Sh3 school fees with firewood, still dropped in class five, but became a billionaire-money coined playing darts-a popular sport in 1960s Kenya.
The late Jackson Kibor who stole headlines with his salacious divorces and endless domestic kerfuffle with sons over inheritance, succumbed to the vagaries of Long Covid, aggravated by kidney failure. The garrulous, tight fisted billionaire who drank one bottle of beer a week, was 88.
Kibor, who woke up daily at 6am, was survived by his three of four wives and 26 children most of whom had long-running court battles over his wealth comprising thousands of prime agricultural land, property and real estate nestled in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
If a child cannot multiply assets, poverty will come quickly
Kibor’s wealth was built on the back of prize winning playing professional darts-which until the 1990s was sponsored by Kenya Breweries and televised live, would you believe it?
Under ‘Tusker Festival of Darts’, it produced national sportstars like Robert Ngirigacha and before him, Jackson Kibor who once recalled “I never saw my father, and my mother died when I was very small.”
After dropping out of school, Kibor became mtu wa mkono in a tanning factory. But life drastically changed when the self-taught lorry driver was employed by the late Uasin Gishu millionaire Jonathan Kibogy. He earned Sh75 a month in 1958.
In a winner-a-car darts contest pitting players from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Kibor emerged overall winner
Kibor, then 24, was tasked with “transporting maize and potatoes across East Africa,” he recalled. “Life was tough. I learnt the importance of saving my salary which I used to buy my own potatoes at Sh6 a bag in Chepkorio and Metkei areas which I later sold in Kampala for Sh16.”
From the saved profits, Kibor bought a Canter lorry then another before joining the Police Training College in Kiganjo, Nyeri County. There, he sharpened his skills in darts, a sport still common in police canteens besides pool.
In a darts contest held in Eldoret and pitting players from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Kibor was the overall winner of a showroom car.
“My win was captured in the dailies to the surprise of my family and friends,” he recalled. “The car was valued at Sh17, 600.”
Another darts championship saw him trousering home Sh35, 000 which together with a Sh55, 000 loan from the Land Bank, was how he bought 836 acres in Kipkabus-and on to large-scale dairy, maize and wheat farming in between serving as Councilor for Wareng County Council for three years. The Councilor title has since been upgraded to Member of County Assembly (MCA).
I guess no one can say I am a bad person and when God takes me away any time I will have no regrets
By 1965, he had not only married a second wife, but also cleared the loan, borrowed some more and acquired more land: 1, 543 acres in Kabenes at Sh220, 000 in 1969; 1, 160 acres in Kitale which had 500 Friesian cows at Sh1.5 million; the 2000-acre farm in Soy and the 357- acre Mafuta Farm in Moiben at Sh12 million — the only farm not bought from mzungus then leaving Kenya.
Kibor became a Casanova of sorts when bending his 80s, divorcing Josephine Jepkoech, his second wife of over 50 years and marrying a fourth wife, Yunita Kibor, who was half his age in 2002. They went on to have five children. It was for his multiple divorces and speedy remarriage that he was named chair of the Men’s Conference.
Surviving on medical oxygen since contracting Covid-19, Kibor was baptized last year in readiness for any appointment with his Maker said: “I have done all that I could and in the best way possible. I guess no one can say I am a bad person and when God takes me away any time I will have no regrets.”
The late chairman will be buried at his Kabenes Farm on April 1.