‘I is the Mayor… I am not Mr Clean myself,’ said the fitness addict who took dumbbells to hospital
By Undercover Reporter
Among the many Mayors of Nairobi included a gun runner, a gambling mogul, a boxer, a runaway financier, the President’s daughter.
Then there was a semi-literate comedian with investments in hospitality: John Mwangi King’ori- who died last Friday – instead of October 28, 1995.
King’ori became Mayor through the boot and was kicked out through the boot-over a public toilet!
King’ori succumbed to brain tumor at 75 last week, but on that day 25 years ago, Mayor King’ori was to die at the hands of a lone gunman in Umoja estate around 10.30am. But death was still shining its black shoes in neighbouring Buruburu estate.
King’ori, who believed being the City Father was a calling from God, was standing outside his house when a gun wielding 20-something year old fired at close range. He ducked. The bullet missed the man with an elastic face and who spoke like a hot potato was stuck up his upper palate. The public chased the hit man who fired at his pursuers injuring two men. His two bodyguards had no firearms.
Fighting criminal cartels at City Hall was actually what led to King’ori’s attempted murder
The Mayor of Nairobi lived in a sprawling estate where City Council houses were nestled together like browning molars. But then King’ori, who had left rural Murang’a to seek fortunes in the city, had no heartburn holing up in Umoja and not the Mayor’s official residence which had changed ownership in Lavington.
Fighting criminal cartels at City Hall was actually what led to King’ori’s attempted murder. King’ori held a black belt in karate. He needed it in view of the many physical fights during council meetings.
King’ori bandied fellow councilors in what he called ‘Club 45’. They ensued no water was supplied, garbage collected
This time though, he resumed karate training at the gym inside his Accra Hotel to wrestle down any more enemies out to shoot him. He was so addicted with fitness, he even took dumbbells with him to hospital.
Kingo’ri took over Nairobi from Mayor Steve ‘Magic’ Mwangi, the hardnosed way: He bandied fellow councilors, in what he called ‘Club 45’. They ensued no water was supplied, garbage collected, no money was signed. Nairobi became one heap of stink. Magic Mwangi, the onetime gun runner who lived in a storeyed wooden brown house near the Nairobi Arboretum, resigned.
‘I have no hidden agenda for Nairobi,’ he said to the question ‘what is your agenda as Mayor?’
Nairobi city was to later remember Mayor King’ori more for his hilarious asides including the laughable “I is the Mayor, the rest are mere Kanjuras.” “I have no hidden agenda for Nairobi” he said to the question “what is your agenda as Mayor. Then there was the one that got Kenyans laughing to the floor. Nairobi was then full of hawkers and King’ori warned that the “only vegetation allowed in Nairobi will be vegetables!”
Attempts to solve Nairobi’s myriad problems was a tall order in his two year tenure to 1996: King’ori had tried dismantling cartels under ‘Club 45’. They did to him what he had done to Magic Mwangi: City Council was suddenly without money to fuel garbage trucks, supply water, treat sewerage or repair roads.
‘Nairobi has been dismantled,’ Mayor King’ori told Donatella Lorch of the New York Times
Nairobi suffered half day long blackouts and phone calls meant using call booths when they worked. “Nairobi has been dismantled,” Mayor King’ori told Donatella Lorch of the New York Times, to mean nothing was working. “I complain like other citizens. The charges are there, but services are not.”
The father of four and grandpa of two will be buried at his Kamiti home this weekend.