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Stingy Men Association: Why President Kibaki never gave money, threw drinks…carry a wallet!

Why do women and the society dislike the loaded who are mean, yet it’s their money?

Not a penny more, not a penny less: The late President Mwai Kibaki during his 88th birthday at his Muthaiga home in Nairobi. He was known for his eccentric stinginess. Being mean has several causes. Psychologists blame anal retention during childhood as one of the biggest factors followed by economic upheavals and attendant hardships growing up.

By GW Ngari


Some Kenyan men could do very well as faces of the online Stingy Men Association of Kenya. Like the late President Mwai Kibaki who died aged 90. He was a well-documented tightwads whose stinginess bordered on the eccentric. Take the day he attended the funeral service of nationalist politician Jeremiah Nyagah in 2008. When time came for sadaka, Kibaki looked the other way when the offertory basket was being passed around.

  Journalist Kamau Ngotho, who was in attendance, recalled that “the then Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura quickly gave some money to the President’s aide-de-camp Lt-Col Josiah Mrashui, who put it in the basket as Kibaki watched with indifference.”

Time came for sadaka during the funeral service and Kibaki looked the other way when offertory basket reached him

Indecent proposal: The Stingy Men Association is an online association which began in Zambia and moved to Nigeria, Uganda and now Kenya-where it was spurred by the culture of chicks who made it their side hustle to “kula fare” after hooking up with potential dates on social media.

What’s wrong with being mean when it’s your money? Why do women and the society at large look unkindly at the loaded who are not generous, yet it’s their money?

Well, in Kibaki’s case, it went to ridiculous levels. Retired cop Essau Kioni, former security consultant in Kibaki’s State House once said he never saw Kibaki dish out money to anyone in all the years he knew him. He doubted he ever carried a wallet.

When he became President in 2003, the first thing Kibaki did was ban harambees besides discouraging political go-betweens from trooping to State House for financial handouts as was the case with his predecessor, the generous Daniel arap Moi.

He doubted President Kibaki ever carried a wallet in his life

A grain of wheat: Martha Njeri (left), the lat President Kibaki’s elder sister shocked Kenyans with her peasant like lifestyle. Wealth is a personal good. It brings with it, better nutrition, health, convenience, creature comforts, greater freedom. You also have more friends, respect from peers.
But why are some rich people, on average, mean and the poor more generous? Well, sociologists argue that the wealthy rely on savings during tough times but the poor-who nurse a dependency syndrome-invest in relationships, socialize more and are emotionally connected to others, than the rich. Sociological “giving gap” are such that those with fewer resources are often more generous.

Men who are mean are sometimes generous when cutting drinks with the boys, but few of Kibaki’s buddies recall him throwing a round.

Former Nyandarua deputy governor, Waithaka Mwangi, recalls how Kibaki  often “only ordered for his drinks forgetting the persons sitting next to him.”

Former Nyahururu deputy mayor John Muritu also recalled drinking with  Kibaki at Thomson Falls Lodge owned by the late Senator GG Kariuki’s family. “He only ordered for his drinks and rarely threw parties for his friends or his political supporters although he had a lot of money. We ended up paying for his drinks.”

Few of Kibaki’s buddies recall him ever throwing a round while cutting drinks

Weep not, child: Kibaki’s son, Jimmy presents his wife Cheryl after their wedding. Jimmy once recalled asking his dad for quid for an insurance venture but his Old Guy retorted that Kenya had enough banks dishing out loans. Could he try applying for one?
Indeed, long after retiring, few politicians paid President Kibaki courtesy calls at his Muthaiga home. Though Kibaki was the better president compared to Daniel arap Moi, many politicians preferred travelling all the way to Kabarak in Nakuru County to visit Moi-who ruined the country. One of the biggest, unspoken reasons was that beside Moi’s extensive political contacts, his visitors never left empty handed.

Charles Mbindyo, former Finance PS was once Kibaki’s student when he taught economics at Makerere University, Uganda. He recalls the future president telling his students  to “never give cash to anybody for no work done because that is to spread poverty and encourage a beggar mentality. “

 Instead, Kibaki encouraged his students to “enable people to earn money for themselves, which creates wealth.”

His caddy at Muthaiga, Joshua Kimemia,  recalled that “he used to tip me Sh1000 instead of the normal Sh200

The River Between: Economist Dr David Ndii recalls that Ngengi Muigai (above), former MP for Gatundu and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin once “gave Kibaki an office in Bruce House Nairobi after he quit government. He used it until DP (Democratic Party) was established and provided a chairman’s office. Kibaki never paid a bill, telephone, stationery, tea—nothing, neither did he inform his host of his departure, or say thank you.”

Stinginess can have nasty showdowns, though. Former Nyeri Town MP and ‘PhD drop out’, Wanyiri Kihoro and his wife Wanjiru Kihoro crowd funded Sh16 million for Kibaki’s presidential campaign in 2002. Weeks after Kibaki won, a plane Wanjiru had boarded from the Busia airstrip crashed condemning her to a coma for four years. Kibaki was said never to have visited Wanjiru. When she died, Wanyiri Kihoro asked Kibaki to give her funeral a miss!

But mean Kibaki sometimes shocked those who had lost hope in him. Former councilor Nelson Rintari of Majengo ward, Embu County recalled Kibaki shocking patrons at the Muthaiga Golf Club when he forked out Sh25,000 for their drinks and snacks in 2013.

Few can remember Raila Odinga attending any funeral,  medical, educational and church harambees

Land without thunder: For all his political populism, few can remember Raila Odinga attending any funeral,  medical, educational and church harambees. He is also hardly involved in community projects. Of the Sh1.7 billion donated for his 2007 Presidential elections, Raila gave nothing. Baba was also once chased from Forest Lodge hotel in Karatina by Lucy Weru, mother in-law of lawyer Donald Kipkorir, arguing she would be left chasing pending bills. 

Kibaki caddy at Muthaiga, Joshua Kimemia,  also recalled that “he used to tip me Sh1000 instead of the normal Sh200 from other golfers” and Kibaki’s personal assistant and biographer, Ngari Gituku once explained that “Kibaki was generous just that he hates it when it’s made public. He sponsors many students but behind the scenes.”

Why would one need more than one pair of shoes when they have only one pair of legs?

Wizard of the crow: Former Coast Provincial Commissioner the late Eliud Mahihu recalled that Mbiyu Koinange (above), Minister of State in the Office of the President, wore one pair of shoes until it was worn out to the last stitch: “I have never understood why one would need more than one pair of shoes when they have only one pair of legs,” argued the man whose family fought for his Sh30 billion estate for over 30 years.

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