The chairman of the Eminent Persons of Murang’a group that brings together billionaires from Murang’a County is dead.
Mr Joe Kibe died on Wednesday as he received medical attention at the Aga Khan Hospital.
Announcing the news on behalf of the government, Transport and Infrastructure CS James Macharia said he received the news of Mr Kibe’s death with shock and sadness.
“He was full of wisdom, kind and humble. Kibe was one of the icons of Kenya’s Public Service, having served as Permanent Secretary in the early years after our independence. His dedication to service and patriotism has been unrivalled. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs Kibe and her family,” Mr Macharia said.
In August, Mr Kibe had announced that the council would roll out a programme to identify and honour sons and daughters of Murang’a County who have excelled in their respective areas of service.
Besides being a high end investor in various sectors of the economy, the late also served as the Vice Chair and Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation.
He was also the Chair of the Kenya Horticulture Crops Development Authority that was transformed into the Horticultural Crops Directorate of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA).
The billionaire had a special interest in financial investment and corporate governance which resulted in his appointment as a director in over 10 private sector companies and non-profit foundations and trusts.
Highly reclusive, Mr Kibe kept his private simple and shrewd aiming at maximum results away from the camera.
Mt Kenya MCAs Caucus Chairman Charles Mwangi who also is the Ichagaki MCA in Murang’a said “the county has lost a key pillar that made the area stand solidly.”
He said Mr Kibe was a walking archive in matters investment and governance and his death leaves a void that will be felt not only in the county but in the region.
Former Provincial Commissioner Joseph Kaguthi termed the deceased as “one whose view about welfare of the country was positively unadulterated.”
He said Mzee Kibe stood for what was for the common good and advised the government to increase its manufacturing capacity and venture more into industrialisation to expand livelihoods.
Mr Kibe took over the reins of the Council of Eminent Persons of Murang’a on July 16, 2021 at a meeting held at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi where he replaced Dr Charles Rubia who had died in December 2020.
Former Equity Bank Chairman Dr Peter Kahara Munga who is the council’s coordinator mourned Mzee Kibe as “the fall of yet another pillar of the Murang’a Nation.”
He said that Mr Kibe’s dedication to the development of the region, Mt Kenya and the country at large was infectious.
Other members of the council include Royal Media Services Chairman Dr. Samuel Kamau (SK) Macharia, Bishop Gideon Githiga, Maina Wanjigi, Amb. Solomon Karanja, Muthoni Likimani, Nicholas Ng’ang’a and Prof. Lucy Irungu.
The council that has since declared that it supports Raila Odinga to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta after the next year’s polls has split opinion in Mt Kenya, some supporting and others opposing.
The region is undergoing a very divisive political conversation where residents are split along Mr Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto as well as some politicians from the area who have announced ambitions to vie for the presidency.
The Council has been showing clear signs of grooming CS Macharia for future role in its structure.
When Mr Kibe was elected unanimously to replace Mr Rubia, President Uhuru Kenyatta, through CS Macharia, urged the council to continue with its good work of seeking peace and development both in Murang’a County and the country at large.
The Council of Eminent Persons of Murang’a was formed in 2015 and registered as a company limited by guarantee in 2018.
Its mandate includes building and sustaining broad political consensus, peace, harmony and social cohesion among the people of Murang’a County and the Republic of Kenya.
The Council is also mandated to promote and support development projects that it may initiate and or initiated by other leaders for the good of Murang’a County.
According to the group, membership to the Council is by invitation after its scouts recommend.
The benchmark to joining the exclusive club is that one must be born and bred and or married in Murang’a County, have a distinguished service history to the nation in the public or private sector, be of the pensioner age and with no ambitions for elective political office.
The other condition, according to Dr Munga, is that be a person of integrity and lacks stains that can bring the Council into disrepute.