Mzee Jackson Kibor

The late Mzee Jackson Kibor gives his speech during the first men only congress in Eldoret on October 21, 2019. Mr Kibor was key speaker at the meeting. 

| Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

‘Chairman’ Kibor: Unlikely hero for many Kenyan men

What you need to know:

  • Mzee Jackson Kibor had become the unlikely male role model for many Kenyan men.
  • He came to the political limelight as Kanu chairman of Wareng County Council in Uasin Gishu.

By yesterday afternoon, 2.22pm, the top trending re-tweet in Kenya was that of the social media bigwig Amerix, who had tweeted thus about the departed tycoon-farmer-and-politician Jackson Kibor of Uasin Gishu: “We have lost a MAN — a MAN of Valor + Value. A MAN built in his maleness antique — that bestowed us (sic) the masculine decalogue.”

There is a reason Amerix, who has become (in)famous on social media for his perceived ‘anti-feminism,’ had capped the word ‘MAN’ throughout his tweet.

Jackson Kibor, 88, had become the unlikely male role model for many Kenyan men — from those half-to-quarter his age — so much so that he was a common social media meme, dispensing advice through implanted quotes (most on “how to deal with women”).

Kibor was also the honorary chair, patron and guest speaker of the metaphorical “Men’s Conference”, a mythical two-day mass meeting supposedly held to just overlap Valentine’s Day, in which men would speak on masculinity and how not to be over-run by womenfolk.

Kibor may have first come to the political limelight 40 years ago as Kanu chairman of Wareng County Council in Uasin Gishu, but it was the no-nonsense show he put up in an Eldoret court five years ago, as he divorced two of his wives, Josephine Jepkoech and Naomi Jeptoo after decades of marriage, (and then demanded a DNA test on two of Jeptoo’s grown children to determine if they were even biologically his), that shot his fame to social media stratosphere here.

With his first wife Mary having died over 35 years ago, Kibor told the court that his two remaining wives “have really disturbed me, denying me conjugal rights and ganging up with my children to illegally take over some of my assets and sell them off.”

An unapologetic polygamist who once pulled a gun on one of his sons during a land squabble (the old man later said “the boy had threatened me with a panga, attacked me, and I’d have shot him [at close range]”), Kibor then married a woman less than half his age, his fourth wife Yunita, with whom he got four children.

“[Yunita] has really taken care of me in my sunset years,” he beamed in a 2020 interview. 

“After the divorces, I felt a burden was off me, and now she has made me feel youthful and more energetic.”

It was for this bravura performances—shrugging off a troublesome wife, getting a more obedient one, and refusing to be either a cuckold, or getting his stuff sold even when old, that Kibor became a hero for, role model to, and an old gold god for many Kenyan men. 

In a way, Kibor had become the vicarious old model for “true” masculinity.

Silas Gisiora Nyanchwani, the popular writer of the new book “50 Memos to Men”, says Kibor became a “folk hero” because he not only said a big NO to his noisy and noxious wives, but also “served his spoiled kids with a hard dish of reality”.

He says that, for the past two decades, including in Kenya, “men have been caving in to women solipisism”,which he defines as “kujipenda” (selfishness) and in the name of #selfworth (and other similar hashtags), they become outright self-centred in all their decision making, never mind the “greater good (of the family).”

“As women take up every gender inch,” Silas says, “many men start[ed] to disengage, become MGTOW [Men Going Their Own Way] and not too interested in even marriage.”

‘The Boy Child’

Nyanchwani adds that, since most women can’t deal with disengaged men, you now find the culture of casual sex especially among his generation — men aged 35 and below.

"Jackson Kibor was the kind of man who would neither be shamed or ridiculed into submission,” he says, referencing the “African elders” from Uasin Gishu who censored the old man’s divorces, and his subsequent nuptials to the younger Yunita. 

“And that is why he’s a role model to the Boy Child.”

Author J. Aliet, who launches his book “Unplugged: Things Our Fathers Didn’t Tell Us” in April, describes the five things the red-pilled Kibor had that “blue-pilled boys” (men who “are sat on by their women”) don’t.

First, he had an “abundance mindset” when it came to wealth and women, “not like Will Smith who has lots of money but a serious scarcity mentality when it comes to women,”(which is why, presumably, his wife Jada Pinkett can sit “Will the Wimp” in a red corner and tell him about her adulterous “entanglements with August.”)

Secondly, Kibor was an “alpha male,” not like the “physically strong Superman but who is a beta-wimp, which is why Lois Lane eventually leaves him for bad boy Batman.” 
(Marvel comic characters, where art imitates life).

J. Aliet adds that Kibor was a great model to many men in Kenya also because he “always put himself first, was rock-solid stoic and didn’t emote (understanding that with some women, even wives, it’s just your turn)”.

‘Emasculated men’

Over the past 10 years, as movements like #MeToo took off (often with phrases like #alwaysbelieveher that are contrary to due procedure in law, as we’re not in the medieval ages), a lot of M-words have come into public usage and “woke” consciousness, and opened up entire new fronts in the so-called “gender wars,” especially among the younger adult generation. 

Patriarchy, male privilege, misogyny, mansplaining, MRAs, toxic masculinity and a million other similar “anti-man”phraseology, many young men I spoken to said, have made many of them feel  “man-ginalised” — pushed to the margins by “feminazis”.

This may well be a stretch, but it’s the core of the DNA of why so many Kenyan men felt as if a gas light had left the world with the death of the wealthy octogenarian, whom, in typical fashion, said some of his 28 children would get “200 acres, and others only two ha,” depending on the respect and affection they had shown him as a father and patriarch.

“The divorced wives can get [land] from their children, if the children want to give them.”

On the other side of the gender divide, not everyone was mourning Kibor’s death. “He was a bore, the by-product of a bygone era,” sniffed Lucy Wambui Riley, who lives in the US. 

Kellie Museo, on the other hand, pitied the men who admired or sought to emulate Kibor.

“Those are emasculated men!” she says without irony. “Real men define their own identity! They don’t subscribe to some old man’s wins and biases.”