FORD-Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula has revealed how he used his influence during his time as Minister for Foreign Affairs to help late billionaire Chris Kirubi make inroads in neighbouring Ethiopia.
While giving his tribute to the business magnate, who died on June 14, he said he first met Kirubi in 1985.
"I was having lunch in a restaurant and he was sitting next to me. We started a conversation where I learnt we both went to Friends Kamusinga School," he explained.
After the meeting, Wetangula says, they became close friends.
"But after listening to many tributes, I've realised that I didn't know so much about the length and breadth, successes and impact of Chris...he left this country better than he found it."
The FORD-Kenya party leader told mourners gathered Friday at the Faith Evangelistic Ministry Church, Karen of the time he came through for his friend while he was experiencing difficulties with the authorities in Ethiopia.
"Chris called me once and said 'my friend, I have invested in Ethiopia and I am having some difficulties that I need sorted out'," he said.
The former minister says he was surprised to find Kirubi waiting for him in his office when he arrived at 6.30am the next day.
"That is how studious he was at getting what he wanted."
Wetangula says he placed a call to then Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and explained the issues the businessman was facing.
"Meles told me if it was somebody I know well who is having difficulties with his government, then I should come with him."
The next day, Wetangula and Kirubi made their way to Ethiopia where they had dinner with PM Zenawi.
"I believe the issues that Haco industries was encountering in Addis were resolved. That is how practical Chris was," he added.
Close to Kufuor
He also noted that the businessman had many close friends outside the country, and pointed out his relationship former Ghanaian President John Kufuor.
"Every time I speak to President Kufuor on phone he asks me about Chris. He's told me how Chris used to visit him," he added, noting that whenever the former Head of State was in Kenya he was always in the company of Kirubi.
"I used to join them at Intercon (Hotel Intercontinental) for a cup of tea, dinner...and you could see the chemistry between the two. He (Kufuor) noted that Chris had an eye for entrepreneurship."
The memorial service in Karen was also graced by other leaders including ODM leader Raila Odinga, former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed read President Uhuru Kenyatta's eulogy while Rachel Ruto represented her husband, Deputy President William Ruto.
Kirubi will be buried on Saturday at his Bendor Estate in Murang'a County. The funeral will be attended by family, friends and invited guests.