President Kenyatta mourns businessman Chris Kirubi

Businessman Chris Kirubi

The late Chris Kirubi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Mr Kenyatta also noted that Kirubi was a successful mentor and coach.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday eulogised Chris Kirubi as a seasoned businessman, entrepreneur and industrialist who founded and successfully ran some of Kenya's largest corporations.

Kirubi died at 1pm on Monday after a long battle with cancer, his family said in a statement. He was 80 years old.

The alumnus of Friends School Kamusinga in Bungoma County is associated with some of Kenya's leading corporates among them Centum Investments, Haco Industries and Capital Group.

Mentor and coach

In his condolence message, President Kenyatta said: "The cruel hand of death has robbed our nation of a patriot whose entrepreneurial spirit, hard work and determination saw him create some of our country's largest enterprises, which offer employment to thousands of our people.”

Mr Kenyatta also noted that Kirubi was a successful mentor and coach.

"Besides his celebrated business acumen, Kenya will remember Chris as a great coach and business mentor, who raised some of our country's best businessmen and corporate leaders.”

He added that the businessman was cheerful, approachable and accessible, and that he loved people and interacted with all Kenyans.

"Chris was one of the most accessible corporate leaders Kenya has ever produced. He interacted with everybody and would show up in places where he was least expected. He interacted with Kenyans, especially the youth, on his radio shows, public appearances and writings, through which he shared his experiences in business and life," President Kenyatta said.

True patriot

Among other leaders who sent condolence messages to the family was Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress.

"My condolences go to the family of Chris Kirubi. He was an illustrious businessman, who spoke candidly on matters of national importance and the economy. A true patriot who told you as it was; without blinking. Over and above that he was witty, humorous and an avid golfer," he said via Twitter.

Raila Odinga, of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), said: "Chris Kirubi was my friend and one to many others, and a mentor to even more. He was a dedicated entrepreneur and philanthropist, who helped scores of Kenyans over time. My heartfelt condolences go to his family, friends and all those whose lives he touched. Rest in peace, Chris."

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said "death has robbed our country of a hardworking and industrious entrepreneur, who impacted positively and touched the lives of many people".

Kibaki's message

Former President Mwai Kibaki said he and Kirubi were close for many years.

Kibaki said the billionaire businessman was jolly and that he leaves behind an "indelible legacy bedecked with, among other elements,  industriousness, determination and public-spiritedness".

Of  the many facets Chris is known for in Kenya and indeed farther afield, his acumen as an industrialist and a businessman clearly stand out. He was an entrepreneur per excellence and had an exceptional eye for opportunities that to some, were merely tenuous or even ethereal,” he said.

He added: “A man of notable charisma, Chris had a clear philosophy from which he derived his sense of purpose and style of engagement. His prodigious success was certainly not a result of happenstance. Chris was as strategic in his endeavours — be they running industries, media, serving the public or farming — as he  was hands-on. As a mentor, he shared a lot of wisdom in his popular 'Ask Kirubi' forum."

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