Leaders pay glowing tribute to magnate
Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday led other Kenyans in mourning the death of industrialist and business magnate Christopher John Kirubi who died yesterday after a long battle with cancer.
Uhuru described Kirubi as a seasoned businessman, entrepreneur and industrialist who founded and successfully ran some of Kenya’s largest corporations.
Former President Mwai Kibaki, Deputy President William Ruto, Opposition leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, lawyers and the business fraternity also mourned the businessman who died at home at the age of 80.
Kirubi is associated with some of Kenya’s leading corporates among them Centum Investments, Haco Industries and Capital Group.
“I have received the shocking news of the passing away of my friend Chris Kirubi with a lot of sadness.
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,” the President said in a statement.
Besides running a successful business empire, Uhuru said, Kirubi was mentor and coach who helped raise a generation of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.
In his message, Kibaki described Kirubi as a man of notable charisma and a clear philosophy from which he derived his sense of purpose and style of engagement.
His success, he said, was not a result of happenstance as he was strategic in his endeavours—be they running industries, media, serving the public or farming—as he was hands-on.
“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.
Ruto described Kirubi as an irrepressible boardroom operative, media personality, developer and investor whose interests traversed multiple sectors and enterprises.
“I join Kenyans in mourning the passing of one of the country’s most visible business personalities.
His presence and voice will be missed by many and his colossal legacy, just like his towering personality, will continue to inspire emulation and elicit debate among people of all walks of life,” he said.
Raila said Kirubi was a dedicated entrepreneur and philanthropist who helped many Kenyans.
“Chris Kirubi was a friend and one to many others and a mentor to even more….My heartfelt condolences go to his family , friends and all those whose lives he touched,” said Raila.
Mudavadi described Kirubi as an illustrious businessman who spoke candidly on matters of national importance and the economy.
Sands of time
“A true patriot who told you as it is; without blinking. Over and above that he was witty, humorous and an avid golfer.
It may be of interest for people to know that he was an alumni of the prestigious Friends School Kamusinga. May his Soul Rest In Peace,” Mudavadi said.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said death had robbed the country of a hardworking and industrious entrepreneur who impacted positively on the lives of many people.
Centum Investment Company PLC, where Kirubi was a shareholder and long-serving director and chairman of the company’s Board Finance and Investment Committee, said he was affectionately known to all employees simply as “Chairman”.
Lawyer Donald Kipkorir said Kirubi was his personal friend who stood with him during all seasons.
“To my friend Dr. Chris Kirubi: Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time (Henry W Longfellow) Thank you for your friendship & confidences,” Kipkorir tweeted.