On Tuesday, a man who drove a young President Uhuru Kenyatta and his other siblings died at the age of 83, after a short illness, before living his dream of meeting him.
The man, Clement Kiptoo Kurui, famously known as Mzee Arap King, from Kituro in Baringo Central, died while undergoing treatment at Baringo County Referral Hospital in Kabarnet.
The deceased also drove Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta in the early 1960s before taking up the duty of driving Uhuru, Muhoho and Nyokabi (Uhuru's siblings), who were in nursery school at that time. His role was taking them to school and back home.
Upon his death, the family has reached out to the President, pleading for his support to ensure that Clement receives a dignified burial, set for next Wednesday.
For a man who drove the high and mighty, his journey to the top wasn’t as easy as it may sound. After thorough training in Kiganjo in 1955 and graduating as a GSU Officer, Clement joined the Kenya Police Force after serving as a police reservist for a number of years and he would later be assigned to drive Jomo.
“In 1952, at the age of 19, he was chosen to drive the first president because of his exemplary work as a police officer. It did not cross his mind that he would one day drive the children of the highest serving officer in the republic. His dream was to meet Uhuru as President," family spokesman Julius Kurui recalled.
In 2016, in an interview with the Nation in 2016, Clement recalled how Uhuru was so passionate of him, and even asked his father to promote him in the police force.
“Believe you me, two days later I was summoned to State House by Mzee Kenyatta. He asked me if I had been the one driving his children to school. I was promoted to a corporal alongside five of my colleagues who worked at State House," he passionately recalled during that interview.
His star did not stop shining as he went on to work in State House until 1969, driving judges of the East African Court of Appeal before being posted to the Office of the President at Harambee House.
Clement’s road with Uhuru crossed twice after that - during a tour of Kabartonjo in 2017 and when retired President Daniel Arap Moi introduced them to each other before retired.
“I would wish to meet the president but I understand his schedule is busy and there are issues of protocol. I am happy because the little boy I used to drive to school is now my president,” the enthusiastic Clement told the Nation during the interview in 2016.
However, his salary did not match his meticulous work. Clement retired in 1988, earning a sum of Ksh1,700, a time when his pension dropped to Ksh700. Many of his environs remember him as a passionate coffee farmer.
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