Mzee Moi's Minister Who Worked as Cook

  • Every successful person has their own breakthrough story, and often, some can be quite awe-inspiring when compared with the present stature of the characters. 

    Such is true in the case of a former government minister and the late billionaire Godfrey Gitahi Kariuki, popularly known as GG Kariuki.

    He was known for his roles as a powerful minister during both former President Daniel Arap Moi's government and that of Jomo Kenyatta. Before his ascend to become a close confidant of President Moi, the former Laikipia Senator had to brave tough beginnings under the colonial administration.

    In an interview with The Standard in 2017, Kariuki disclosed that before developing an interest in the political field, he once worked as a cook to make ends meet.

    Former Minister GG Kariuki addressing a congregation in Nakuru on June 30, 2012.

    Kariuki revealed that before joining politics, a field he likened to religion, in 1963 aged 29, he was employed as a cook for a white settler shortly before the country gained independence.

    “Politics, like religious ministry, is a calling. One must have a passion for people’s problems and get involved in solving them.

    "Many people have commercialised politics and manipulate the ignorance of their electorate to their own advantage. If a politician is genuinely concerned about his people’s problems regardless of elections, then she or he is likely to last long,” stated Kariuki.

    Even then, that moment was not his lowest. He was a part of a group that made a long journey to Lodwar to visit Jomo in detention, only to later fall out with the founding president.

    When they arrived at the center, they found a very different version of their leader and, as he recalled, Jomo's clothes were nearly-tattered and he was unkempt.

    "We wept because of the way mzungu (white man) had badly mistreated our leader," he continued.

    In the 60s and 70s, however, he became one of the well-known straight-talking politicians that he confronted Jomo and told him that he was one of the leaders that had let Kenya down.

    In the exchange, Jomo, in his characteristic style, responded that GG was a tiny tick on an elephant's skin who he could crush with his fingers until he is forgotten.

    Kariuki, whose family is believed to own almost half of Ngumo estate in Nairobi.worked as a minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration which was the most powerful post in Moi's cabinet.

    Former President Daniel Moi (third left) addresses a team that included GG Kariuki (second right).