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Joe Kibe: The Billionaire Who Chaired The Council Of Murang’a Billionaires

Murang’a county is home to notable billionaires whose influence is felt in almost all sectors of the economy.  In this article, WoK brings you the story of Joe Kibe – the billionaire who served as the Chairman of the Eminent Persons of Murang’a until his death on December 1, 2021.


Joseph Gilbert Kibe, popularly known as Joe Kibe, was a prominent Kenyan businessman and public servant. He was born on 16th May 1935 at Kigoro village, Gatanga constituency in Murang’a County. He attended Catholic Mission Intermediate School before proceeding to Nyeri High School for his secondary education. He joined Makerere University College in Uganda where he graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, English and Political Science. He pursued other short courses in Kenya and abroad while serving as a civil servant.

Career Journey

Being one of the few graduates at the time when Kenya had just gained her independence, he was immediately employed as a District Officer (DO)/ Second Class Magistrate and posted to Kilome Division in Machakos District while aged 27 years old. He was transferred to Voi in the same capacity before landing a job at the Treasury in December 1963.

He rose through the ranks to become a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry & Commerce while aged 33 years old. During Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s regime, Kibe served as Permanent Secretary in six ministries including the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Economic Planning, Water Development, Agriculture & Animal Husbandry, Tourism & Wildlife and Lands & Settlement.

He would later make an abrupt exit from his job and did not seek employment ever again. He however continued to serve as the chair of three government parastatals including Egerton College, Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) and Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).

Wealth and Leading Billionaires

During his tenure in the government, he had quietly invested and accumulated vast wealth including a number of prime assets such as a 360 acres coffee farm callED Hardy Estate (currently Bahati Estate) located off Gatanga road.

After the death of the late Dr. Charles Wanyoike Rubia in December 2019, who was the first chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons of Murang’a, Kibe was unanimously elected to take up the position. The council is made up of billionaires and influential people in the county including Equity Bank founder Dr. Peter Munga, Royal Media Services owner Dr. S.K Macharia, Former Safaricom Chairman Mr. Nicholas Ng’ang’a, Dr. D. Nyamu-Njoka, Bishop Gideon Githiga, Hon. Maina Wanjigi, Mrs Muthoni Likimani, Amb. Solomon Karanja, Prof. Patriciah Kameri-Mbote, Prof Lucy Irungu, Gen. (Rtd) Peter Waweru, Mrs. Jennifer Kimani and Mrs. Jelioth Karuri.

Role Of The Council

The Muranga Council of Eminent Persons was launched in 2015 and registered as a company limited by guarantee in 2018. The council is mandated with promoting development projects in cohesion, social cohesion and peace. They also to give political direction to the county.


Joe Kibe passed away on 1st December 2021 at the Aga Khan Hospital where he was receiving treatment for heart-related conditions. Kibe survived by his wife Monica Gathoni Mbugua and three children – Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe who is the Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Victor Mbugua Kibe who is married to Grace Waithera Mbugua and Margaret Wanjiku Kibe who is an accountant, film producer and Managing Director of Bahati Ridge.

The council of Eminent Persons of Murang’a termed him as a man who brought immense contribution to the economy of Murang’a.

In the Council of Eminent Persons of Murang’a, the late Mr. Kibe will be remembered for his great love for Murang’a County and indeed the republic of Kenya. His commitment to the economic and social development of Murang’a County in particular and the country in general is evidenced by his great contributions both financial and in kind which Joe made to The Council in furtherance of its mandate and objectives and also towards national agenda,” read the council’s statement which was delivered by RMS Chairman Dr. S. K Macharia.