By Prudence Minayo
When Robert Mugo Mboi joined the General Service Unit (GSU), working for Kenya’s first family never crossed his mind. However, as luck would have it, he secured a job with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and thus his interactions with one of Kenya’s wealthiest families began. Unfortunately, decades later, he narrated to a local online news outlet how his life had turned out miserable. Today he lives a very simple lifestyle unlike his glory days, when he wore expensive suits and drove luxurious vehicles, while ferrying the Kenyattas to school.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
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Mr. Mboi joined the Embakasi GSU college in 1966. After successfully graduating, he was posted in North Eastern where he worked for two years. The officer was called back to the Headquarters in Nairobi for redeployment. There, he was asked if he could speak Kikuyu, which he did. This saw him picked as one of the officers to man the late Jomo Kenyatta’s gate at his Ichaweri home in Gatundu.
Becoming a Driver
Four years later, he was recalled and given another job. He was to be the driver of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his brother and sister, Muhoho and Nyokabi. This was in 1972. His duties included driving and performing other duties where his services were needed.
Driving the children to St.Mary’s nearly everyday made him grow fond of them.
“I used to drive them to and from St Marys’ school Nairobi, to their Ichaweri home every day. During my service, our friendship with them blossomed such that even during my leave days, I would be recalled to duty because the children did not want any other driver because we shared a strong bond,” he told The Star.
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Robert Mugo Mboi grew especially fond of Uhuru who was the eldest and also a social, easygoing and affectionate young man who often broke protocol. Apparently, he would spend time visiting and chatting with officers under his father’s employment.
Among his most memorable memories of Uhuru was when a number of traditional dancers from Thika went to perform for the president in Ichaweri. They were dancing barefoot and Uhuru asked his father to buy them shoes. His father did not listen, prompting him to join the dancers barefoot as well. This made the late president take notice and he authorized Robert to ensure all the dancers got shoes on their way home.
The ex-GSU officer also recalled that the first president was a strict but loving man who enjoyed traditional music. He also knew the names of the officers who worked for him and would call them to perform various duties. If an officer required by the late Jomo Kenyatta was on leave, he would cancel the leave.
“He believed that as long as he was working, everyone else should be on duty,” recalled Mboi.
In 1978, when the founding father passed away, those that were part of the Presidential Service Unit were recalled and dispatched to other units in choice locations. He chose to go back to his Kirinyaga home where he served as a police officer at the Wang’uru police station. He served until his retirement in 1997.
Today, he lives in his home in Ngariama, Gichugu in Kirinyaga county. The 78-year-old makes a living through subsistence farming and also rears goats.
The former driver said he has not met any of the siblings in the recent past except for President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he met during the 2017 presidential campaigns and in 2019 during the devolution conference held in Kirinyaga. They shook hands in 2019 and the president authorized his aides to allow Mboi to visit him at the State House. This has never been organized but he remains positive that the president will honor his word.
According to Citizen Digital, Mboi wishes he would be given land by the president. He says it was among the things Mzee promised him. Robert Mugo Mboi has three grandchildren who are unemployed. His wife was also quoted by Citizen saying they would like a piece of land as they have many problems.