Evans Mangai Obege is not your typical driver.
He is a chauffeur, whose 30 year old career behind the wheel has seen him carry presidents, army generals, actors, and other influential figures.
This is his journey as told by WoK:
Corridors of government
Obege’s journey began within the corridors of government service.
However, his path took a pivotal turn after the significant handshake between former President Uhuru Kenyatta and then opposition leader Raila Odinga.
From the government, Obege started working with Non Governmental organizations before settling at the iconic Serena hotel, where he chauffeured VIPs.
His clientele spans a spectrum that few could imagine.
He counts former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ghana’s John Kufuor, and a myriad of distinguished figures from African nations among those he has served
He has also been fortunate to chauffeur the late John Ngarang de Mabior – the prominent Sudanese politician, military leader, and the founding father of South Sudan.
Others include Jande Phiza (former under secretary of America), Taribo West (Nigerian footballer), Patience Ozokwor (Nigerian actress who has started in popular Nollywood films including Afro Cinema), Nkosazana Zuma (former chair lady of the African Union), actor Kansiime of Uganda, army generals, and other high ranking officials.
Maurice´s career has even seen him in former president Moi ́s convoy, where his other duty was to carry Moi´s seat in various functions within the central province.
However, his most memorable patron is none other than Congo´s reigning president, Felix Tshisekedi.
“I chauffeured Tshisekedi during his visit to Kenya in 2018. I whisked him from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, to the State house, to Serena Hotel, and back to the airport.
I was his last Kenyan driver before he was sworn in as DRC president in 2019,” recalls Maurice.
However, amid the glamor and prestige, Maurice Obege’s journey hasn’t been devoid of challenges.
His task wasn’t merely about steering a vehicle but understanding the intricate preferences of diverse personalities from various nationalities.
“Sometimes you have to break the law and drive the person at the speed you learnt as a VIP.
You also need to know how to handle dangerous situations. It needs courage and skills,” he said.
For instance, he says that in president Mois convoys, vehicles traveled at breakneck speeds of 180 km ph., which is a no-no for some drivers.
At such speeds, a simple distraction could lead to untold catastrophes.
However, the challenges were not limited to the road; Obege highlights the bittersweet reality of the job.
While some VIPs were generous with tips, these seldom reached the hands of the drivers.
Mercifully, some VIPs were familiar with the corrupt nature of their aides and consequently tipped the driver before alighting from the vehicle.
In the end, as Obege reflects, the life of a VIP chauffeur is a delicate dance between power, responsibility, and the unseen challenges behind the scenes.
It’s a journey that intertwines the roads of diplomacy, humility, and a rare glimpse into the lives of those who shape the world.