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The mysterious lifestyle of Total Man, Nicholas Biwott

Former Kanu strongman Nicholas Biwott breathed his last on Tuesday after a long illness in Nairobi. Media houses scrambled to confirm the passing of Mr Biwott, at first with little success.

It seems, the man is as mysterious in death as he was in life. The ‘Total Man’ as he preferred to call himself, led a life shrouded in secrecy. Indeed, not even his former boss retired Daniel arap Moi knew where he lived.

Here are a few shocking facts about Mr Biwott:

1. He would never pick his food or drink
Those in the know say Mr Bwott would wait for a random civilian to get his plate of food or drink, which he would promptly grab to beat anyone who may have wanted to harm him.

2. He would change cars on one journey
The former powerful cabinet minister in the Moi regime would never use one car for the entire journey. Sources say that the man was so paranoid that he would designate various cars to cover a journey.

3. He never used fancy vehicles
It was commonplace to find Mr Biwott in a junk of a vehicle. When he was not being chauffeured in a classic car, he was in your average vehicle like a Probox.

4. He never owned a cellphone
Mr Biwott, those in the know say, would often borrow mobile phones to make calls. He would then compensate the owner of the phone handsomely.

5. Soft spoken but fearsome
Despite his fearsome reputation, Mr Biwott was actually soft spoken and hardly betrayed anger in public.

6. Few knew where he lived
He owned several homes around the country few of his closest friends knew where he actually slept. Biwott never hosted political delegations in his home, preferring to hold them in public places such as schools or public clubs.

While hosting a Kanu delegation in his Maji Mazuri farm in Uasin Gishu county in 2004, Moi asked in a light note “nani hapa anajua kwenye Biwott anaishi?” (Who among you knows where Biwott lives).

7. He was husband to former Cabinet minister Prof Margaret Kamar
Biwott has a daughter with former Cabinet minister Prof Margaret Kamar who is vying to be Uasin Gishu senator on a Jubilee party ticket. But it is not known whether they formalized their union.

He had three daughters with his first wife, Joanna an Australian of Jewish descent.

8. He only flew British Airways
Biwott only flew British Airways during his trips abroad because he believed that the carrier’s services were superior. The few occasions he flew Kenya Airways was when he accompanied President Moi on foreign trips, before the government acquired a presidential jet.

9. Visitors’ book
Visitors in his home in Kitany, Kaptrakwa, would be required to sign a visitor’s book stating the purpose of their visit. They are required to write their ID and phone number as well.

10. Source of the nickname, Total Man

It was during a speech in parliament when he said it was important for a politician “to be a man, a total man”. It stuck from then on as he regularly referred to himself as such in subsequent parliamentary debates.