Funeral:Rally ace Ben Muchemi’s final journey

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Ben Muchemi
A casket bearing the remains of Safari rally ace, Ben Muchemi (Baba Ciru) during his burial service at Kianjogu PCEA Church in Mathira, Friday. [Photo: Mose Sammy/ Standard]
Nyeri, Kenya: Kenyan motor sports ace Ben Muchemi was Friday laid to rest at his home in Kianjogu Wariruta area, Nyeri County.

Mourners, among them Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore and retired President Mwai Kibaki’s adviser Nick Wanjohi eulogised Muchemi, who was fondly referred to by his fans as Baba Chiru, as an astute businessman and rally driver. Muchemi passed on in his hospital bed at MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi on December 21, where he had been admitted a week earlier after developing health complications.

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Stomach cancer

Muchemi suffered stomach cancer, which was diagnosed in 2008. Until his death, Muchemi was the chairman of Stadia Management Board, Safaricom Dealers Association, Rallye Sports Club, Kenya Racing Team and the Director of Kenya Motor Sports Federation.

During his burial, which was preceded by a church service at Kianjogu Primary School, mourners termed the former rally driver as a devoted family man, businessman and rally driver. Mathira MP Peter Weru said the late Muchemi was a great mentor, who gave out his rally vehicles to upcoming rally drivers.

“We are celebrating his life and we should take over from him by being a good example to others,” said Weru. His wife, Anastacia Wambui, described him as a man who pledged to love her and lived to his words since 22 years ago when they met. “It was a love of true perfection. You discharged both public and personal business and remained resolute even when in hospital bed,” she said. During the burial, three of Muchemi’s vehicles, a Subaru Impreza and two Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 were displayed some 20 metres away from the casket.

Rally cars

The event was also graced by tens of mourners who drove rally cars, as they retreated to their colleague’s rural home to pay last respect. Muchemi started his career as a rally driver in 2005, and the following year he emerged the most improved driver. He has been rallying on a Subaru Impreza until 2012 when he upgraded to a Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Retired President Kibaki honoured him with the Moran of Burning Spear (MBS) award. He is survived by his wife and eight children.

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