Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, his dad was the first Kisii to own cars, grow coffee
By Undercover Reporter
He had a soft spot for Kikuyu women. Of his five wives-who gave him 20 children-two were from Mt Kenya: One, the sister of a Cabinet Minister’s wife, the other a soldier’s daughter from the Koinange family he married when she was only 19-and who went on to secure the family its billions.
Simeon Nyachae, the temperamental workaholic who closed his gate at Nairobi Hospital aged 88, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. By 1943 when Nyachae was 11, his Old Guy, colonial Chief Musa Nyandusi had two cars; a Fordson and Chevrolet Sedan, the first Kisii to own such.
Chief Nyandusi had a head start. Chief’s had easy access to free government land, better seedlings, lucrative business and travel permits and scholarships for their children-of which Nyachae was one of over 100 kids from a chama of 15 breathing wives.
So many were the kids Chief Nyandusi opened his own school for them with Nyachae as the favourite of the 100 children
So many were the kids that Chief Nyandusi opened his own school for them with Nyachae as the favourite of the 100 children: he tinkered with Nyachae’s birth certificate backdating it three years to secure his scholarship to Cambridge University, England, set him in bakery and flour milling businesses and forced him to marry three wives while still in his 20s.
Chief Nyandusi, a friend of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, also schemed Nyachae’s entry into government upon his return from studying Public Administration in 1964. In fact, Nyachae was handed his letter of appointment as Nyandarua District Commissioner (DC) at the Embakasi Airport, then the largest in 1964.
Nyachae was adding wives too. After third wife Martha Mwango, sister of Cabinet Minister Lawrence Sagini- a step-brother of former PS Dr Bitange Ndemo, he married Sylvia, sister of Jane Kiano, wife of Minister for Commerce and Industry Dr Julius Gikonyo Kiano. They divorced seven years and three kids later.
Forays into milling was no fluke. Chief Nyandusi –the first Kisii allowed to grow coffee-owned water operated flour mills
Grace Wamuyu, the youngest wife, left government in 1980 to run Sansora Group (named after Nyachae’s grandpa who was a sansora-arbiter). Sansora is the holding arm of the family’s hydra of business interests sweeping across banking, insurance, horticulture, aviation, real estate, flour milling, transport logistics and large-scale agriculture including coffee farming-despite Nyachae never drinking coffee-the side effects of strong Adventist faith.
Just so you know Nyachae means ‘one who comes with tea’ since he was born in 1932-when tea as a crop was introduced in Kisii.
The Sansora Group flourished just as Nyachae rose from PC to Chief Secretary, the most visible and crucial civil servant of his time: woke up at 5am and ate lunch in the office which he left at 7pm. For leisure, he had a squash court in his house.
But President Daniel arap Moi (Nyachae’s partner in two businesses including Transnational bank) wanted to get rid of Kenyatta-era bureaucrats and devised a clever ploy: lowering retirement from 60 to 55. Nyachae retired in 1987. He was 55. When all Kenyatta henchmen retired Moi reverted retirement age to 60!
As a ‘thank you gift’ to himself, Nyachae imported a custom-made navy blue Mercedes Benz S500
As a ‘thank you gift’ to himself, Nyachae imported a custom-made navy blue Mercedes Benz S500-the first of its kind in Kenya. Big mistake. At the time, President Moi rode in a Mercedes Benz S600. He was not to have any competition in that department.
Port officials in Mombasa feared clearing Nyachae’s S500. The Benz was shortly impounded as investigators began digging on who had the balls of going bonnet to bonnet with President Moi.
Plans were hatched to cut Nyachae down to size. Investigators combed and found nothing amiss with tax returns of Kabansora Millers, then and still is located in Embakasi, Nairobi. So they came up with a cock and bull story about how the maize flour at Kabansora was attracting birds which could get into aircraft engines at the nearby JKIA. Kabansora was thus to be demolished!
Raila promised to endorse Nyachae for the Presidency in 2002, but instead said ‘Kibaki Tosha’
“It was then that I decided to join elective politics to protect my interests,” notes Nyachae in his threadbare 2010 memoirs, Walking Through Corridors of Service.
Nyachae, last of two boys was elected MP for Nyaribari Chache in the first multiparty elections in 1992. He held key government dockets including agriculture and finance besides a presidential run that came to grief in 2002-when Raila Odinga promised to endorse him but instead said ‘Kibaki Tosha’. Nyachae lost the Nyaribari Chache seat in 2007 and faded from public limelight until his death on February 1, 2021.
Kennedy Nyachae is married to Nominated Senator Beth Mugo’s daughter
The Nyachaes’ have long enjoyed political patronage since Chief Nyandusi hid Mzee Jomo Kenyatta from colonial authorities in 1952. They also connected via intermarriages. Kennedy Nyachae is married to Nominated Senator Beth Mugo’s daughter. Beth Mugo, former Dagoretti South MP, is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin.