Children, including those sired with prostitutes, can inherit property under Kenyan laws
By GW Ngari
City politician Simon Mbugua has no heartburn revealing he was the illegitimate son of a billionaire-inherited nothing-but rose to multi-millionaire status by his bootstraps.
His mother, a teacher, was the mpango wa kando to billionaire Samuel Mbugua Githere-the illiterate man from Gachie who rose from hawking terere in Ngara to eyewatering fortunes that included commercial buildings in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Githere was also the largest single shareholder in Pan African Life Insurance (now Sanlam Kenya) where he often lumbered into board meetings carrying wrapped cooked chicken. After eating as managers dissected insurance premiums, he would fish a comb from his inner coat pocket and run it through his hair!
For Mbugua, life was not easy being a billionaire’s illegitimate child as he rose from sweeping a butchery in a building owned by Githere, selling mitumba shoes to cars and eventually, MP for Kamukunji.
Despite being a billionaire, my father never helped me in any way, and I made my millions on my own
In a 2019 interview with David Odongo, Mbugua recalled being assaulted by his elder step-sister when he went to Githere’s office at Uchumi House that June, 1996. Besides screamed obscenities, “I was chased away like a dog” down seven floors in an incident from which he swore he would never be poor.
“My mother was Githere’s mpango wa kando. He never married her but he was still my blood father whom I first saw after finishing high school. But we never bonded,” recalled Mbugua. “I was raised by a single mother. Despite being a billionaire, he never helped me in any way, and I made my millions on my own.”
Mbugua’s other brother, Richard Githere, was also a loaded businessman and though “rejected by our father and his family, we made it in life. God opened doors. I think we are far much better than those who inherited their father’s billions. We worked for our money.”
Mbugua Githere died in 1997, and he was so rich his family couldn’t trace all his properties due to lack of proper record
Mbugua Githere died in 1997, and he was so rich his family couldn’t trace all his properties due to lack of proper records, according to, A handful of Terere, his posthumous biography written by the late novelist Mwangi Gicheru.
Simon Mbugua, now a father of three, recalled driving to Gachie to bury his dad and “I had just bought a Mercedes from Kimani Wamatangi (now Kiambu Governor) and my step brothers thought I had gone to fight for inheritance. The foodstuff I had brought to help with the funeral were rudely thrown away and distributed to villagers. I told them I will be richer than my father.”
Journey to being wealthier than his father started with being employed to clean a butchery in Nairobi’s Highridge Shopping Centre in a building owned by his father.
“I was earning Sh35 per day but saved Sh1, 050 by end month. I chilled in Gikomba with shoe sellers most evenings and one time they sold me left over shoes for Sh5 each. I bought shoes worth Sh500, washed and polished them and resold each pair for Sh20. I made a profit of Sh 600 and never returned to the butchery again,” remembers Mbugua who shortly began buying shoes in bales, instead of rejects.
The law now includes “an Unaccepted Child” as part of inheritance claims and is the section Jacob Ocholla Mwai is using against the Kibakis
“One bale cost Sh3, 500. So, I opened a shop selling the shoes, and got an employee to sell the rejects. But shortly realized the bale cost Sh1, 500 in Mombasa. A year had passed since I started selling shoes and I had saved Sh200,000,” offered Mbugua, adding that he hid the Sh200, 000 in his underwear as “I was afraid majini would steal my money. Have you ever hidden Sh200,000 in your underwear? It’s very bulky and Mombasa is very hot.”
Mbugua bought 100 bales of shoes and former Finance CS Ukur Yatani, then in provincial administration, helped him get a container and “I officially became a shoe whole seller” and on to chair of hawkers in Gikomba.
Mbugua hit the financial Mother Lode when he began investing in real estate in between supplying stones to City Hall which was how he got into politics.
“There was a time I was the Godfather at City Hall. I knew what was happening where and how, and I made money,” said Mbugua, adding that his support base saw him running for the Kamukunji Parliamentary seat with Norman Nyagah as the major opponent. “We really harassed and beat up Nyagah. He couldn’t campaign anywhere and I won almost unopposed.”
Mbugua, who until recently was Kenya’s MP in the East African Legislative Council (EALA), also paid homage to his mother who “lived in Eastlands until she died, happy knowing, a boy who was rejected, made it in life. She guided me through all my business deals.”