Western Kenya comprises the counties of Bungoma, Kakamega, Vihiga, and Busia. According to the 2019 census, the combined population of the counties above is approximately 5,021,843. The region’s wealthiest county, Kakamega, contributes 2.4% to the national GDP, while Vihiga, the region’s poorest county, contributes approximately 1%.
This article has listed the few wealthiest people in Western Kenya and the businesses they own. The list comprises Atwoli, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula among other prominent names:
The COTU’s Sec-Gen is a wealthy man who enjoys flaunting his wealth. He is a man known to be a lover of life and he has never hesitated to say it.
Atwoli owns a mansion in Kumpa, Kajiado, installed with a helipad, a restaurant with seating for 300 people, a guesthouse, and parking for 100 cars.
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Every month, he earns hundreds of thousands of shillings from COTU and even more from the various boards on which he serves.
His collection of high-end automobiles includes a Mercedes-Benz S300 and a Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, said to be worth millions of Kenyan shillings. Nevertheless, ‘Papa Atwoli’ as referred to sometimes, enjoys dressing in high-end fashion and accessories. He never misses his gold chains and rings around his neck and hands.
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In an interview with Citizen TV journalist-Jeff Koinange, Atwoli threw away his iPhone 11 Pro Max on the floor away while swearing his argument. The iPhone is approximated to be KES 200 thousand.
Also, Mr Atwoli owns a cattle ranch on his Kajiado farm where he does farming.
Having started from lowest as a hawker way back in the 1960s, Ibrahim Ambwere has risen to the wealth ladder slowly by slowly through hard work and persistence.
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He owns a number of residential and commercial properties, including the Ambwere Furaha, Ambwere Plaza, Ambwere Complex, and Ambwere Towers, and is a landlord. The buildings have spread out in various Western Kenya’s towns including Kitale, Kakamega, Chavakali, Vihiga, and Mbale.
The 86-year-old does not discuss his fortune, but locals believe he is worth billions of dollars.
For instance, Ibrahim Ambwere stunned the nation in the early 1980s when he offered to pay the striking teachers delayed salaries totalling KES 48 million. In reference to the current economy, the same amount could be equivalent to KES 4 billion today. This was his effort to save the government from financial ruin.
Besides owning commercial buildings, Ambwere is also a serious farmer owning hectares of farms in Kitale, Trnszoia county. Here, he ventures into maize farming and cattle keeping.
Eugene Wamalwa, a successful businessman and politician, is also one of the wealthiest people in Western Kenya. He rose to fame in the year 2003 after the death of his brother, Michael Wamalwam who was Kenya’s deputy president by the time he died.
Eugene was encouraged to step in his elder brother’s shoes, and that’s when he ventured into active politics.
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In 2013 when he was appointed Cabinet Secretary, Eugene told the vetting board that he is worthy KES 400 million.
Wamalwa was asked by the parliamentarians why he sought the job when he was already worth that much money, but he responded that he was motivated by a desire to serve the Kenyan people, and not to enrich himself.
Eugene Wamalwa is a wealthy man with several homes, acres of land, and a successful law practice. He also mentioned that his firm represented Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s current president, in 2001.
Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, former vice president and ANC party leader is also among Western Kenya’s wealthiest people. Unfortunately for him, most Kenyans are only familiar with him through his political career.
Mudavadi also has a commercial office building and residential units in Westlands. Mudavadi studied Land Economics in college and eventually established a property management firm in Westlands.
Also, Mudavadi owns a bank as well as an insurance company.
He is currently the premier CS in the Kenyan government, a position equivalent to the prime minister.
Moses Wetang’ula is a seasoned politician and an advocate of the high court.
He rose to fame when he started representing former president Daniel Moi in various lawsuits and the government. Also, it is at that period that he joined politics as a member of the famous YK92, who were youths supporting the president.
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Politically, Wetamg’ula has served in various political capacities including MP, Senator, and Minister. Currently, he serves as the speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly.
In addition to being a politician, he is also an entrepreneur. He owns several properties in Syokimau and along Ngong Road. Also, he is yet to receive a portion of his initial investment in the law firm of Wetangula, Adan, Makokha & Company Advocates.
Wetang’ula is estimated to be a net worth of KES 2.4 billion.
Julius Mwale, one of Western Kenya’s wealthiest people, has remained under the radar at home while making waves overseas.
Mwale was born in 1976 in Kakamega county and went on to school in the same region. Following his relocation to America, the businessman enlisted in the Kenya Air Force which he had joined after school. When he first arrived in the United States, he faced a number of challenges, but he eventually overcame them.
He gathered the pieces and established a Biometric technology company near the Empire State Building in New York, spending a total of $2 million (KES 200 million).
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By 2003, his company had grown to 60 employees and was working with major financial institutions such as the Bank of New York and JP Morgan Chase. He is the man behind the Mwale Medical and Technology City in Butere, famously known as ‘the Hampton’. This project (The Hampton) is approximated to be KES 200 billion ($2 billion)
He lives in New York, and among his neighbours are Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and George Soros. He has a ranch in the United States and raises 19 horses, each of which is valued at about KES 1.5 million. Donald Trump, the former US President and musician Akon, are among the many famous people Mwale has met.
Back home, he supported his brother, to win elections for the Butere constituency. Tindi Mwale, Mwale’s younger brother is currently serving his second term as a Butere member of parliament.
Moody Arthur Awori is one of the wealthiest Kenyans in the Western region. He is Kenya’s ninth vice president and the author of the biography “Riding on a Tiger.”
Following his inclusion on the list of former State executives receiving generous retirement benefits, the government provided Ksh 149.2 million in 2018 to pay for his office and staff.
He was given a saloon car and an SUV, both of which had assigned drivers and were scheduled for replacement every four years. According to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, his total compensation in 2013 was Sh1.93 million.
Besides politics, ‘Uncle Moody’ is a known real estate investor who owns several estates in Nairobi and Busia towns.
Phillip A. O. Kisa
Philip Arunga O. Kisa has been the Managing Director of Urgent Cargo Handling LTD since its inception in September 1985.
The headquarters of the logistics firm is in Nairobi, and it has satellite offices in Namanga, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Malaba, and Busia, as well as in Mombasa and at the JKIA. Storage, brokerage, ocean and air freight, transportation, and a cargo terminal are all services offered by the multi-award-winning company.
He is an accomplished polo player who enjoys his pastime. He imports ponies rather than raising them himself. “About 12 years ago, at Rolf’s Place in Kitengela, I was invited for a game of polo by a buddy, and I became intrigued,” he recalls.
He was able to ride well enough to play polo after three months of lessons with the late Rolf. Arunga has used his twelve equines to introduce his adolescent son, Omwakwe, to the game of polo.
In response to the common perception that the sport is too expensive for the average person to enjoy, he goes on to explain, “Expensive is relative.” Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe it is that expensive. This has been the nation’s primary concern.
It has a reputation for being a sport for wealthy white men only. I just don’t see it happening. Many Kenyans, in my opinion, have the financial means to participate in and develop their skills in the sport.