How wealthy is Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Balala

Between presidential aspirants Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Najib Balala, former vice-president Mudavadi stands out as the richest in the group.

While the other two, Kalonzo and Balala, can be said to be quite modest in terms of affluence, Mudavadi’s wealth puts him almost at par with the big two in the presidential race; President Kibaki and Raila Odinga.

Born Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi in September 1960 in Vihiga division of the then larger Kakamega District, the young Mudavadi was the privileged son of the late Moses Budamba Mudavadi, a former education officer who later became a very powerful minister in president Moi’s cabinet.

Wealth in the larger Mudavadi family could be traced to the long period the elder Mudavadi served as a powerful minister for local government and a close confidant of president Moi. He was first appointed to the cabinet in 1979 soon after Moi succeeded Jomo Kenyatta as president.

The senior Mudavadi used his closeness to the president (having been instrumental in getting him nominated to the Legislative Assembly by the colonial authorities in the 1950s) to entrench himself both politically and economically.

He was an extremely generous person and in the 80s he regularly hosted mammoth goodwill delegations at his Mululu home in Kakamega, from other parts of Luhyaland. After such visits, each member of the delegation would leave with a bulging pocket from the King of Mululu, as the elder Mudavadi had been nicknamed due to his extensive political influence in the entire Western Province.

To some extent. then, one could say that long before the young Mudavadi made his own millions, the larger Mudavadi family was already a beneficiary of old money. In fact the senior Mudavadi was feted as the first Luhya to own a Land Rover vehicle in the 1950s when he served as an education officer in the Rift Valley Province, a no mean feat since Land Rovers were the vehicles of choice for the British aristocracy.

Mudavadi’s big break

The younger Mudavadi became an MP in 1989 to fill the vacancy created by the death of his father that year. President Moi immediately appointed him Minister for Supplies and Marketing but the 29-year old made little impact owing to his relative inexperience.

His big break both in politics and world of business came after the 1992 General elections when he was appointed to the plum portfolio of Minister for Finance.

It was as Finance Minister that Mudavadi entrenched himself in the world of business first venturing into insurance and later investment in the banking sector. During his tenure at Treasury, Mudavadi enjoyed good relations with big players and wheeler dealers in business and in the process learnt useful tips on how to keep afloat in the cut throat, ruthless world of business.

Mudavadi also enjoyed extremely good rapport with Moi’s former personal assistant and dealmaker Joshua Kulei. There are reports that the two ventured in a few business deals during this period.

He later served as Minister for Transport and Communications overseeing the then lucrative parastatals such as Kenya Posts and Telecommunications. He also served at the Ministry of Agriculture, besides the brief two-month stint as vice-president during the final days of the Moi presidency.

Despite being very wealthy in his own right, Mudavadi has maintained a cloak of secrecy around his investments unlike other players in the presidential race, such as Raila Odinga.

Besides being co-owner of an insurance company, a bank and other companies, among other known Mudavadi investments include an office block in Westlands and a number of residential houses in the city.

Mudavadi, a Land Economist by training who started his employment career working for a local real estate agent, Tysons Limited, also has his property management company which operates from Westlands. Analysts estimate Mudavadi’s family wealth to be in the region of hundreds of millions of shillings which means he can comfortably finance a good political campaign from personal resources.

Kalonzo Musyoka, a man of modest means

Unlike President Mwai Kibaki, Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi, the other three presidential contenders, Kalonzo Musyoka is a man of modes means. The big three can easily marshal substantial personal financial resources to fund their presidential campaigns, which is more than can be said of the man from Mwingi.

He has been in politics for a relatively longer time than most of the others in the presidential race, except the president, (he was first elected to parliament in a by-election in 1985) and he has held prominent cabinet positions. But unlike most other politicians he does not appear to have used public positions to advance himself politically.

Besides being a silent partner in a city law firm, among the few investments that Musyoka is known to have including a humble hotel business that goes by the name Mwingi Cottages. The hotel is located in his home district.

Musyoka built the hotel about ten years ago with a Kshs 10 million loan from the Kenya Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). Sources say he is still repaying the loan.

The only other prominent asset that Kalonzo is known to have a magnificent house in Karen where he lives with his family. The house, sources say, was built with substantial material assistance from former President Moi during the period Musyoka served as Moi’s trusted Cabinet Minister and key Kanu official.

Kalonzo, who is married with four children, served in various positions in the Moi government. He started off as an assistant minister before becoming the Deputy Speaker of the National assembly in 1988. he was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs after the 1992 General Elections.

It is perhaps out of the understanding that unlike other key presidential contenders he is not in a position to personally finance his presidential campaign in any significant way that Musyoka was among the first politicians to set up a political foundation to serve as a fundraising platform.

Through the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation, the youthful looking presidential contender hopes to use his extensive international connections to raise substantial funds for his presidential campaign.

There are also a number of wealthy local associates especially moneyed businessmen and professionals from Ukambani who would most likely provide substantial financial backing to Kalonzo should he become the ODM presidential flag bearer. They include gemstone dealer Johnstone Muthama, a real estate magnate David Masika, city lawyer Mutula Kilonzo and tycoon John Harun Mwau.

Najib Balala and the Arab money

Turning 40 years on September 20th this year, ODM presidential hopeful Najib Balala is clearly the youngest presidential aspirant in 2007. Balala comes from a prominent Mombasa family that has been in business of tea export for years. The family is also said to have some investments in the hotel industry at the coast which could explain why Balala served as the chairman of the Mombasa and Coastal Tourism Association (MCTA) at one time.

Balala is not wealthy enough to be in the leagues of other ODM presidential aspirants such as Raila, Musalia or William Ruto, but he is relatively wealthy in his own right.

The Mvita MP made substantial personal money between 2003 and 2005 when he served as Minister for Sports and culture. During this period, informed sources say, Balal had some lucrative business dealings with prominent players in the oil rich Arab countries of Qatar, Oman and Yemen where he is reputed to have made close to US$ 2 million (about Kshs 140 Million).

Interestingly though, when in Nairobi, Balala stays in a rented house at Kolobot Gardens near State House.

It is not clear in which sectors Balala may have invested his windfall. Suffice it to say that besides the personal fortune, he has good links in many oil-rich and generous Arab countries where he can turn for financial support should he emerge a serious presidential contender.

Balala’s political career begun in 1998 with his nomination as councilor in the Mombasa Municipal Council where he subsequently became the mayor and played a critical role in positively transforming Mombasa into a clean and tourist-friendly city.

Source: The Leader

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2 Responses to How wealthy is Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Balala

Anonymous said...

may God help you remember people like me who are so down to earth and yet, ready to support you fully in your endeavor sir.

Rowland Mtetezi said...

Money Money Money!!