Photo: DP Ruto shaking hands with his wife Mama Rachel at a past event. Ruto is among the richest Kenyans of our time, however there are questions over his fast accumulation of wealth with speculation that he may have used extra-judicial means to a mass wealth.
Wealth without Values
I promised to write about picking up from after being sacked. I’ll do that. However, the story of collapsing Supermarkets has really made me reflect hard on certain issues.
The collapse of Tuskys has affected thousands of employees and millions of customers. Tuskys has been part of lives in many families.. In an Estate like Greenspan, Tuskys is and has been key in the lives of residents. In many places, Tuskys is critical in the lives of people around.
How can something so big, come down that fast?
It all boils down to Values. The Unseen factor in success. The Unseen factor in failure.
If you Google my name and Uchumi Supermarkets, you will get results that show that I extensively wrote about the collapse of Uchumi Supermarkets in 2004.
I did some of the most comprehensive investigative Journalism until my expose led to several fellows going to arrested and taken to Court. My story on the former KCB CEO, Terry Davidson and suspect deals in Uchumi Shares also led to his arrest and arraignment in Court…
To me, the collapse of Uchumi was a major blot in the Pride of Kenya.
Uchumi represented the big divide between the Indian Culture and the Mwafrika Culture…….
If you follow the Tuskys collapse, you realise that it is about a family fighting.. It is about Egos of children who control billions…
It is about Values….
Uchumi was one of the richest State Owned firms in the 1980s and 90s. The MD that led to the revival was called Suresh Shah. In 14 years, he turned Uchumi into the richest Parastatal, and when he was leaving in the year 2000, Uchumi incidentally 2 billion shillings in the bank accounts.
He then left his confidant called Titus Mugo in charge. But, in the usual style in Kenya, powerful billionaires got interested and brought Kennedy Thairu in 2002, and in 3 years Uchumi was broke.
Without getting into details, I keep reflecting on several interviews I had with Suresh Shah and Kennedy Thairu……
The Muhindi mindset that led to the success of Uchumi, and the Mwafrika mindset that led to the collapse of Uchumi….
It all boils down upbringing…..
Muhindi teach their children how to grow wealth. They make their children part of the business. They are ruthless when their children deviate from the path. Children get to know how to create wealth. Muhindi rarely send children to boarding schools. They closely monitor their development as they go to the nearest day schools. They impart values like hard work, honesty and financial discipline.
Mwafrika, on the other hand, pamper their children. When Mwafrika makes money, his children are never work. They have like 5 housegirls. They dispatch children to expensive boarding schools and leave the job of moulding children to others. They call children names like Kababa, but never let their let the children understand the secret of values like hardwork, honesty,financial discipline etc….
One of my classmates in Parklands Primary School, Manjit Singh came from one of the richest families in 80s. The Dad owned a mega construction company. They did not stay far from us, and during weekends we would occasionally visit each other. One thing I noticed was that they were deeply involved in the working in their home. They swept, cleaned up the compound. They were introduced to construction stuff when still in primary school.
I also noticed that they rarely got luxurious stuff, though they could afford anything in life.
On the other hand, we were not anywhere near them in terms of riches, but our Dad truly ensured that were were treated like little kings..
When we completed Primary School, I went to Maseno, a boarding school far away from Parklands…. And he went to Jamhuri Secondary, a day school near Parklands……
My story and that of Manjit is repeated across several homes. Muhindi families keep their children around them, as much as possible during the critical teenage and young adult ages. Mwafrika with money will send teenage children to “good” secondary schools… And immediately after secondary, they are sent to “good” Universities. These are most critical years in the lives of children, and they are spent far away from Parents. ..
There is very little transfer of values. You may be very rich, but your children do not have your values……. And if you leave the world, they mess your business.
So, we end up with children with big sounding degrees and qualifications, but they lack critical values…….
That is why, I’m determined to stick with my children as much as it is humanly possible. Boarding school is a no go zone for me.