Political families allegedly own a considerable percentage of the wealth in Kenya. William Ruto is among the richest people in Kenya. Apart from his political career, he has businesses and properties that contribute to his massive wealth.
A self-proclaimed ‘hustler’– to imply he dug his way up from the mud to grace, the controversial DP claims to have begun his business empire as a roadside chicken (Kuku kienyeji) seller. His main customers were truck drivers on the Great North Road, where each chicken cost between Sh.11 and Sh.13.
Diving into the Empire
Ruto’s past was just that, a past. The influential politician now flies in private jets, owns a fleet of state-of-the-art vehicles, and several properties and businesses. His source of wealth has always been critiqued by his political nemesis, as he generously donates during Harambees and Church donations.
His multi-billion shilling empire started unveiling during the riot over the Lang’ata Primary School land scandal. Ruto’s Weston Hotel was accused of attempting to grab the land from the school. This article will explore William Ruto’s businesses and properties that bag him his billions of shillings.
Hospitality and Real Estate
The politician incorporated Matiny Ltd in 1996, a firm operating in the real estate and hospitality industry. He later transferred the company’s ownership to his wife and daughter, six shares and one share each, respectively.
Matiny Ltd benefitted from City Hall’s allocation of homes in Woodley Estate to politicians and business moguls during the KANU government. Matiny Ltd’s claim in the allocation was worth Sh.20 million, as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) valued.
The company pocketed millions leasing over 170 housing units to the National Police Service before the department changed its housing policy. However, the houses were recovered by EACC in 2020 due to the illegalities by which they were acquired.
Under the same vertical is Weston Hotel, where Matiny Ltd is also a minority shareholder with 539 shares. Ruto and his family have controlling shares in Weston Hotel, with his wife and daughter owning 15,013 and 10,013 shares, respectively.
Weston Hotel is a four-star hotel valued at approximately Sh.2.6 billion. It is strategically adjacent to Wilson Airport, with 120 top-notch rooms within the establishment.
The hotel houses hundreds of guests every year. It is also one of the most sought-after venues for hosting conferences. Weston hotel is looking to expand its operations to Mombasa by constructing Dolphine Hotel, indicating that the business is booming despite the court cases.
The Mombasa subsidiary has cost the family approximately Sh.600 million. The Weston Hotel, incorporated in 2003, bags millions yearly from government officials and institutions for conferences and accommodation.
William Ruto also has residential properties well worth Sh.1.6 billion along Jogoo Road. His real estate stretches to Osere flats in Ongata Rongai in addition to the Sh.1 billion The Oseng Property Ltd.
The influential politician’s business expands to the underwriting industry, with minority controlling power of 50,000 shares at Amaco. The insurance firm serves both corporate and individual clients. It has won state contracts, adding to its revenue source, despite petitions that it fails to pay claims.
Amaco (Africa Merchant Assurance Company), incorporated in 2000, has covered notable institutions like Kirinyaga University, the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, and Mandera County. These institutions mint millions of cash to the insurer.
The underwriter bagged a Sh.190 million tender in 2021 despite being on the verge of closure over a Sh.19 million debt at the time. The firm recorded billions of cash from motor premiums alone in 2021, with low operating costs and reduced liabilities. The insurer claims 1.69% of the insurance market share.
Ruto’s shares in Amaco are through his poultry Yegen Farms Limited. The biggest shareholder is his close ally, Silas Kibet Simatwo, with 190,000 shares via his Vomorono Limited company.
William Ruto graduated with a Botany and Zoology degree in 1990, so it makes sense for his passion for chicken farming. He owns Yegen Farms Ltd, which brings over Sh.15 million in net revenue annually. Ruto and his wife own the farm in their Sugoi home, which produces over 2,500 eggs daily.
The farm has a state-of-the-art incubator with a capacity to hold 20,000 eggs. The family sells thousands of chicks every 21 days, with costs ranging between Sh.100 and Sh.125. This attracts loads of cash every month. The waste from the poultry farm doubles up as fertilizer.
The poultry business is instrumental in empowering Joyful Women Organization, a local women group. The organization eliminates intermediaries by selling eggs from its members directly at market value.
William Ruto’s agricultural ventures include Koitalel Farm Limited, which operates on a 430-acre farm in Uasin Gishu. The land also has high-yielding banana plants, mango and avocado trees, a maize farm (for maize and silage), and numerous dairy cows.
The maize is sold to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), which attracted fraud allegations in EACC investigations in 2018.
In addition, it incubates around 100 beehives and a 15,000-tree forest. All these ventures bring him the revenue that whets his multibillion business empire.
In one of the many probes into his dealings, Matiang’i unveiled a list of Ruto’s businesses. The influential politician also owns Kitengela Gas, Murumbi farm in Transmara Narok, Mata Farm sitting on 2,537-acre land in Taita Taveta, and ADC Laikipia Mutara Ranch, sitting on 15,000 acres.
He also owns a private residence in Elgon View and Kwae Island Development Ltd, habitating two hangars with five helicopters.
Ruto’s influence and power in the political and business arenas is unfettered, making his wealth a subject of debate. His influence in key sectors of the economy only shows that his wealth will continue growing with time.