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Bitange Ndemo: Why Investing In A Rural Home Is Not A Good Idea

Professor Bitange Ndemo is the current Kenya’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union. 

Ndemo is among Kenyans who have built homes in rural areas, a move that he discourages since most of these properties end up being a misplaced investments.

In a column on Nation, the former PS recalled how he invested Ksh 20 million in building a rural home only for him to visit the house only twice in 15 years.

Here is the story as told by WoK.

Quitting job

In 1993, Ndemo quit his job as a Senior Financial Systems Analyst in the United States to return back home.

He used his savings to buy a 10-acre piece of land in Kajiado County and used the rest of his savings to set up a house.

“My more than five years savings of Ksh 20 million went up in smoke. My saving grace was a ten-acre piece of land I bought in Kajiado. The rest was converted into dead capital in form of a small rural home,” Ndemo pointed out.

At the time, the 1992 elections had just been concluded and the country was grappling with hyperinflation.

Ndemo was living with his family in Nairobi and in no time, he was already struggling to provide for his family.

“I began to regret why I put up a house in my rural home while I suffered in the city.  The house was dead capital.  I could not rent it to anyone yet I had to pay somebody to take care of it.  In fifteen years I have used it twice,” he explained.

The associate professor wondered why someone would invest in a rural home, yet they are struggling to make ends meet in the city.

“Of what sense is it when someone puts up a Ksh 20million home in a rural area only for the relatives to raise money to pay school fees for children after his death?

“These are houses that no one will buy, sell or rent because graves dot the home.  What is the value of culture?” He posed.

Ndemo noted that such properties are burial homes, saying those in the city build in the village to avoid embarrassing the clan when they die.

“I am not against people spending their money in whatever way they choose. But there’s need for a mindset change because we have invested more than $50 billion in non-productive assets thereby settling ourselves in a destructive path,” he stressed.