Everyone loves a good grass to grace story, but it becomes disheartening when the story doesn’t remain in grace. In this article, WoK takes a look at the life of one, Gabriel Lbakinoi Lengishili, a Samburu man who fell back to grass after the grace.
He led an ordinary life that primarily confined him to grazing his father’s goats at Naichumunye Hills in 1983.
While herding the goats, Lengishili saw something shiny that looked like a watch and picked it. By sight, it looked expensive.
“The item was shiny and appeared expensive. I called the other boys when it began ticking, not knowing it was a warning,” he told the Nation.
“As they were running towards me, it exploded, throwing me and a cow to the ground. I woke up with neck, head, chest, leg and hand injuries at Meru Hospital. My thumb and index finger were missing.”
Lengishili was among the many victims of the explosive devices left behind by British soldiers in the Samburu grazing fields.
Financial status at the time
Lengishili held a Post bank account. Because he was injured and could not work, his account was empty.
When the British government through Martyn Leigh Day, a lawyer, asked him and 229 others to open accounts for processing of their compensation, he was delighted.
He opened an account with Stanbic Bank, Nanyuki.
“I had never owned Ksh10,000. My Postbank account always read nil,” he told the Nation.
Lengishili was paid Ksh11.2 million as compensation. Just like that, he became a multimillionaire at 36.
According to the publication, he travelled to Nairobi and bought the car of his dream – a Toyota Land Cruiser worth Ksh2.8 million even though he did not know how to drive. He then set up a fully stocked hardware and utility shop in Archer’s Post.
“I married and added two more wives shortly after. I had five wives,” he said.
He noted that even the women who had rejected him because of his disability were suddenly running back to him.
With the rest of the money, Lengishili said he built a house, bought goats and paid his daughter’s university fees.
He, however, failed to show where the ‘massive house’ he built is located. He claimed it is in another county.
According to a friend, Lengishili withdrew Ksh200,000 the first day he received his share of the compensation.
On A Spending Spree
“He bought us beer and hired cars to take us home. Two days later, he withdrew more money and came home. He then headed to Nairobi,” the friend said.
“He bought the car. From then on, Lengishili friends became strangers. He was always in Nyahururu and Nanyuki. I heard he stayed in expensive hotels.”
The friend further claimed that Lengishili disappeared for four months.
“His two wives and their children back home were left to their devices. His businesses were crumbling,” another local said.
Gabriel Lbakinoi Lengishili is later said to have sold the car for Ksh800,000, six months after buying it for Ksh2.8 million.
The 54-year-old was among the first lot of 230 people compensated by the British for injuries suffered in explosions.
According to the Nation, a total of ksh450 million was paid to the victims of the explosives.
Further reports indicate that 10 people were compensated more than Ksh10 million but live as labourers. They have nothing to show for it today.