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James Gakuya: From Breaking Ties With His Father To Making Millions As a Teenager

Embakasi North MP James Gakuya is a man who survived a grueling upbringing before rising like a phoenix from the ashes. In a recent interview with TV 47, the third term MP detailed how he severed ties with his dad at a tender age. The father had married two other women, a matter that left the family disunited and reeling with constant feuds.

According to Gakuya, the father’s decision weighed down on the family financially. He recalls that his dreams of getting educated slowly began getting blurry as they could no longer afford school fees.

Our family feuds started as we strained financially. School fees became an issue, money became scarce because they would harvest my mother’s farm produce,” says Gakuya.

Chasing His father’s wives 

At the age of 13, Gakuya felt his dad had shirked from his responsibilities. Despite being a common African cultural practice that abhors rebellion against one’s father, Gakuya did exactly this. One day, he took a leave from school and broke into the women’s houses then tossed their belongings to the roadside. When they came back, he banished them from the family’s  compound, ordering that they had to leave.

Upon coming back, they appeared shocked. I informed them that they had half an hour to leave our homestead for good. One of them reported me to the chief who tried to stop me,” says the MP.

However, not even the chief’s intervention could loosen his stand. The two women left and never came back. When his dad got wind of what had happened, he didn’t confront Gakuya but he decided to punish him by never paying his school fees.

My relationship with my father was completely damaged. Upon completion of primary school, he informed me that he would not pay my school fees going forward,” revealed the legislator.

Luckily, he was taken up by a missionary sponsored centre at Njiri School which catered for his school fees for two years. Later on, the sponsorship deal elapsed and he landed another sponsorship at Aquinas High School which was a day school unlike the former.

Menial jobs 

Knowing that he had to solely depend on himself, he sought menial jobs that involved transporting of crates at Wakulima Market. He would get paid a paltry 2 shillings per crate. Because he didn’t indulge in alcohol consumption like other employees, the traders trusted him more. According to Gakuya, he would transport thousands of crates and end up making ksh 8000 daily. Later own, the traders began paying him in bulk and this would earn him up to ksh 50k weekly.

By the age of 18, Gakuya had accumulated a fortune of 2 million shillings and bought a lorry which he used to transport various agricultural produce to Mombasa. The MP told TV 47 that he is engaged in other businesses aside from being a legislator.


Aged 29, Gakuya wanted to be a councillor seat but lost in the primaries. He was however nominated then went on to get elected in 2007. In 2013, he won the MP seat for Embakasi North and is currently in his third term.