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Kevin Okwara: From Earning Kshs7,000 To Owning Alphax College And The Iconic Noble Hotel In Eldoret

The name Kevin Okwara definitely rings a bell to a majority of Eldoret town residents who associate him with Alphax College. However, many may not know the fact that he is the owner of Eldoret’s lavish Noble Hotel that is located in Kapsoya, off the Eldoret – Nairobi road.

Okwara, a bespectacled eloquent man built his vast wealth in mid ’90s and owes his entrepreneurial acumen to his Christian faith which enabled him take risks. In early ’90s, the serial businessman completed his degree in computing and mathematics at Kenyatta University and decided to go and look for a job in Nairobi CBD. As he told KTN lifestyle in a past interview, he got two job offers to teach computer studies on his first trial.

Businessman and politician Kevin Okwara. [Photo|Facebook| Kevin Okwara]

He settled for the employer who paid a monthly salary of Ksh 7000 as he turned down one who offered Ksh 5000. As a computer instructor, Okwara says he was simply outstanding and did his job to perfection. After one year, he resigned and took another job which paid a  better income.

However, Okwara got stressed of doing the spade work for his employer who made over Ksh 500k in a month but only paid him a paltry Ksh 10 k.

I did ‘donkey work’ and  would make for him around half a million and he would pay me 10k. I remember I got very stressed and resigned,” he recalls.

Computer Instructing and Meeting Dutch National Who Took Him From Dust To Riches

Okwara took no time to figure out his next move which turned out to be the changing point for his life. He approached institutions and offered to tutor on basic computer skills. By this time, he got to make more money of at least ksh 13k a week.

It was during his daily hustles that he met a Dutch man who offered him a job to go and teach in this field in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County. When teaching the first batch of students, Okwara made over Ksh 52,000 in a week.

“Whatever I did, I do it pretty well and this Dutch guy was impressed. If you go to Iten today, all the staff who worked in ICT between ’93-’96, I trained them”.

When Okwara got to train a second batch which had more students in Iten, the Dutch national paid him Ksh 500,000.

In late ’90s, Okwara established his first computer college in Nairobi even as he continued working with his European friend who was by this time transferred to Nanyuki. The duo worked together for 3 years and parted ways upon achievement of their objectives.

Venturing Into Eldoret 

According to Okwara, he was more comfortable working in Eldoret because it was calmer than the capital. As a man brought up in the village, he didn’t like the city’s noise, pollution and traffic. This prompted him to transfer the computer college he had set up in Nairobi. The college, currently known as Alphax College located on the Eldoret-Iten road has gradually expanded over years.

Read Also: Billionaires and Multi-millionares Who ‘Own’ Eldoret Town

Building Noble Hotel After Post Election Violence 

The idea to set up Noble Hotel wasn’t in the mind of Okwara until one day in 2006 he got frustrated by an Eldoret hotel manager. According to Okwara, he had booked a space for a seminar at the said hotel and the facility didn’t arrange chairs in good time, forcing him to complain to the manager. However, the manager failed to act and this forced Okwara and his colleagues to arrange the chairs by themselves.

After the meeting, the infuriated manager told Okwara a distasteful sentiment that got permanently imprinted into his mind.

He told me if I thought I’d get another (better) place, I should have gone there,” recalls Okwara.

The embarrassed Okwara felt the arrogance of the hotel’s official was because of the relatively untapped potential in Eldoret’s hospitality sector at that time. The few hotel owners were not thorough with their work because they were assured of a high demand.

The Entrance of Noble Hotel in Eldoret. [Photo|Courtesy]

Okwara had already acquired a piece of land and cancelled plans to sell it off, instead deciding to build Noble Hotel.

In early 2008 when Eldoret town was marred with deadly ethnic clashes after the controversial 2007 general elections, the Noble Hotel was being set up.

I was among the only ones building in Eldoret. Nobody wanted to build because houses had been razed down,” says Okwara.

In a couple of years, Noble Hotel was opened and today is among the best hotels in Eldoret. It offers conference facilities, gym, swimming pool, accomodation, children’s leisure activities and restaurants.

Okwara’s Political Aspirations 

In 2017, Okwara ventured into the murky political arena when he chose to vie for the Turbo Constituency seat in Uasin Gishu County. Contesting on a Jubilee ticket, he beat 14 aspirants for the party’s ticket during nominations.

However, there was a lot of discontent from other aspirants who painted Okwara as an ‘outsider.’ When the elections day came, Okwara was beaten by an independent candidate, Janet Rotich Sitienei.

In the upcoming August 2022 polls, Okwara will be contesting for the member of parliament seat in Nambale Constituency, Busia County on an ODM ticket.