Ngina Kenyatta, known to many simply as ‘Mama Ngina’, was the first “First lady”of the Republic of Kenya. She was the fourth and most visible wife of Jomo Kenyatta and the mother of the current President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta. The former First Lady accompanied her late husband, Jomo Kenyatta, in most public functions.
The former first lady has been known to keep away from the limelight. Looking at her, two things would come to mind; strength and elegance. She carries herself with grace and dignity and is known for her signature head wrap.
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Ngina Kenyatta was born on 24th June 1933. She was born in Ngenda in Gatundu, Kiambu county and was raised by her parents chief Muhoho Wa Gathecha and Anne Nyogambi Muhoho.
Mama Ngina is said to be the head of a vast empire that consists of hotels, properties among others. As mentioned earlier, she keeps off the limelight as much as possible.
Previously, when the first president of the nation, Jomo Kenyatta, would go to official functions, she would accompany him. Some streets in Nairobi and Mombasa were named after her, as well as a children’s home.
Ngina married the first president of the Republic of Kenya in 1951 when she was only 18 years and Kenyatta was 58. She stood with him through the difficult times leading to independence and was once detained at Kamiti Maximum Prison owing to her involvement with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
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The couple were blessed with four children: Kristina Wamboi born in 1952, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta born in 1961, Anna Nyokabi Muthama (also known as Jeni) and Muhoho Kenyatta born in 1964.
The Kenyatta family ranks among the wealthiest in the country. Their business tentacles are felt in almost all sectors from agriculture to banking to the hospitality industry and so on and so forth.
Part of a CIA assessment on Mama Ngina reads:
……Mama Ngina Kenyatta, however, owns at least 115,000 hectares including a 13,000 hectare ranch in the Kiambu district, two tea plantations at Matu and Mangu, and three sisal farms near the Tanzanian border. She also has considerable holdings in the resort areas around Mombasa and is involved in coffee plantations and in the Kenyan ruby mines.”
Apart from this, an article published by Business Daily about two years ago, revealed that she receives a monthly pay in excess of half a million Shillings from the government. According to the article, official documents indicate that Mrs. Kenyatta receives sh568,218 monthly at taxpayers expense for being the spouse of Kenya’s first president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Treasury officials say that the payment is tied to the law that provides for a spouse of a sitting or retired president to be paid forty percent of the current salary paid to the sitting head of state should their husband die.
The Kenyatta family net worth is in excess of $1 billion.
The Kenyatta family was badly exposed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) after they leaked the Pandora’s Papers which revealed the offshore investments they hold in tax havens like Panama and the British Virgin Islands. A company with stocks and bonds worth $30m (£22m) were also discovered in the investigations that will dent Uhuru’s perceived war on corruption targeting his deputy William Ruto.
The family set up a foundation known as Various in Panama in 2003. Mama Ngina is the first benefactor while his son Uhuru Kenyatta is the second benefactor, who would inherit it after her death.
In the 1970s, she and other high level government officials were allegedly involved in an ivory smuggling ring involved in transporting tusks out of the country in the state private airliner. A May 1975 edition of New Scientists cited her as one of Kenya’s ivory queens but also asserted that they could not be completely certain that these claims were true. However, New Scientists claimed that at least one member of Kenya’s royal family had shipped over six tons of ivory to Red China. Next