Phideli Wangari is the chair of Embakasi Ranching Limited. The tumultuous company is said to have been the cause of death and hopelessness in a lot of lives.
When the ranch opened up shareholding to its members, most did not know that they would never see their share of the land. All its four chairmen have died of heart attacks with the immediate former chair dying in August.
Here is the story as told by WoK.
Phideli takes up the role
Following the death of former Chairman Njoroge, Phideli became the first woman to take the leadership of Embakasi Ranching. She is a mother of three, a wife and philanthropist.
Her history with the company started way back when her father and late mother became shareholders in the company. Their 18 shares translated to 9 acres and as they got older they left her to fight for their shares.
From 1983, she has been fighting for the tiling of the land. In April 2019, she was appointed director alongside 13 others. In July the same year, they were given approvals to operate and she became deputy while Mr. Njoroge became the chairman.
Embakasi Ranching Limited was established by the late Jomo Kenyatta as a horticultural and dairy farming venture. By the time of his death in 1978, the company was said to have acquired about 30,000 acres. The remaining partners made it possible for their kinsmen to own shares.
The rampant corruption plaguing the company, according to Nation, is reported to have started when those behind the scheme under-declared the number of acres. They then made a lumpsum in later trade-offs.
The peril of shareholders
Many of the people who bought shares in the land are still fighting for their title deeds. They have neither received dividends or the land owed to them. Cartels have infiltrated the ranch with some who are not shareholders claiming to be.
According to Phideli, they have 16,000 declared acres and over 19,000 disputes. Additionally, they have undeclared land measuring 700 hectares in Kitengela, and 300 and 800 in Syokimau and Ngong respectively.
Initially, they had 3,000 shareholders and now this has risen to tens of thousands, some of whom she believes are fake shareholders wanting a piece of the land.
According to a cytonn report in 2021, their land had considerably increased in value. An acre that was going for Sh33 million in 2011 had appreciated to Sh71 million.
The 48 year old hopes to fight until the real shareholders get what is due to them. It hurts her to see old men some with oxygen machines still fighting to get their dues.
Phideli Wangari hopes the country’s top leadership is going to help them and finally put an end to the fight. She has complete faith in the president and his deputy since she says they are God-fearing people.
Of course, she is not oblivious to the dangers of fighting for this as she knows the risks. She even underwent a full physical where the doctors determined that her heart was okay.
She knows just because she is a woman doesn’t protect her from the same fate that met the previous chairs.
In 2006, Muhuri Muchiri died after giving the president an ultimatum. He either gave them title deeds or he would lead the shareholders to oppose the late Mwai Kibaki’s re-election.
Three years later Kariuki Mwanganu died after threatening to go against the succession plans of the late Mwai Kibaki if the title deeds are not given to the shareholders.
In 2018, Mwangi Thuita died after opposing the former president Uhuru’s directive to dissolve the company and give titles in the absence of a verified register.
Mr. Njoroge has died while fighting the current presidents directive to continue with titling from where Hon. Kenyatta left without the verified register.
As a theologian, Phideli Wangari prays that God gives her the strength to fight. If the leadership fails, she will leave the matter to the almighty whom she believes is a just God.