By Prudence Minayo
By the time of his death, Samwel Ngetich was a well known businessman and politician. He was also a philanthropist who is said to have sponsored over 5,000 students. His lack of formal education did not impede his success in business. At his peak, he owned a chain of supermarkets across Kericho, Kisumu, Bomet, Narok, Nandi and Nakuru. He also had major interests in the tea processing and farming world.
This is his story as told by WoK.
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The businessman was born in Chepsetyon Village, Kericho county in 1949. He joined Keongo Primary School in 1956 and ended up dropping out in class three.
He took up menial jobs to eke a living. In order to take care of his siblings, he weeded people’s maize and dug pit latrines. During village market days, he acted as a chicken broker.
He went on to work as a waiter before opening a small eatery at Kapsoit Shopping Center where he sold tea and mandazi and later on tried his hands in the matatu sector. His business streak did not stop there, as he opened a bar and restaurant. As his income continued, he ventured into other sectors including real estate and the wholesale business.
He visited China in order to broaden his entrepreneur skills and afterwards ventured into the mining and construction industry.
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While his business empire was on an upward trajectory, along the way, he also lost a lot. Seven of the businesses he began collapsed. Once, he had nine matatus on the road but he lost all of them. Before venturing into the wholesale business, which grew to supermarkets, he had lost his shop.
Despite the challenges, he grew his business acumen and at the time of his death was the chairman of Kipchimchim Group of Companies. Companies under his stable included: Kipchimatt Supermarkets, Mbogo Valley, ABSS Warehouse Limited, Sangalo Tet and Kuresoi Tea companies, SABS Mining and Construction Company and West Valley Sugar Company.
In 1996, he became the KANU chairman for Kericho Town ward.
In 1997 and 2002, he won the Kapkugerwet ward seat and in 2013 became the first Member of County Assembly (MCA) for Kapkugerwet ward. He had also served as the deputy mayor of the previous Kericho Municipality.
The late Samwel Ngetich was the son of the late Zacharia Kipngetich Arap Berenge and the late Bornes Taplelei. He was married to Ruth Ngetich and was blessed with eight children: Hellen Bett, Alfred Soi, Edna Korir, Benard Soi, Stanley Soi, Caroline Kurgat, Leonida Sankei and Sharon Chepkoech.
His children have been credited for being strong forces in the propelling of the late politician’s business interests
He passed away on 25th August 2022 while undergoing treatment at MP Shah Hospital.