Last Minute Deal That Saved Raila's Empire

  • Former Prime minister Raila Odinga. A former friend of his father, Jaramogi Odinga' revealed how he had helped keep young Raila's company afloat in the 80s. Twitter
  • George Wachira, a petroleum consultant in Kenya narrated to the Business Daily how Raila Odinga's father approached him seeking a deal that would save his son's business empire.

    The incident happened in 1986 when Wachira was the director in charge of the supply chain logistics at Esso energy.

    Jaramogi Oginga made an impromptu visit to his office after East African Spectre (EAS), a company founded by his son Raila, had imported steel to manufacture LPG cylinders for companies that later grew political cold feet.

    Jaramogi Odinga (second left) and Mr George Wachira (right) during a business partners cocktail party at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi in 1986.
    Jaramogi Odinga (second left) and Mr George Wachira (right) during a business partners cocktail party at the Stanley Hotel, Nairobi in 1986.

    This was a time when the then President Daniel Toritich Arap Moi was clamping down on businesses that belonged to or were seen to be sympathetic to opposition politicians including Jaramogi who was the chairman for EAS.

    "He explained that EAS had imported a lot of steel on the strength of promised cylinder orders from Shell, Caltex and Agip.

    However, only Agip had firmed its order, with the other two multinationals refusing to commit orders after developing political cold feet,"  Wachira stated.

    Wachira in his capacity promised to have Esso purchase all the cylinders that EAS would avail only if Jamaramogi would let the commercial manager deal with the petroleum company from then on.

    When the first batch of cylinders was delivered, the EAS commercial manager went into Wachira's office having been sent by Jaramogi and informed him that the government had cancelled all EAS credit facilities leaving the company with meagre working capital.

    “Mzee says that since you have already decided to walk with us, can you assist further and alter payment terms from 30 days to pay on delivery,” the commercial manager revealed.

    Wachira divulged that he forwarded the request to his CEO and it was approved, saving EAS from going under.

    LPG cylinders
    LPG cylinders. Raila's EAS had imported a lot of steel on the strength of promised cylinder orders.