Kenya Women Billionaires: Leah Wanjiku Muguku of The Waterfront Karen

  • A file image of the Waterfront Karen
    A file image of the Waterfront Karen
    (Courtesy)
  • Leah Wanjiku was a teacher at the Kagaa Primary School in Githunguri, Kiambu County when she fell in love with a lecturer, the late Nelson Muguku, who worked at a nearby college.

    Muguku was not content with his job and this prompted him to quit. His decision was not only viewed as unpopular but was ridiculed by people close to him, including his own parents and boss.

    With just Ksh2,000, two hens and a cock, Muguku, who was in his mid 20s at the time, ventured into a rather unpopular start up at the time: poultry farming business. It is around this time that he asked Wanjiku for her hand in marriage, and she said 'yes'.

    The late Nelson Muguku
    The late Nelson Muguku
    File

    Years later, the couple would be blessed with seven children.

    In 1963, Wanjiku quit her teaching job and joined her husband in the poultry rearing business. Together, they would build an empire that saw them become among the few Kenyans with the billionaire status.

    Two years into the poultry business, they had saved up enough to buy a 2-acre farm that they would later name Star Ltd. It is in this farm that they started a hatchery with a 9,000-egg incubator.

    The farm was later named Muguku Poultry Farm.

    The farm supplied day-old chicks and eggs to many including the last Governor of the colonial era, Sir Malcolm MacDonald, and Kenya’s first Prime Minister, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

    By the time he passed on in October 2010, Muguku had acquired a 6.08 per cent stake at a local bank before it was listed. He became the bank's largest individual shareholder for years.

    In a 2018 report by Knight Frank, Wanjiku was listed as one of the 23 women billionaire's in the country.

    She is said to own a 0.9 per cent stake at a local bank, which is estimated at Ksh1.2 billion.

    At one point, Wanjiku was ranked second on the list of highly trading women on the Nairobi Stock Exchange market. She was trading Ksh306.9 million at the time.

    In addition, Muguku's widow owns the Ksh3 billion Waterfront mall in Nairobi's upmarket Karen estate.

    The mall owners pride themselves in offering world-class shopping and lifestyle experience for everyone. An artificial lake sits on a space of 3 acres complemented by 5 acres of the landscaped lakefront.

    A file image of Muguku Poultry Farming products
    A file image of Muguku Poultry Farming products
    File