5 Foreign Tycoons Who Married Kenyan Women 

A collage of Dutch Tycoon Tob Cohen, Former Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore and Former US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannerberger (1).jp
A collage of former Taita Taveta Woman Rep Joyce Lay and her husband William Lay (left) and Ruth Konchella and her husband Michael Rannerberger.

It is often the case that Kenyans tend to complain about their country more than they count the many blessings that make it a beautiful land. 

For some visitors, however, Kenya is too sweet a place to resist its charm and alluring calmness. 

Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at some of the foreign nationals who came and fell in love with the country and its people.

The late Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.
The late Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore.
Bob Collymore

Bob Collymore

Bob Collymore first came to Kenya in 2010 after he was appointed to succeed Michael Joseph as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Safaricom. After keeping his love life in the shadows, the British Tycoon of Guyanese origin tied the knot with Wambui Kamiru on  April 2, 2016.

Collymore and Kamiru kept their wedding private, with only close friends and family invited to witness them exchange vows. 

Before her marriage to the telco CEO, Wambui led a quiet life, running a commercial gallery: The Art Space in Nairobi.

Collymore died in July 2019 after battling cancer for two years. According to the friends who eulogised him, the corporate executive had deliberately chosen Kenya as the place where he would meet his maker - even declining last-minute appeals to seek medical interventions abroad. 

Former US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannerberger.
Former US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannerberger.
Michael Rannerberger.

Michael Rannerberger 

Former US Ambassador Michael Rannerberger reported for duty in Nairobi in August 2006 after being appointed by President George Bush. Among his first tasks as US Ambassador in Kenya was to empower women in the push for gender equity and this saw him visit a women's group in Trans Mara. 

The visit saw him meet up with Ruth Konchella, who spoke passionately about the place of women in an advanced society. It was love at first sight for the diplomat who married Ruth a few months later. 

Ten years later in 2016, the couple formalised their legal union with a traditional wedding that became the talk of Kilgoris town where Ruth hails from. 

The ambassador paid 20 cows as dowry and the local traders had a boom as they were quoted by the media bragging that they sold each cow at Ksh40,000 instead of the usual rate of Ksh20,000. 

Although Rannerberger's tour of duty ended in 2011, the couple continues to maintain a home in Kenya - much as they frequent the US where the former envoy runs a consultancy firm, Gainful Solutions.

FormerTaita Taveta Woman Rep Joyce Lay (left) and her husband, William Lay.jpg
Former Taita Taveta Woman Rep Joyce Lay (left) and her husband, William Lay.jpg
William Lay

William Lay

Lay was born in the United States where he spent the first five decades of his life. In 2001, he was posted to Kenyan to work for the American multinational General Motors in its East African office. 

It was while working for the company that he met a Kenyan entrepreneur Joyce Mwakalindo (now Joyce Lay) and fell in love. The two tied the knot in a colourful ceremony held in 2007. In 2013, Joyce was elected as Taita Taveta Woman Representative. 

William, on the other hand, gained Kenyan citizenship and moved to a security firm where he served as head of marketing to date. 

The couple briefly divorced at the height of the heated 2017 campaigns but their unique love saw them re-marry in 2019. 

“I had to pray about it and my heart found peace. I also spoke to my few confidants and prayer partners who encouraged me to go with an open mind. We had not slept under the same roof for four years, so it was not something that I would just jump into,” the former Woman Rep said of their reunion. 

Jonathan Moyo

Moyo trained as a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe before joining the University of Southern California. He was later posted to Kenya as an expatriate who worked as a Programme Officer attached to the Ford Foundation in Nairobi. 

Here, Moyo met a Kenyan woman - Beatrice - and the two fell in love before getting married in the early 1990s. After his tour of office ended in 1997, Moyo moved to South Africa where he taught briefly before returning to his home country in 2000 where he became of the rising political stars in President Robert Mugabe's government. 

Moyo and his wife's sojourn in Zimbabwe saw Jonathan rise to become of the most powerful ministers in the Mugabe Cabinet.  However, it ended dramatically in 2015 after Mugabe was ousted in a coup that saw Moyo nearly assassinated over his association with the Zimbabwean strongman. 

The couple escaped to Kenya where they live despite reports of the Zimbabwean government pushing for Moyo’s extradition.

Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe alongside former Minister of Higher education, Jonathan Moyo on  July 6, 2015.
Former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe alongside former Minister of Higher education, Jonathan Moyo on July 6, 2015.

Tob Cohen

Tob Cohen was a Dutch businessman who moved to Kenya as an employee of Philips East Africa - a multinational company that specializes in Health Systems, Personal Health and Lighting solutions.

Cohen later resigned to form Tobs Limited in 1991, a company that specialized in executive tourism, organizing and planning luxurious golf safari trips, travel planning and event management. Tobs Limited became synonymous with golf safaris and expanded in Sub-saharan Africa.

The Dutchman later ventured into medical tourism and assisted Kenyans looking for quality and affordable health services in Thailand other than India.

He married his personal assistant, Sarah Wairimu in 2007 in a traditional Kikuyu wedding ceremony. 

Cohen lived large and amassed wealth running into billions, with his wife listed as one of his business partners. Their marriage was cut short after he was found dead in a septic tank in his house in Kitusuru. The matter is still being prosecuted in the courts. 

Businessman Tob Cohen whose body was found murdered on September 13, 2019 and wife Sarah Cohen
Businessman Tob Cohen whose body was found murdered on September 13, 2019 and wife Sarah Cohen
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