The Promota Magazine
Worth $500 Million, Kenya’s richest man Uhuru Kenyatta now Kenyan President
Uhuru has seen it all, money, power, business and scandal, now the man has triumphed to rule one of East Africa’s fastest growing economies.
Uhuru Kenyatta, one of Kenya’s richest men and the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, has won the presidential election despite facing charges by the International Criminal Court of instigating and financing post-electoral violence in 2007.
Kenyatta makes history by becoming the East African nation’s youngest president (he’s 51) and the first son of a president to take power in a competitive election in East and Central Africa. Kenyatta won 50.07% of the total votes cast, in comparison to his closest rival, incumbent Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who polled 43% of the vote. Under Kenyan law, the winning candidate is required to win at least 50% of the total vote in order to avoid a second round runoff.
Shortly after Isaack Hassan, the chairman of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, made the announcement, an elated Kenyatta publicly thanked the country for electing him as the country’s new leader and promised to work for the benefit of everyone.
“We celebrate the triumph of democracy; the triumph of peace; the triumph of nationhood,” Kenyatta said. “Despite the misgivings of many in the world, we demonstrated a level of political maturity that surpassed expectations.”
But while the wealthy Kenyatta enjoys a strong and favorable following, particularly among Kenya’s young population, his victory is likely to upset international powers, because the International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted him for his role in the violence in the aftermath of the presidential elections of 2007. Prime Minister Raila Odinga accused the government at the time of rigging the vote, prompting widespread violence in which over 1,200 were killed and several thousands displaced. Kenyatta denies any wrongdoing.
Kenyatta has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College, in Massachusetts, U.S.A. On returning to the country after his studies, he founded a horticulture business which he subsequently sold in order to focus on managing his family’s extensive business holdings. They include a commercial bank, luxury hotels and vast holdings of land. Along with members of his family, Kenyatta owns at least 500,000 acres of prime land across Kenya. While it is documented that the land was legally acquired by his father in the 60s and 70s under a World Bank-supported settlement transfer funds scheme that allowed government officials to acquire land from the British colonialists at giveaway prices, Uhuru’s critics still maintain that the older Kenyatta unscrupulously grabbed land at the expense of ordinary Kenyans. The Kenyatta family land holdings alone are worth over $500 million and the family is renowned as one of the wealthiest in Kenya.
Kenyatta started his successful career in public service in 1999 when the Kenyan president at the time, Daniel Arap Moi, appointed him chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board. In 2001, he was elected to the Kenyan parliament and was made minister for Local Government. In 2008 he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister under the coalition government and assumed position of Minister of Finance in 2009. Now, he is 4th President of the Republic of Kenya.