From a Kenyan magazine issue – The Weekly Review in September 1985.
The Receiver & Manager of Kenatco offered for sale the business and assets of the two businesses – haulage and taxis, either together or separately as going concerns. This meant the businesses were operating, and receiver/managers are usually appointed by financial institutions to take over what they see as struggling businesses that are having trouble paying their bank debts, but which could be turned around with better management. Banks do this before the businesses shut down completely. The Kenatco businesses were:
Haulage Comprising: 85 haulage trucks of various makes including Mack, Fiat, Mercedes, Leyland, and Volvo and 90 trailers of various makes including Vibert, York, and Miller.
Taxis: comprising 79 Mercedes-Benz 200 Saloon Car Taxis – petrol and diesel-powered.
The two businesses shared land including two leasehold plots – at Likoni Road, Nairobi (5.9 acres) and Changamwe Industrial Area, Mombasa (7.9 acres). Also on sale were service & administration vehicles, workshop plant & equipment as well as office furniture & equipment.
A document giving full particulars of the business and assets for sale was made available and could be obtained at a cost of Kshs 300/ – (refundable in the event of a successful purchase of the assets) from J .K. Muiruri, Joint Receiver and Manager, Kenatco Transport Company, Ltd., Alico House, P.O. Box 44286, NAIROBI Tel. 721833.
Offers were to reach the Receivers and Managers by 30th November 1985, and conditions were that the Receivers and Managers did not bind themselves to accept the highest or any tender for the businesses, and offers for individual assets would not be entertained.
A separate notice was also issued for the sale of other assets of Kenatco – which were surplus vehicles, equipment and scrap items that were not part of the “going concern” sale. The assets were located in two towns with offers due on October 19, 1985, and the receivers & managers described them as:
Yamaha motorcycle 100cc KTD 207 (1979), Boss forklift KND 686.
The scrap items included 468 tyres, 141 batteries (1979), 48 oil drums and 7 tonnes scrap metal (1973).
Other Kenatco articles:
Excerpt about the company: KENATCO, a cooperative with 9,000 members was very successful with profitable routes to Zambia, Angola, and Rhodesia until East African problems led to them not being allowed to carry heavy vehicle freight through Tanzania, and that government’s detention of one-third of their fleet.
This article gives the background and history of Kenatco. The Kenya National Transport Co-operative Society, as it was named in 1965, was the first transport business society in Kenya…The Kenatco pioneers had a big dream. So big, that they not only wanted to go into the haulage business, but also to buy some tourism boats and a plane to serve the local tourism market.
See the Hansard from Kenya’s parliament on 26 November 2008 that describes how the Kenatco receivership came about.
Kenatco is still under receivership. In 2016, Receiver Manager John Ndung’u said that finance costs are driving the company into losses, even though it has been making an operating profit since 2002.
Kenatco still exists as a Kenatco Taxis Ltd. a fully fledged government parastatal wholly owned by ICDC. It is Kenya’s leading, most reliable value-for-money taxi company, with a clean and modern fleet, efficient back-office infrastructure, on-the-road back up services, for that comfortable and safe drive, pick up and drop off at whichever location within Kenya.
Also see this Nation column by John Kamau about how Kenatco re-entered receivership in 1983, leading to this particular auction of their assets.
Today, loan interest rates are capped at 14%, but what were they like twenty years ago? Here are excerpts from a Weekly Review magazine issue from December 1997 a time of pre-election jitters, election financing, donor funding cutoffs, high inflation after Goldenberg, a depressed property market, and collapsing banks. This was after the move to streamline the sector through a universal banking law which led more financial institutions to convert into commercial banks, and later to merge.
Commercial bank base lending rates
Habib Bank 25%
Kenya Commercial Bank
Equatorial Commercial Bank
Co-Op Merchant Bank
Credit Agricole Indosuez
National Bank of Kenya
Fidelity Commercial Bank
Barclays Bank of Kenya
Investment & Mortgages Bank
Consolidated Bank of Kenya
City Finance Bank
Habib A.G. Zurich
Bank of Baroda
Habib African Bank
Standard Chartered Bank
Bank of India
First American Bank
Interest rates, from a Weekly Review magazine, December 1997
Commercial Bank of Africa
ABN Amro Bank
African Banking Corporation
Middle East Bank
First National Fin. Bank
National Industrial Credit Bank
Ari Bank Corporation
Southern Credit Bank
Diamond Trust Bank
What companies were listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, twenty years ago, in 1997? A chart of listed shares appeared in Financial Review which was a popular magazine that featured business, and later political stories.
Bamburi Portland Cement
Barclays Bank of Kenya
Car & General
Credit Finance (later CFC, now Stanbic?)
Dunlop Kenya (now Olympia)
East African Breweries
East African Cables
East African Portland Cement
E. A. Oxygen (now BOC)
ICDC Investment (rebranded as Centum)
George Williamson (Williamson Tea)
Kenya Oil (Kenol)
Kenya Power & Lighting
Nation Printers & Publishers (now Nation Media Group)
National Industrial Credit (now NIC Bank)
Pan Africa Insurance (now Sanlam Kenya)
A. Baumann & Co
Brooke Bond (became Unilever Tea)
Ol Pejeta Ranching
Uplands Bacon Company
African Tours & Hotels (now Kenya Safari Lodges)
City Brewery Investments
E. A Bag & Cordage
E. A . Packaging
E. A. Road Services
Kenya National Mills (absorbed into Unga)
KCC (there’s now New KCC)
Motor Mart & Exchange
Pearl Dry Cleaners
Philip Harrison & Crossfield
This Standardarticle explains what happened to some of the companies. e.g. City Brewery manufactured City Lager beer, and Theta was a tea factory while many others were bought out or went out of business,
Excerpts from the Memoirs of a Kenyan Spymaster, a unique autobiography by Bart Joseph Kibati who worked in national intelligence for over two decades, where his job was to, with others in the business, identify and analyze threats and advise the government. It is a revealing look at many sectors of his life (he got married the same day that Tom Mboya was shot), Kenya’s transformation in the independence era, the business environment, and the state of security in East Africa and international relations, while serving in two administrations during which he interacted with Presidents’ Kenyatta and Moi.
Police & Cattle & Remote areas
Cattle rustling by cattle raiders – Ngorokos (former soldier) has long been a feature in Kenya, with Laikipia and Samburu raids spilling over to Turkana, Baringo and Isiolo areas. Suguta Valley where over 40 police were killed in 2012 is a place that police have long avoided going to for years because of the dangers.
While the ‘Ngoroko’ plot against Moi, was a myth, it was based a well-intended idea to have an elite fighting unit to chase and deal with bandits.
For decades, Lamu’s Boni forest, which is near the Somalia border, has been a hideout for poachers & bandits and this has been sustained by poor policing practices in the area and support by local tribes.
East Africa & Leadership Styles
Some keen observations on some of the factors such as economic desires, ideology & actions of leaders – Kenyatta, Nyerere and Obote/Amin and other political party & government officials in the run-up to why the East Africa community collapsed.
Two days after the signing of an East African a treaty in 1963, there were coup attempts in all three EAC countries.
To make their decisions, Kenyatta relied on finished intelligence information, while Moi wanted raw information.
Moi wanted to know why the Kikuyu hated him and Bart told him about quotas in education and government, and the collapse of their banks (which were rolled into Consolidated Bank) and area infrastructure, to which Moi replied: “How can the government build infrastructure if they ask donors not to release funds?”
Industry & Economy
Beach plots allocated by the President and partnership with hoteliers resulted in massive hotel empires at the coast or wealth from selling utility plots – by people around the president.
The greed of property developers and corruption of environmental regulators.
The government moved to grant duty-free cars to university lecturers in a move to pacify their radical ways.
Coffee smuggling from Uganda, through Chepkube, opened the eyes of many people in government, including police, to quick great wealth that could come from corruption.
The Numerical Machine Corporation was a success. It just could not shed the ‘Nyayo car’ tag.
Human Resources & Working in the Government:
When he finished form four at Mangu High School, he had job offers to work at East African Airways, Barclays Bank, the Post Office, Kenyatta University, and also the option to continue his schooling at A levels!
The recent repeal of indemnity for security forces (and TJRC) makes it hard to do police work such as combating terror threats and is a demonization of patriots.
How colleagues, and politicians scheme to transfer, promote or demote other security staff.
There is no pension for older Kenyans who, while experienced, are discarded under the guise that they are preventing youth from getting jobs. It seems the Government hopes they will die soon and stop draining the meagre government pension.
There were no successful coups in Kenya due to (long-term spymaster chief) Kanyotu and the Special Branch. The 1982 coup was unnecessary; It could have been stopped but for a leak and bureaucracy. But Kanyotu was later misled by Pattni into the Goldenberg scam.
The more open that national intelligence services become, with things like having a visible head (of tee NIS) and a website, the less effective they have become.
Finally, he ends by asking if Kenya is facing more terror attacks, urban crimes, and rural banditry today because the country doesn’t have a functional intelligence collecting unit. Or there’s more reliance on technical intelligence than human intelligence by a demoralized, ethnicized spy unit.
Some revelations in Spymaster are shocking, but many of the stories have been cited elsewhere with different interpretations, and many of the people named have passed on, or circumstances have changed. Also another story elsewhere, quotes Lee Njiru a long time civil servant who says that: (the) Official Secrets Act binds civil servants to keep secrets for 30 years and the period had elapsed and he was now free to share what he knows.
Also read The Birth of an Airline by Owaahh, which narrates from the Spymaster book, about the break-up of East African Airways and the birth of Kenya Airways.
Excerpts from his recently published official biography – Against All Odds.
– He worked at customs department at the port of Mombasa where he was disgusted by the bribery he saw. He did his pupillage at Kaplan & Straton. Later he got a Rotary Club scholarship to study business management at Cyprus and he was poached to work at Manu Chandaria’s Comcraft in the legal department.
Lost the 1983 election and came fourth. But when the MP was shot two years later by a policeman, occasioning a by-election, Kalonzo reluctantly entered that and won.
He has always been touched by the poverty he saw when he grew up and launched the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation in January 2006 which worked with Shelter Afrique to launch affordable housing for rural women in Kitui.
Cabinet & Economic Intrigues
KANU era: Mwingi is one of the fastest growing towns in Kenya because of the water it gets from Kiambere-Mwingi. But that was only after he fought off powerful forces after he secured $116 million from the Italian government – a powerful voice who wanted it to go to the National Water & Pipeline Corporation but Kalonzo steered it to TARDA so it did not become a white elephant.
CHOGM The Commonwealth Summit in New Zealand which was attended by Mandela was almost overshadowed by ‘Bull of Auckland’ incident. But Kalonzo explained the incident to officials there so that it did not reach the media there or affect the ongoing summit. But it did leak afterward in the Kenya media.
When Tony Blair praised him before President Moi after the 1997 CHOGM, he knew had lost his Foreign Affairs docket – and after the elections, he was moved to the Education & Manpower ministry.
In 1998 he fled teachers striking outside his office by hiding in his wife’s car. He then got Mulu Mutisya and elders to negotiate a settlement with teachers union (KNUT) and the strike was called off the following day.
Moi was shocked at the excesses of Mobutu when they visited Gbadolite – his hometown and said “River Ubangi could generate electricity for all of Africa.
South Africa: After Kenya had in 1963 turned down an ANC request to set up a base in Nairobi, Moi worked hard to mend fences with South Africa after Mandela was freed, and Mandela thanked Moi for $1 million that Kenya gave to ANC during apartheid struggle. Mandela also made a secret visit to Nairobi when he fell ill on a flight in April 1990, then returned for an official visit in July.
NARC: Free primary education was Kalonzo’s brainchild as education minister. When Kibaki became the NARC candidate in 2002, Kalonzo gave the campaign team all the papers and policies that he had written – including on FPE that was soon implemented by the new government.
MOU breach: Happened when Kibaki moved Kalonzo from Foreign Affairs to Natural Resources. All NARC summit leaders had a choice of their ministerial dockets – and he had chosen Foreign Affairs, Raila had taken Roads & Public Works and Moody chose Home Affairs.
Jubilee: After beating back a “feeble” Musalia (for president) effort, Uhuru and Ruto turned on to him; and his reunion with Raila started the day Uhuru and Ruto returned from the ICC hearings and after (vice president) Kalonzo had met them at the airport and driven around Nairobi with them.