1980: The Year Uhuru Kenyatta, Jimmy Wanjigi, Jimmy Kibaki Acted Together at the National Theater

May 8, 2019

If you’ve ever wondered just how Kenya’s elite is interwoven, then wonder no more. Big names you read about today in Kenya have very likely crossed paths in their past.

Most of this traces back to their parents. Many big names today in business or politics had very rich parents and their current status is mostly a continuation of the family wealth.

In the old days, and also to some extent today, there were not that many rich estates and ‘international’ schools in Nairobi. This meant that the same clique of wealthy families would send their children to the same schools and social joints.

As a result, children with very famous surnames; I’m talking Kenyatta, Kibaki, Gachukia, Mwiraria, Wanjigi, Michuki, Njonjo, Omamo etc, all know each other from their childhoods.

Many of these children have gone on to become famous politicians, ambassadors, wealthy businessmen and wheeler dealers, and others appointed to senior positions in the public service.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and businessman Jimmy Wanjigi are part of this group. The former had the president as his father, and the latter had a famous cabinet minister as his. In 2017, they somehow had a falling out and Wanjigi actively campaigned against his old friend.

The spectacle Kenyans were treated to masked the fact that Uhuru and Wanjigi have had a very long relationship, stretching back to their childhood days.

Appearing this week on ‘Cleaning The Airwaves’, Suzanne Gachukia spoke a lot about her music career.

Suzanne is daughter to the Gachukia’s, sister to Tony Gachukia and together with her siblings are the heirs to the Riara Schools empire.

She is also married to Kenya’s ambassador to Ireland, Richard Opembe.

Suzanne talked of this time fresh out of high school when she teamed up with Raychelle Omamo – defense secretary, and wrote a musical. It was titled ‘Endless Roads’ and this was back in 1980.

”Out of high school I get with Raychelle we teamed up (and) wrote a musical.” she said.

Showing how closely knit these families are, she added, ”and the president was in the musical… he was something, I can’t remember,.. worker with his buddies..” She revealed that they put up the musical at the national theater for two nights.

Apparently, then vice president Mwai Kibaki graced on the showing, which makes sense because his son Jimmy was in it too.

Cast of ‘Endless Roads’

Other than Jimmy Wanjigi, one of the other characters was Richard Opembe, who would go on to marry Suzanne.

Also among the cast was Maina Gakuo – brother to First Lady Margaret Kenyatta; Margaret Kibe – sister to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director General Gilbert Kibe; plus many other recognizable names.

Well, if this doesn’t prove that poor and middle class folks have to work 10 times as hard to make it in life, I don’t know what does.

Watch Suzanne Gachukia’s interview.

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