By the time he died in 1978, Jomo Kenyatta owned several beach properties.
Eliud Mahihu, the powerful Coast Provincial Commissioner, who had assumed the role of approving the buying of beach plots, hived off choice plots for the President, who was becoming reluctant to approve further allocations.
In this final part of the Seeds of Discord series, we reveal how Kenyatta acquired his plots at the Coast province and how other civil servants used their closeness to Mahihu to enrich themselves— a powerful example of how policy failure can have a long-standing impact on a nation.
We also reveal how Mahihu schemed to have absolute powers on the allocation of the plots and how Kenyatta was left with the role of vetting only sales to non-citizens and non-Africans.
It is not clear whether Mahihu and J. Njenga, the Lands commissioner, gave the Kenyatta family a beach plot to secure his indulgence but records show that two weeks after the Harambee House meeting, that was also attended by Geofrey Kariithi, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Mahihu sent copies duly signed by Mama Ngina Kenyatta to Mr Njenga for a beach plot title.
In a letter to Mr Njenga seen by Business Daily, Mahihu wrote: “As discussed and agreed I presented the certificate of title and I was requested to get the bit which has been surveyed and as soon as it has been completed I make full details at which we shall be able to demand the money for the other certificate.”
Mr Njenga appears not to have received feedback on his suggestions but Mahihu went ahead to instruct the Provincial surveyor to carve out some 9.056 acres for Kenyatta in Nyali Estate.
Mr Mahihu also managed to get Kenyatta approve his personal acquisition, through Mumi & Co Limited, of seven acres in Mombasa “between Malindi Road, public beach track and Coraldene track” and an additional three acres at the same location. Kenyatta approved the sale and acquisition on February 8, 1977.