Simeon Nyachae

For more than a decade and a half, Nyaribari Chache MP, Mr Simeon Nyachae, has been the undisputed king of Gusii politics.  Now 74, Nyachae says he is about to retire from competitive politics because of his health.  "I’m telling you this in advance to let you think of a possible successor who is capable of steering the constituency to the next level," Nyachae told his people on Monday. Nyachae says he is only waiting for the final word from his doctors in London.

The former powerful Provincial Commissioner was Ford-People presidential candidate in Dec 2002 and emerged third after President Kibaki (Narc) and Uhuru Kenyatta (Kanu). His party captured all seats in Kisii, Nyamira and Gucha, dealing a big blow to the careers of politicians like Prof Sam Ongeri and Mr Chris Obure, both former ministers.

Publicly declared the Government bankrupt

Before that, former President Moi also appointed Nyachae the Minister for Finance between 1997-1998. His Finance ministry job, however, soon ended when he publicly declared the Government bankrupt. He was transferred to the Ministry of Industry in early 1999, a position he declined, opting to resign from Government. Before that, he had served as the Minister for Agriculture between 1992 and 1997. Earlier, the former President had appointed Nyachae the Chief Secretary in Kenya’s Civil Service, a position he held between 1984 and 1987.
The man whose word is never taken lightly in the entire Gusii land, on Monday said: "Many of you have been asking whether I will contest again and why I have not been in the constituency. It is because of my health," the MP said. He added that there was no point of a leader clinging onto power when his or her health failed him. The announcement came as a surprise, because Nyachae had a few weeks earlier said only death would end his political career.

Early exposure to western education

Nyachae was born on Feb 6, 1932, in Kisii District of Nyanza Province to the then powerful colonial chief of the location, Mr Musa Nyandusi. His father facilitated his early exposure to western education. He was himself a mission-educated graduate who used his strong influence to be appointed chief. Born in a large polygamous family, Nyachae was fortunate that his father liked him more than his elder brother, Mr James Oiruria, who was less outgoing.

In 1941, his father put him in Nyanchwa Seventh Day Adventist School and later in 1947 he joined Kereri Intermediate School. However, two years later, he joined Kisii Government African School, but in 1953, a year before he sat for the then Ordinary Level School Certificate, he withdrew from the school and was employed at his father’s chief camp as a district clerk in 1954. Nyachae’s long career in the Civil Service began at this point.  In 1957, Nyachae’s father arranged for his admission to study public administration in London.

A wealthy businessman

Upon his return to Kenya in 1960, Nyachae was posted as a District Officer in Kangundi Division. Later he returned to Churchill College, Cambridge, for a diploma in public administration.He returned in 1964 and went back to the Provincial Administration. Nyachae steadily rose up the ladder within the Provincial Administration, serving as Provincial Commissioner and later chief secretary in the Civil Service, under the Kenyatta and Moi governments.Nyachae is a wealthy businessman with interests in milling, industrial factories and large-scale farming. His business empire is based in Kisii, Rift Valley and Nairobi, among other places.
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