Jun 15, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Boda boda riders in village of billionaires on mission to establish bank

Some 2,300 boda-bodas from the three wards of Kangema — Rwathia, Muguru and Kanyenyaini — have in six months saved Sh23.5 million, and they believe this is the beginning of their dream to found a bank.

Under the umbrella Kangema Progressive Boda boda Sacco, each member registers with Sh100 and thereafter, gives a daily contribution of Sh50. By May 15, the savings in a local bank totalled Sh23.7 million.

According to the patron of the project dubbed Kangema Boda boda Youths Vision 2026, Mr Johnson Mukuha, “we want to walk the same path our grandfathers took after independence, when they bought land and built commercial buildings.”

“Our plan is simple but big. If we were to arrange ourselves into three saccos at the ward level, then come together in the summit leadership as 3,500-strong membership, we will be good to go. The plan is to be saving Sh50 daily, which will translate to Sh5.25 million per month and Sh63 million savings per year,” he explains.

Mr Mukuha says that if this amount is further multiplied by four as total credit worth by financial institutions, the opportunity of accessing Sh252 million loan gets real.

“If we save for five years, our total savings will hit Sh315 million to qualify for a Sh1.26 billion commercial loan and besides divesting in high return sectors, take a shot at founding our own bank by 2026,” Mr Mukuha says, adding that daring to actualise dreams is the thrill of progressive minds.

Transform society

“This tells you that our dream is very valid and the worst we can do is let our vision slip through our fingers. It is very possible that just like the way Equity and Family banks started with a small dream at village level, but which was executed in a smart way, by 2026 we will have a bank owned by boda-boda riders from Kangema,” he says.

The Banking Act requires financial institutions to maintain a minimum core capital of Sh1 billion.

Mr Mukuha says their model is similar to the one of their grandfathers, “only that in investing and divesting, we seek to fast-track our success period and profit elasticity.”

He says the enterprise mentality of their grandfathers and fathers in Kangema Sub County is their reference point of how determination can transform society.

Kangema is home to tycoons like Gerald Gikonyo, who co-founded Rwathia Distributors, and the late Gerishon Kirima who ended up being economic powerhouses despite their limited education.

Rwathia is also rural home to successful businessmen like Dr James Mwangi, the Equity bank CEO, Peter Munga, former board chairman Equity, insurer Britam’s Benson Wairegi and business man Jimnah Mbaru.

In 1984, Mr Munga had founded Equity Building Society (EBS) in his hometown of Kangema, which would grow to be the success story that is Equity Bank.

Grand plan

Mr James Gituku, a member of the group, also shares the vision to form a savings and credit cooperative society (Sacco) at each ward level and eventually form an umbrella outfit that will have a summit of leaders drawn from seasoned businessmen to guide them into their grand plan.

“Unlike our grandfathers who were illiterate, we are literate. Unlike them who had no connections to mobilise resources from and relied on farming and savings, we are living in a relatively modern world with all opportunities open for us,” says Mr Gituku.

Area MCAs Peter Mweri, Jeremiah Kihara and Maina Ngundo say they will collectively lobby the county government to play its part in helping the group realise the dream.

On October 30, last year, Deputy President William Ruto led a fundraiser for one of the groups — Kangema Boda Boda Sacco with 722 riders at the General Kago Stadium in Kangema.
The harambee fetched Sh2.8 million that is part of the savings.

Dr Ruto encouraged the group to pursue their dream, informing them that they were lucky they don’t have to look far for encouragement.

“Right here in your sub county lies the story of how unity of purpose, discipline of managing the little returns to pool investment capital and sheer determination to succeed enabled young boys, most of whom are now deceased, to transform their lives through hawking vegetables, selling charcoal and wattle bark,” the DP said.

He promised to be their first customer if they achieve the dream of owning a bank.

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