She is not a girl anymore, she is a woman, a woman who has seen all in the Kenyan corporate scene, passed through the shady worlds of Health Ministry, and now juggling the equally murky world of Transport Ministry like a pro.
Irene Nanayu Osoro, is your quintessential power woman, who doesn’t hesitate to reap where she has not sown.
Many Kenyans have wondered how when President Uhuru Kenyatta fired some Cabinet Secretaries a few years ago over graft, mismanagement and mediocrity, one James Macharia now heading the Transport Ministry got spared. In fact, Mr Macharia seems like the proverbial cat with nine lives; he, despite his many glaring incompetence doesn’t get the sack.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has spared him for some reason, which most Kenyans can guess right.
However, it is Mr. James Macharia’s relationship with his female Personal Assistant Irene Nanayu that is subject of this article.
Ms Nanayu came to the Civil service with Macharia when he was appointed to the Cabinet as CS Health in April 2013. The PA – Boss relationship that had been nurtured at NIC Bank (now part of NCBA owned by the Kenyatta family) has extended well beyond one ministry. Nanayu, from the look of things, is a very loyal servant to the CS. And there’s more.
Sources whisper that Nanayu is the go-to guy for those who ‘seek blessings’ to win government tenders, first at the Health Ministry, then now at the Transport Ministry.
In order to know the measure of her power, it is Nanayu that introduced former Journalist Mwaniki Munuhe to the world of cartels. The younger Munuhe used the skills he learnt from Nanayu to fleece National Youth Service (NYS). He was part of the people named in the first NYS scandal, where the public lost Ksh792 million.
The money that Munuhe got from doing propaganda for the looters of NYS turned him into a wheeler-dealer who went on to scam the Maasai people of their Kedong Ranch. It is appalling that that takeover has a murder rumor in it.
‘The Kedong ranch story is s very sad one’, stated one resident in December, 2019.
In November 2019, over 300 people held demos at Suswa Trading Centre to protest the construction of a perimeter wall in the land locking them inside with no way out. The land had been hived off for the construction of the multi-billion Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha.
Now, before Mwaniki’s dad became a board member of Kedong Ranch, the previous board member from Muhotetu was shot dead at his home by hitmen. Since dead men tell no tales, the man’s widow knows the hitmen since they were with the husband when he was killed but cannot dare report them.
Mwaniki Munuhe fortunes rose rapidly; he owns a couple of building notably three blocks of apartments in Thindigua, bought in cash. He also owns Dove Cage Hotel on Mokhtar Dada street, Mercury Lounge in ABC Place Westlands, and currently developing a Ksh. 800 million hotel in Rumuruti where he comes from. The contractor on site for the hotel Chinese construction company known as Hunan Contractors.
Nanayu and the connections
Back to Nanayu, during their time at the Health Minister, Nanayu-linked company Estama Limited won the tender to supply mobile clinics for urban slums. One container that averagely cost Ksh1.4 million was sold for Ksh10 million to the government. When the scandal broke, the looters walked away rich while the container-clinics rotted away at the NYS yard in Miritini, Mombasa. Some of the mobile clinics were moved to Nairobi’s Mathare National Teaching and Referral Hospital in late 2019.
Estama Investment Limited is owned Njage Makanga, the husband to Ms Nanayu.
Irene Nanayu as stated before is the one that connects tenderpreneurs to the tenders at the Transport Ministry, a job she had perfectly executed at the Health Ministry. At the Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works Ministry mediocrity reigns Supreme. Remember the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines drawn all over Thika superhighway? That misadvised project had stalled because of among other things poor planning.
Nonetheless, people like Nanayu with their long arms never walk away empty handed. It is in such vague projects that they make money.
Immediately after moving from NIC Bank, James Macharia awarded MedAfrica a contract to supply medicine and other supplies to the Ministry of Health.
MedAfrica is owned by Nanayu through a proxy Naomi Wanjiku Mirithu who is her sister.
Ms. Wanjiku Mirithu owns a fifth of Medafrica Limited with the other shareholding being held by Njage Makanga.
These companies and other unnamed win tenders at the Ministry of Transport with ease.
In the failed BRT buses tenders, Macharia is still pushing to import buses from South Africa instead of giving specifications to the local firms to do it, which will be cheaper.
After all is said and done, a source whispers that the Nanayu – Macharia duo are going to make a ‘killing’ from BRT tenders.
“The reason they had pushed for the BRT is so as to eat. They get kickbacks from South African firms that are given the tenders”, stated the source.
As the sun sets today, one woman sits powerfully at the Transport Ministry in Kenya with a lot of unexplained cash in her account gotten from tenders and just like most deep criminal elements in the Kenyan society, her photos aren’t online.
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