How I started multi-billion firm as a lecturer with Sh2,000 salary - Raila

Raila's firm is the only private company in Kenya that supplies gas cylinders.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga has explained how he was able to build his manufacturing company East Africa Spectre while working as a lecturer at the University of Nairobi.

In a video shared on his Twitter on Thursday, June 24, Odinga said that he was approached by a friend who knew a businessman selling manufacturing equipment at a throwaway price.

The businessman had fled Uganda which was under the late Iddi Amin at the time and wanted to escape to UK.

The former Prime Minister met the Indian who asked for Sh12,000 for all the equipment which included rolling machines, welding machines and sheet metal cutting machines.

The entire machinery was being sold at Sh12,000 which I didn’t have, my salary was only Sh2000, so I sold my car to raise the cash and that is how I started,” he said.

At the time, Odinga was driving a left-handed Opel made in Germany.

I rented a go-down in Industrial Area on Kingston Road now called Kampala Road and started manufacturing casements, windows, steel doors and other items and we were up and running,” he added.

Raila said he began manufacturing gas cylinders after a white investor from Agip Oil Company revealed to him they had a shortage and were searching for local firms that could make them.

He had experience working at a cylinder manufacturing company in Germany, so he obtained samples from Agip, retooled, and began producing gas cylinders.

One of his clients from Germany told advised Odinga to take up a loan to scale up his manufacturing plant.

When he came to my workshop and saw what we were doing, he was impressed and took me to Kenya Industrial Estate under ICDC and that is how I went to Kenya Industrial Estate,” he explained.

Currently, his wife Ida Odinga runs the firm as its managing director according to the company’s website.

German-trained Engineer Israel Agina is a Co-managing director at the firm.

Before taking up the role Ida is said to have been trained in administration and management at the Kenya Institute of Administration.

The former PM is one of the directors and his brother Oburu is the chairman.

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