Before we can answer the question about how much land is owned by the Kenyatta family, we will need to examine their family tree. We will look at former president Jomo Kenyatta, his wives and children and then proceed to look at the real estate assets owned by this famous First Family.
Kenyatta Family: Background Info.
Jomo Kenyatta was born in 1890 as Johnstone Kamau Ngengi. He married four wives in total that bore him 8 children. Of the eight children, the most famous one is his second last born, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. He is the current president of the Republic of Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother is Ngina Kenyatta. She is the last wife Jomo Kenyatta married and remained married until his death in 1978.
Other than Ngina Kenyatta, the other wives belonging to Jomo Kenyatta includes: Grace Wahu (first wife), Edna Clarke (second wife) and Grace Wanjiku (third wife). Contrary to the popular believe, Kenya’s first president was not a polygamist. But that will be up for debate for example whereas his marriage to Edna Clarke ended when Jomo Kenyatta departed England for Kenya, there is no known divorce between the couple. Due to that fact, most people think he remarried while still legally married to his white wife in England.
With his wife Grace Wahu whom he married in 1922, Jomo Kenyatta had two children: Peter Muigai who was born in 1922 and Margaret Kenyatta who was born seven years later in 1929. Peter Muigai served as an Assistant Foreign Minister before his death in 1979. Margaret Kenyatta, on the other hand served as the Mayor of Nairobi (1970-79) and later as the Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations (1976-86). She died in 2017.
Jomo Kenyatta married his second wife Edna Clarke in 1942. Together, they had one child named Peter Magana Kenyatta who was born in 1944. Peter Magana is still living in England to date after retiring as a broadcaster with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). His mom however died in 1995 at the age of 86.
In 1946, Jomo Kenyatta married his third wife Grace Wanjiku. Unfortunately, Wanjiku died in 1951 while giving birth to their daughter Jane Wambui who survived the ordeal.
The same year Wanjiku died, Jomo Kenyatta married his fourth wife, Ngina Kenyatta. Ngina Kenyatta will turn to be an instrumental figure for Jomo Kenyatta’s presidency. She is the one who was addressed as the “First Lady” for she appeared publicly with him in many functions. She is the one who lived with Kenyatta until his death in 1978.
She bore Christine Wambui Kenyatta in 1953 followed by Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 1961), Anna Nyokabi Muthama Kenyatta in May 1963, and finally Muhoho Kenyatta in 1965.
Land Ownership by the Kenyatta Family
The extended Kenyatta family alone owns an estimated 500,000 acres – approximately the size of Nyanza Province – according to estimates by independent surveyors and Ministry of Lands officials. (This report first appeared in the Standard Newspaper report by Mr. Otieno Namwaya).
Since the land owned by the Kenyatta family is held in various family members’ names, it is difficult to keep track of all the land owned by them. But the most well known parcel of land owned by the Kenyattas includes the 24,000 acres in Taveta sub county adjacent to the 74,000 acres owned by former MP Basil Criticos, whereby the title deeds are grabbed by a bank.
The Kenyatta family also owns 50,000 acres in Taita that is currently under Mrs Beth Mugo, an Assistant minister of Education and niece of president Uhuru Kenyatta. The Kenyattas as well own 29,000 acres in Kahawa Sukari along the Nairobi-Thika highway, the 10,000 acre Gichea Farm in Gatundu, 5,000 acres in Thika, 9,000 acres in Kasarani and the 5,000-acre Muthaita Farm.
Additionally, the Kenyatta family also owns Brookside Farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu Farm in Juja, a quarry in Dandora in Nairobi and a 10,000-acre ranch in Naivasha. There is another 200 acres in Mombasa, and 250 acres in Malindi all owned by the Kenyattas.
In the former Rift Valley Province, the Kenyatta family owns a 52,000-acre farm in Nakuru and a 20,000-acre one known as the Gichea Farm in Bahati (Nakuru County) under Kenyatta’s daughter, Margaret. Besides, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, widow of the former President, owns another 10,000 acres in Rumuruti while a close relative of the Kenyatta family, a Mrs Kamau, has 40,000 acres in Endebes in the Rift Valley Province.
How much Land Does Uhuru Kenyatta Himself Owns?
The current president of Kenya Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta owns 5,000 acres of land in Eldoret, 3,000 acres in Rongai and 12,000 acres in Naivasha, 100 acres in Karen, and 200 acres in Dagoretti, Nairobi. There is another 1,000-acre farm in Dagoretti but it is owned by Jomo Kenyatta’s first wife, Grace Wahu.
On January 2nd, 2021, president Uhuru Kenyatta bought 1,000 acres of land in the Maasai Mara area in Narok County. It is alleged that the president actually delivered his new year speech from a building within this newly acquired property. This is thought to be his retirement home after he leaves office late next year.
Other Kenyan Politicians Owning Huge Tracts of Land in the Country.
The political elite in Kenya holds the majority of arable land in the country. This elite includes former presidents, Ministers and Members of Parliament from various regimes including the Moi regime, the Kibaki regime and the two Kenyatta administrations.
The now deceased former president Daniel Arap Moi owns 20,000 acres in Bahati, Nakuru county and the most famous 1,600 acre Kabarak Farm on which he was buried on upon his death in February 2020. The Kabarak Farm is one of the most well utilised farms in the area, with wheat, maize and dairy cattle.
Mr. Moi also owns 20,000 acres in Olenguruone in the former Rift Valley province, on which he is growing tea and has also built the Kiptakich Tea Factory. It is worth noting that the Kptakich Tea Factory was burned down during the 2007/08 Post Election Violence in the area.
Other tracts of land owned by the Moi family includes the 20,000 acres in Molo, 3,000-acre farm in Bahati, Nakuru County on both sides of the Nakuru/Nyahururu road where he grows coffee, and some 400 acres in Nakuru on which he was initially growing coffee.
Furthermore, the Nyayo Era president also owns the controversy-ridden 50,000 acre Ol Pajeta Farm – part of which has Ol Pajeta ranch in Rumuruti, Laikipia County. Some time in 2004, Moi put out an advert in the press warning the public that some unknown people were subdividing and selling it illegally.
After Moi, Mwai Kibaki is another high profile political leader who owns large parcels of land in the country. Mr. Kibaki owns a 1,200-acre Gingalily Farm along the Nakuru-Solai road. He acquired this land immediately after Kenya got independence from Britain in 1963.
But in the early 1970s, Kibaki who was then the minister for Finance during the Jomo Kenyatta administration, via the Settlement Transfer Funds Scheme (STFS) transferred to himself, 10,000 acres in Bahati from the then Agriculture minister Bruce Mckenzie.
Kibaki also owns another 10,000 acres at Igwamiti in Laikipia and 10,000 acres in Rumuruti in Naivasha. These are in addition to the 1,600 acre Ruare Ranch. Mwai Kibaki also acquired 20,000 acres in Nanyuki while the former MP the late Munene Kairu has 32,000 acres at Rumuruti.
Ford-People leader Simeon Nyachae’s Kabansora Holdings owns 4,000ha around the Mau Narok area, while the former Rongai MP Willy Komen’s family owns 10,000 acres – 5,000ha adjacent to Moi’s Kabarak Farm and another 4,800ha near Ngata in Njoro.
How Does the Kenyatta Family Compares with Other Landowners In the World?
On a global scale, the massive land owned by the Kenyatta family is nowhere near the largest landowners in the world. The largest land owner in the world is of course Queen Elizabeth II of England. She is followed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who owns 547 million acres while the largest church denomination in the world, the Roman Catholic Church is the third largest land owner.
Queen Elizabeth II holds title to roughly 6.6 billion acres of land throughout the world. For reference, that’s about one-sixth of the land on the entire planet. Most of the land falls under the Crown Estate, which essentially operates as a real estate business
Technically speaking, Queen Elizabeth II owns all the countries that has her as the head of state including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, all of the Caribbean countries including Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda etc. and of course the U.K. itself.