Former Cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae, who died at the beginning of February, five days to his 89th birthday, started off his life on a higher platform.
Born in a huge polygamous family of colonial Chief Musa Nyandusi in Kisii, Nyachae, who was educated in United Kingdom, became the favourite of Nyandusi family and when he joined politics became the most prominent leader in Kisii land.
The kingpin who vied for presidency in 2002 but did not get much support was polygamous like his late father. Chief Nyandusi had over 100 children from 15 wives and Nyachae died having sired 20 children with five wives.
Nyachae married three of his five wives while he was in his 20s and the other two, who are Kikuyus, when he was in his 30s as a way of keeping their links with dynasties.
Interestingly, apart from the first two wives who are deceased, the other three have links with prominent families in Kenya.
He had a taste for kins of who-is-who in the first government of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. This trend has been kept alive by one of his sons who has married in the Kenyattas, a strategy of ensuring this bond is reinforced for their other generations.
How did Nyachae end up getting embraced in these prominent families and even becoming their son-in-law? it all started before independence.
In the 1950s, Kenyatta had built a good relationship with Nyachae’s father who was supposed to support the colonialists but had a soft spot for Kenyatta.
It is said Chief Nyandusi-who like other colonial sympathisers had been allowed to farm coffee-gave the founding president coffee plants to start the money minting venture.
Barely a week before Kenyatta was arrested and locked in Kapenguria, he had taken refuge at chief Nyandusi’s home.
Their relationship was strengthened when Kenyatta became president in 1964. Nyachae was given a government job as Nyandarua District Commissioner the same year. After his father died of cancer in 1970 and Kenyatta in 1978, Nyachae ensured this friendship flourished. And his children have taken cue.
The late Nyaribari Chache MP picked wives from not only prominent families but those with firsts that are still revered in Kenya.
His first and second wives, Esther Nyaboke and Druscilla Kerubo, respectively were not from noticeable backgrounds. He married them when he was young and in a hurry to honour his father’s wishes of settling early and producing grandchildren.
The third wife was from another prominent Kisii family of Ndemo Kibagendi who was the President of the African Tribunal Courts in Kisii.
Nyachae married Kibangendi’s daughter Martha Mwango who is the sister of late Cabinet Minister Lawrence Sagini. Martha is also sister to former ICT PS Dr Bitange Ndemo.
Sagini, Nyachae’s brother-in-law, was the first Kisii representative to the Legislative Council and was also the first Kisii to be in the first 15-man Cabinet when Kenyatta became Prime Minister in 1963. Sagini also served as Kitutu West MP.
For the fourth wife, the former Minister decided to ‘climb Mt Kenya’. He married Silvia Nyokabi, the sister-in-law of late Dr Julius Kiano, who in Kenyatta administration was Minister for Commerce and Industry, then Labour, later Education and finally for Local Government.
Kiano was the first Kenyan to earn a PhD and first MP for Kangema.
His fifth wife Grace Wamuyu and who has been taking care of the deceased’s billions-worth empire hails from the late Minister Mbiyu Koinage’s family.
The younger wife met Nyachae after she was transferred from office of President Kenyatta to Nyeri where she worked under the deceased who then was Nyeri Provincial Commissioner.
Marrying Wamuyu cemented his links with Kenyattas and Koinanges as the late President’s third wife is daughter of late Chief Koinange and sister of Mbiyu Koinange. This made Kenyatta and Nyachae in-laws of Chief Koinange family.
And to reinforce this bond, the late politician’s son Kennedy Nyachae married nominated Senator Beth Mugo’s daughter Wangu. Wangu Nyachae is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s niece.
Nyachae, during his time as a politician, served as Minister for Agriculture and then for Finance during the Daniel arap Moi’s regime and during Mwai Kibaki’s tenure, he led the Energy and later Roads dockets.