Raila: I sold my old German car to start East Africa Spectre

ODM leader Raila Odinga says he set base in the Industrial Area and started manufacturing casements, windows, steel doors and other items. [Courtesy]

ODM leader Raila Odinga said he sold his old German car to raise Sh12,000 which he used to start the East Africa Spectre, the only private company in Kenya that supplies gas cylinders to oil companies.

In a clip shared on his official Twitter account on Thursday, June 24, the ODM leader narrated how he acquired machines from an Indian entrepreneur who was operating in Jinja, Uganda but had carted his machines to Kenya after being chased away by Iddi Amin regime.

According to Raila, an Indian friend approached him and told him about a friend who had magnificent machines which he had brought from Uganda and wanted to sell quickly.

“I was teaching at the University of Nairobi when an Indian friend who was a technician told me that one of his friends had just been sent away from Uganda and had uprooted all his machines from Jinja to a yard at Parklands and was selling quickly to go to Great Britain,” he said.

Raila said he visited the Parkland yard where the machinery which included rolling machines, welding machines, sheet metal cutting machines had been kept and found them good for business but could not afford them because he was

The former PM said he met the Indian who wanted Sh12,000 which he could not raise prompting him to sell his old Opel left-hand drive car to raise the cash and got the machinery to start his business.

 “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.

The ODM leader then set base in the Industrial Area and started manufacturing casements, windows, steel doors and other items before later expanding into making gas cylinders.

“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 ventured into manufacturing gas cylinder after a white proprietor from Agip Oil Company told him they had a shortage of cylinders and were looking for local firms that could make them.

Having worked in a cylinder manufacturing firm in Germany he had an idea, he took samples from Agip, retooled and started manufacturing the gas cylinders.

Raila said when a German client who was in the country saw what they were doing, he advised him to go for a loan to expand his business and was able to venture into Kenya Industrial Estate.

According to Raila, the German visited was impressed by what they were doing during one of his visits to his workshop and took him to Kenya Industrial Estate which was under the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) then headed by Matu Wamae.

 “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.”

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