Mystery of JM Kariuki’s millions

A portrait of the late JM Kariuki. 40 years ago, on March 2, 1975, the charismatic MP for Nyandarua North was brutally murdered. ILLUSTRATION | J NYAGAH |

What you need to know:

  • That JM Kariuki was immensely wealthy was known – his only mistake was that he was running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.
  • How JM Kariuki had managed to amass so much fortune in less than 10 years was puzzling, nay amazing.
  • At a time when an MP’s salary was less than Sh1,000 a month, JM had, by 1966, become a millionaire and was never ashamed to talk about it.
  • Kariuki had other properties under his family-owned company Kanyamwi Trading Company Limited which was an acronym for Kariuki, Nyambura and Mwikali, his two wives.

Two events this month went unmarked by the nation. The first was the 42nd anniversary of the death of JM Kariuki, which was on March 2, and the other was his birthday on Tuesday, March 21. Had he not been killed in 1975, he would have turned 88 this year: Five years younger than former President Moi and two years older than Mwai Kibaki. JM is slowly being forgotten.


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