Nyamweya is a journalist currently attached to a leading Kenyan media
Raymond Babu Muhia Wood was a firebrand politician during Jomo Kenyatta’s time and served as Member of Parliament for Nakuru North Constituency, now Subukia constituency from 1966 to 1974 after being trounced by honorable Kihika Kimani. He also served as an assistant minister during this time and he was a close confidant of Mzee Kenyatta.
Nakuru North Constituency was later split into Rongai and Bahati constituency.
The politician who died in 1978 had left behind a will which stipulated equal shares among his 9 children.
The will accorded the elder son, Pascal Wood rights to administer dividends and shares accrued from the estate profits.
However, some of the children have since died and for close to three decades now, the grandchildren’s attempts to receive their fathers’ rights of those shares have been futile.
The Standard Digital caught up with 3 of these children who live in Parkland area; one Isabella Wanjiru Wood, Raymond Muhia Wood and Ken Ambassador Wood. The three are indeed living in abject poverty and it would be hard for someone to believe that they belong to a lineage of a once powerful politician in Kenya.
“We have been relegated to hiding our identity because many people pity the kind of life we are leading yet we belong to a powerful family” Ms Isabella Wanjiru Wood who operates a kibanda food joint at Parklands told the Standard Digital.
Ms Isabella Wanjiru says that her father was the second born in the senior Woods family and since his demise in 2002; she has been living a deplorable life.
“My father was supposed to get shares from Kedong Ranch and the other of Mzee Woods’s companies as per the will; however, we haven’t had a penny since our father’s death, forcing us to live a dog’s life” Wanjiru explains to the Standard Digital.
When this reporter met her at her in Parklands, she was operating her food business within the same locality and in a single roomed house at a low end area with a sign post; “Woods Palace”
She also claims to have not paid rent for this premise for close to three months; same with her residential house located the same area. At this time, the landlord had threatened her with eviction if she won’t meet rent obligations within one week.
“I have five children and no source of income for now, infact, even my last born who is 7 years old is yet to go to school due to financial difficulties, I have also been sick for a while now and don’t know what to do since I cannot do manual jobs” laments Wanjiru adding that “I am just requesting for well-wishers to come to my rescue; and if my uncle is hearing this, let him just do the honorable thing and give us our shares, all that we are asking is to be given our shares”
The same fate befalls Ken Ambassador Wood, another of Woods grandchildren who also lives in Parkland area.
Ken who also doesn’t have a job at the moment is angry that his uncle, who is the administrator of Woods estate, lives a lavish kind of life out of their grandfather’s massive wealth yet they cannot even afford basic necessities in life including regular meals.
“Imagine they are driving big cars and they have taken their children to study abroad yet we are living a dog’s life and they have a bit of concern” Ken told the Standard Digital.
Ken has four children of which the first and second born are supposed to join University yet they are staying at home due to lack of fees and other basic needs.
The third born is in form 1 currently and he had to convince the head-teacher to allow him as he sources for the funds.
“The child is in a boarding school but I didn’t pay any money, the teacher is expecting me to clear the fees but honestly, I don’t know where the money will come from” Ken disclosed to the Standard Digital.
Like her cousin Wanjiru, Ken also pleads with her uncle’s to accord them a section of the shares so that they can live a decent life befitting their status.
“They are doing everything to deny us our inheritance but God will revenge for us” says Ken.
Due to their state of life, the grandchildren have tried to unite and seek justice for their rights but their attempts have been rebuffed by their wealth uncles.
“Each time we hire a lawyer to pursue our case, they bribe them expensively and since we don’t have money like them, we are left with no otherwise but to abandon our case” says Ken.
The Standard Digital reached out to Mr. Pascal Wood, the administrator of senior Raymond Woods’ estate to give his side of the story on this matter. As part of his response, he sent us a document which is a letter he sent to them indicating the reasons why they are not able to get the shares from Kedong Ranch.
In the letter dated 28th/06/2021, Pascal Wood claims that the companies under Kedong Ranch farm are currently operating at no profit due to operational costs and other expenses related to subdivision of a 1000 acre piece of land part of which they had agreed to sell to prospective buyers.
Since our big payout in 2019, there has not been any dividend to shareholders; reason being; we were given land in lieu which was pro-rated according to our shareholding at 3.7%. There was approximately 1000 acres available for shareholders and ours came to 297 which at a meeting last year, the family agreed to sell.
For this 1000 acres to be subdivided, surveyors fees, capital gains, tax etc, Kedong Ranch bore all the costs which obviously was astronomical, hence us missing out on dividends for 2020 and there is no doubt the outlook is the same this year (2021). Says Pascal Wood.