HomeBIOGRAPHYIbrahim Ambwere: The Billionaire Who Contributed To Pay Teachers Delayed Salaries

Ibrahim Ambwere: The Billionaire Who Contributed To Pay Teachers Delayed Salaries

How rich does a individual need to be to offer to bail the ruling government from its economic woes? Well, meet one mogul from Western Kenya, Ibrahim Ambwere, who shocked the nation and made a name for himself when he charitably offered to settle stalled salaries for the then flamboyant teachers’ amounting to a totality of Kshs 48 million in the earlier 1980s. If that was now, factoring in inflation, this portion is equivalent to over Kshs 4 billion. So who is this guy Ambwere? This article looks at the tycoon’s biography, family, education, work history, personal life, & wealth.


The self made baron was born in mid-1936 in Chavakali, Maragoli, in the western part of Kenya.
Ebrahim Ambwere’s Early Life
Ambwere’s grandfather Francesco Onguo celebrated from Bunyore, the immediate neighbors to Maragoli. His dad, Francis Aura, was a polygamous man recruited to fight in the British Army during the 2nd World war when he was just four years old. Unfortunately, his old man did not return home. His mother, Sagina Rwoero, who had optic and hearing impairment passed four years later when Ambwere was just eight years old. Ibrahim and his siblings ceased up under the care of his maternal grandmother, and that’s how he received the name Ambere, his maternal grandfather’s title. He would later reunite with his long-lost dad.

Ibrahim Ambwere’s Education background

Without having the benefit of formal education, the mogul would go against all the odds to build a thriving business empire. In later years, he was loaded with pressure of getting an schooling. He alsohired a tutor, Lawrence Kisame, in the mid-70s to that result and in a span of only four years, Ambwere could read, write and speak in English. To relish his personal tutor, he endowed Kisame a house citing the transformational function he played in his life, counting, “teachers are special.” Unfortunately, his parents who passed away when he was very young, were too poor to afford school fees.

Ambwere’s work History

Ibrahim Ambwere is one of the wealthiest people in Western Kenya owning mega real estates and a firm empire which spreads to Kisumu, Kitale, Kakamega, Mbale, Nairobi & other major towns of Kenya but his life rising up was not a bed of roses.
The tragic family events that hit the billionaire at a very delicate age must have catapulted him to determine the path he did. Ambwere led his two siblings, his younger sister Rhoda, who was born in mid-1938, around Maragoli to work in people’s ranches to earn a daily living.
At the age of about 10, Ambwere went to work in pyrethrum granges in Molo, Nakuru County, only to leave on his first day. In an discussion, he recounted how his eyes itched & his nose was stuffy because of allergy from the pyrethrum. He afterward took up a job to flock livestock in the same year. He met Mr Vuluku, a farm manager at a white man farm who gave him a position to care for chicken, a task he did not like one time. Ambwere would later encounter Mr. Karam Singh, a mason, who dwelled the farm to repair tangible water. Singh would turn to be Ambwere’s long-standing employer from whom he accredits the source of his riches.

Beginning of big things

At the age of 12, when Ambwere requested Singh for a job, he was reluctant but eventually gave him a job just as a sweeper for three shillings a month plus housing and meals. The billionaire was engaged at this job and was moved to Londiani quarry as a stone-cutter, perfecting his masonry skills. Later, Singh pushed Ambwere to a carpentry workshop, where he also sanded his carpentry skills. Singh would categorize him along when he later shifted to Kiambu, to embark on new projects. Cumulatively, he performed for Singh for ten years.

With the political warmth owing to the fast-approaching independence in 1961, most foreigners, including Singh, gave out or sold their belongings at throwaway prices and transferred to Uganda, fearing xenophobic aggression. Ambwere’s destiny and windfall was composed amidst this when the employer gave him tools of trade, skills & Sh 3000 that he’d use to start his business.

Post Independence Journey to building wealth

Ambwere drove back to Chavakali soon afterward where he rented a house, wedded Zipporah his first wife and began a carpentry shop with only Sh 38 and the old toolbox gifted to him. Then, in 1963, Ambwere landed his first breakthrough contract when Kaimosi Hospital gave him a contract to make beds.
Nevertheless, the hospital could not pay him and they opted to offer him an old ambulance which he’d later use to ferry wood to his Chavakali carpentry shop. He bought a five-acre portion of land in Lutego, Vihiga and transferred his business to Majengo, Nairobi, & after a couple of years he would encounter Aura who turned to be his long-lost dad. He would later recompense in Juja where he wedded a lady from Ukambani with four daughters. Within a period of only five years, Ambwere had constructed his own shop and relocated from the leased space.

Health, Family issues & the fall of his business empire

Ambwere’s personal life has been affected by family struggles that led him to divorce two wives whom he declared to have colluded with his children and other people to steal from him of his hard-earned wealth. He would later marry Ebby Ingado in mid-1994.
The tycoon also has diabetes, leading to his admission at the Hospital from 1989 to 1992. He was discharged from the hospital only to find his firm in ruins and was forced to start from scrape. Currently, most of the tycoon’s properties and firm have been subjected to mismanagement.

On offering to bail Nyayo’s government with delayed teachers’ salaries

The once ungrammatical Ambwere held an extraordinary place for teachers and for this he proposed to pay them when they went on walkout for delayed pay during Moi’s administration. He really empathized with their plight, which was the reason behind his generous offer. In a 2017 discussion, he said, “That was a lot of cash in the 80s, but I had it and I was ready to bail them out.” However, to his surprise, the government launched a series of investigations into the sources of his wealth, thus intruding his private life.

Political Involvement

Ambwere is known to have maintained close relationships with prominent politicians despite having never wanted to become one. Among them is former President Mwai Kibaki, the then minister of finance, & former President Daniel Moi. In mid-02002 when he was nominated to head the Luhya Elders’ Council.

What He Owns

Ambwere owns several residential homes and other saleable buildings such as Ambwere Furaha, Ambwere Plaza, Ambwere Complex & Ambwere Towers. He has never proclaimed his net worth saying that it is against his culture. He, however verified in an interview saying “I am certainly worth a lot.” The locals of Kitale evaluate his net worth to be in the tune of billions provided that he is more prosperous than most politicians.
Parting Shot Wise Words of business wisdom from the baron
In a contemporary conversation with an associate tutor at the University of Nairobi, Ambwere motivated entrepreneurs to practice modesty, respect for others, and avoid satisfaction for success. He also counted on the need for truthfulness in financial trades, especially on debt matters where he emphasized on the need to disclose loans to one’s family members.



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