ODM party leader Raila Odinga says he sold his car for approximately Ksh12,000 to start East Africa Spectre, a company that supplies gas cylinders to oil companies.
According to Raila, he was being paid Ksh2,000 per month as a don at the University of Nairobi, and was invited to buy welding machinery from an Indian who was relocating from Uganda.
“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.
The machines were being sold for Ksh12,000, which he didn’t have at that time.
“I had an open left-hand drive from Germany. I sold (it) and got Ksh12,000 to pay that Kalasinga (Indian) and I got the machinery which I used to start my business (East Africa Spectre).
Initially, the business which was set up along current day Kampala Road (formerly Kingstone Road), used to manufacture steelware such as windows and doors.
A senior manager then working with Agip Oil Company approached him explaining the shortage of gas cylinders, asking him to manufacture the cylinders for them.
“I told him I used to work in a cylinder manufacturing company in Germany. They brought a sample, I retooled… and I started manufacturing gas cylinders at that time,” said Raila.
Later, he was introduced to the Kenya Industrial Estate by a Germany national, where he got a loan to expand his business.
“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.”
To date, East Africa Spectre is the only private company in Kenya that supplies gas cylinders to oil companies.