Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop, the founder of Buzeki Group of companies, is taking a second attempt at the governor’s seat in Uasin Gishu County. In the last election, he gave Governor Jackson Mandago, who was defending his seat, a run for his money – quite literally.
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Running as an independent candidate in 2022 he is expected to cause ripples again with his moneyed campaign – especially running against a candidate riding the UDA wave in a county that will be a hotbed of politics, being the home of Deputy President William Ruto, a front-runner for the presidency.
Bundotich’s campaigns are usually well-funded, thanks to a financial wár chest supported by his multibillion business empire. Which makes Buzeki – as he is popularly known by the shorthand for his three names Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop – one of the most interesting candidates gunning for the governorship across the country.
Buzeki is a self-made billionaire, a status he has earned from his business he started in 1999. His self drive has come in handy in providing solid foundation for the ventures. The renowned businessman, in fact, became a billionaire in his 30’s, a feat not many get to achieve in a lifetime.
Mr Buzeki is the group chairman and founder of Buzeki Group of companies, mainly operating in dairy and logistics. Buzeki’s business has grown into a major player in the logistics and heavy commercial transportation industry in East Africa, serving big dollar clients such as UN-WFP and Bamburi Cement. He has immense experience spanning more than 14 years in these two sub-sectors.
Taking baby steps
Buzeki started his career as regional dairy sales manager for Kilifi Plantations, which was owned by his brother in law, a white man. Being the head of an aggressive sales team he ensured successful milk sales volumes in Coast Province under the brand Kilifi Gold. Later, he pioneered the introduction of Tuzo Milk in Coast and made it the largest milk brand in the region.
His journey to big money kicked off in 2008, when he started a milk processing and packaging company known as Buzeki Dairy Limited and got his first plant in Kilifi. The plant had the capacity of about 25,000 litres daily.
Road to billionaire club
In 2010, he opened another plant in Molo and named it Molo milk. The plant had the capacity to produce 250,000 litres of milk in a day. The Molo Milk brand grew to become a leading milk processor until it was acquired by Brookside Dairy Limited, reportedly for Ksh1 billion. He felt it was the right time to sell it and he went ahead to do it.
Brookside Dairy Limited is owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family and the deal is said to have been cut at State House Nairobi in a deal that consolidated the Kenyatta family owned Brookside Dairy’s grip on Kenya’s formal milk market. In a matter of hours, Buzeki walked out of State House Ksh1 billion richer.
Through Brookside Dairies, the Kenyatta family has also bought out Ilara, Delamere, SpinKnit (makers of Tuzo milk brand).
The rich also cry
In July 2020, it was revealed that the business mogul owed NCBA Ksh2.7 billion, which he borrowed to purchase 289 trucks and 141 trailers. The debt disclosure came in an appeal filed by NCBA seeking to block Landmark Port Conveyors Ltd from auctioning 53 trucks and trailers belonging to Buzeki over a Ksh118 million loan.
The bank said that the 53 trucks and trailers are part of the 289 trucks and 141 trailers bought using the Ksh2.7 billion loan.
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During his campaign in 2017, rumours about him emerged. He was said to have been a wild youth who took drúgs and was expelled from Mang’u High School. He was also accused of swindling a 70-year-old widow of Ksh200 million. But he dismisses the rumours, saying people are to tarnish his name politically.
“I was never expelled from Mang’u and I have never done drugs in my life. People are making up stories, they want to taint my image,” he was quoted by The Standard as saying.
Chopper ride, anyone?
Mr Bundotich has a farmhouse in Ainbkoi, Uasin Gishu County, where he practices large-scale dairy farming. Forbes ranked Zedekiah Bundotich among the ten multi-millionaires from Kenya.
The billionaire owns a chopper and values educátion and technical skills. “Educátion is an equalizer,” he wrote on his social media page. “We need to blend our academic skills with technical and entrepreneurial skills to widen our success opportunities. We should not rely on one path to success. This world is full of infinite possibilities,” he said.