Cleophas ‘Toto’ Shimanyula, according to some, runs the Western Kenya county of Kakamega despite holding no public office. Shimanyula, a businessman with a range of investments in sectors including transport and construction, is one of the county’s most influential figures. Among his transportation brands are popular buses Homeboyz and Western Cross Express.
Shimanyula has gained prominence as the owner of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Kakamega Homeboyz, and does not shy away from trashing opponents and investing in the team ina bid to ensure the team’s success. This past week, Homeboyz achieved one of the greatest moments in its history after securing a place on the continental football stage. Ecstatic players after the match tossed Shimanyula in the air, appreciating his efforts.
Homeboyz beat Tusker in the FKF Cup final to book a berth in the CAF Confederation Cup. Ahead of the match, Shimanyula had turned his guns on Tusker coach Robert Matano, accusing him of witchcraft and claiming it wouldn’t work against his team.
Shimanyula is also known for supporting, bankrolling, and occassionally clashing with, politicians.
In the run up to the 2022 General elections, Shimanyula opposed gubernatorial candidate Cleophas Malala, who ended up losing the Governor’s race to Fernandes Baraza.
Shimanyula is said to have started out as a tout for vehicles plying the Kakamega-Kisumu route, but with grand ambitions.
He picked up an interest in vehicles and began working at his father’s garage, spending four years before venturing into the taxi business in Kakamega.
He then took out a loan and purchased his first matatu to ply the Kakamega-Kisumu route. The matatu was named ‘Homeboyz’ and laid the cornerstone of what would grow to be a fleet with tens of vehicles.
Today, he towers over the Western county as a larger than life figure.