Kalonzo Musyoka and the Rotary Club of Nairobi

By PP Mike Eldon

In 1978, our Rotary Club partnered with International Computers Ltd, the British computer multinational whose General Manager for Kenya I was at the time, and also with the Nation as the media partner, to launch a National Business Management Game. It was very popular, with many teams participating, and each contributing a subscription fee. The Nation provided space for publicising the contest, and also for weekly reports on the succeeding weekly rounds, all the way to the exciting final.

From Kalonzo Musyoka’s memoirs “Against All Odds”, published in 1978.

The Chairman of our Club that year was Phil Grammenopoulos, the founder of Westlands Motors – the first to be appointed to import Japanese cars, Datsuns. He also became the first Honorary Consul for Cyprus, and through that connection obtained a scholarship to the Cyprus-based Mediterranean Institute of Management, for its one-year post-graduate programme. So while the tuition fees were covered, it was the subscriptions from the participants in the Business Game that funded the other associated costs.

Phil and I were the judges who selected the recipient of the scholarship, and we chose “Young Steve” as we called him then. On his return Kalonzo joined our club as a member, and was recruited by Kaplan & Stratton, whose Senior Partner Stewart Thompson was our member and Past President (in 1973-4).  As Kalonzo describes in his book, he was later head-hunted by Manu Chandaria, to become a legal manager in his Comcraft company.

From Kalonzo Musyoka’s memoirs “Against All Odds”, published in 1978.

A few years later “Young Steve” joined politics as an MP, and it became too hard for him to keep up his attendance (we were much stricter then!) so he resigned. But he has always kept a warm place in his heart for Rotary, from time to time gracing our big functions, and he always speaks glowingly about the strong formative influence we have had on his life.

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