Blessed Fortune: The Amazing Story Of The Gecagas Family
Theirs is a blessed fortune borne of solid education and high-level family connections. John Mareka Gecaga was a career teacher besides dabbling in politics at the African Native Commission in the ‘60s. He died at 100 in 1979. He had other children, but here is the lineage that has carved its name in blue-chip boardroom and diplomacy via one son- Bethuel Mareka Gecaga:
BM Gecaga: Alliance High Alumnus, Class of 1937, and proceeded to Makerere and Middle Temple College where he graduated with honours in law, Class of ‘56. He became Barrister-at-Law, Registrar General Department, Ministry of Legal Affairs and director of East African Tobacco Company, at independence, in 1963.
He served as GM and chair, BAT Kenya, for 28 years to 1995, besides Nation Media Group, Industrial Development Bank, Commercial Bank of Africa and Kenya Airways.
BM also headed the University of Nairobi Governing Council, for 16 years, from 1970, besides trusteeships with the National Famine Relief Fund and the National Fund for the Disabled. The 91-year-old director of Paper House of Kenya was also a one-time nominated MP. He had two children with wife Jemimah: Udi and (Mary) Noni Gecaga.
Jemimah Gecaga: His wife, and sister to one-time Foreign Affairs minister Dr Njoroge Mungai- BM’s fellow Alliance alumni. Was the first woman nominee to the Legislative Council and assistant probation officer at independence before stints as Kenya President of the YWCA, home economics lecturer at Jeanes School (The Kenya School of Government) and director, Skyline Advertising. The founder member of Maendeleo ya Wanawake died, in 1979, at 59.
Udi Gecaga: Alumni of Alliance where colleagues like Prof Anyang Nyong’o called him John (after his grandpa), a name he dropped while at Princeton in the ‘60s.
Like his father, Udi’s career was defined by being chair of blue chips: Lonrho East Africa, The Standard Group, Motor Mart and Panafrica Insurance.
Jeni Wambui Gecaga: President Jomo Kenyatta’s daughter and Udi’s wife. A champion athlete in her palmy days at The Kenya High School has three children with Udi: Soiya, Jomo and Nana Gecaga.
Soiya Gecaga: A specialist in charity and corporate law and one-time employee at the UNHCR, Geneva, runs the We the Change Foundation.
Jomo Gecaga: And old Etonian and former first officer at Foreign Affairs is currently PA to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Nana Gecaga: Cushing Academy alumnus, Nana is the CEO of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre(KICC).