Naivasha remembers supermarket boss, Simon Gashwe Mukuha
RANSITION: The demise of Simon Gashwe Mukuha, who was the chairman of retail giant Naivas Supermarket, has brought to the fore the life of a man considered as a business mogul who transformed the lives of many.
Mukuha, who led the successful rise of the retailer, took his final bow on Monday.
“Mukuha passed on Monday evening at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi where he was undergoing treatment after suffering a stroke,” said Naivas supermarket chief operations officer Willy Kimani.
He took over the reigns of the retail giant following the death of his father Peter Mukuha Kago in 2010 and has steered the business to one of the largest in the country.
Run as a family business, with Mukuha’s other siblings taking key positions of leadership, Naivas has transformed itself from a simple shop in the early 90s to a big retailer with more than 20 branches countrywide.
It is Mukuha who transformed the business from Naivasha self selection stores, as it was known then, to Naivas Supermarket, which competed with other giants in the market.
The family first opened an outlet next to Naivasha sub-county offices before launching a new one in Biashara Street, christened “Kubwa” to differentiate it from the later.
Those close to him talked of a man whose deeds transformed the lives of many.
“He was instrumental in uplifting the education standards in the lake side town by sponsoring students in various academic institutions”, said a close friend and former Lake View Ward Member of Nakuru County Assembly Simon Wanango.
Wanango said though Mukuha was an astute and a ‘no-nonsense’ businessman, he had time for the community and carried out various projects.
“Naivas is one of the largest employers in Naivasha, giving hope to tens of youths who work in the supermarkets. It is sad that we have lost him at his prime,” said Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara, adding that the town is what it is today because of the contributions made by the Mukuha family.
“They started off as a small shop and have risen over time, making Naivasha a preferred investment destination for all,” she said.
A relative who declined to be named said nothing much would change as it is expected that the family’s younger brother will take over at the helm of leadership.