Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Cleophas Shimanyula Toto: Billionaire Who Owns Homeboyz Buses, Kakamega Homeboys Fc

By Jane Muia

Cleophas Shimanyula, popularly known as Toto, is arguably the richest man in Kakamega, with investments in almost all parts of Western Kenya.

Shimanyula is the founder and Chairman of the Kakamega Homeboyz Football Club, the team that plays in the Kenya Premier League. His other investments span real estate, transport, construction, and farming sectors.

Listening to his story, you would tell that he is the real epitome of grass to grace. Toto started off as a tout in public service vehicles plying the Kakamega – Kisumu route.

At that time, he was a teenager who was focused on building a business empire. According to some reports, Toto ended his education journey at the primary school level.

Since childhood, Toto has been passionate about business. He matched his passion and hard work and determination to build a successful business empire.

Working as a tout increased his interest in the motor world, and he joined his father at his garage, where he started doing simple motor repair and maintenance jobs. He later enrolled in a driving school, adding to his knowledge of motor vehicles.

After serving in his father’s garage for years, he bought himself a saloon car that he used for taxi services. His car was among the very first taxis in Kakamega town.

He later acquired a matatu through a loan he acquired from a local commercial bank. He named the matatu Homeboyz. The brand became popular among passengers plying the Kakamega – Kisumu route.

The matatu industry business picked so well, and in nearly a decade, Toto had a fleet of over 50 vehicles under his Homeboyz brand, operating on different routes in the country.

Tragedy hit on October 10, 2018, when one of his buses was involved in a road accident leaving 58 people dead.

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Toto would then explore opportunities in other sectors, and in 2010, he founded the Kakamega Homeboyz Football Club. The football club was undoubtedly his biggest move.

He had steered its activities for the last years and single-handedly gave financial support before the county stepped in with sponsorship.

The club, which sits on top of the Federation of Kenya Football (FKF) Kenya Premier League table, has nurtured the talent of youths in Kakamega and other parts of the Western.

The club has its home ground at Bukhungu stadium, which the county government of Kakamega owns.

Through these investments and others, Toto amassed a lot of wealth which he used to establish himself politically. For years, he has been controlling the western region politics with politicians using his influence to mobilize supporters. He has a fleet of vehicles that politicians use during campaigns.

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Among the leaders who benefited from Toto’s influence are Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Former Cabinet Minister Cyrus Jirongo, former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, and COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

Today Toto is credited with turning around the taxi business in the region by introducing bigger and more powerful vehicles, including Toyota Prados, for car hire services by high-profile clients.

He also owns a yard next to Bukhungu Stadium, where his lorries and construction machines are kept. He also owns a company that is involved in garbage collection in Kakamega.

Despite his wealth and influence, Cleophas Shimanyula Toto lives a low-profile life in Kakamega and is often spotted driving one of the most expensive cars -the Lexus LX 570.

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