By Fred Biketi
Kiserian town is perhaps one of the fastest growing towns in Kajiado County along with other Nairobi satellite urban areas like Kitengela and Rongai in the same county.
Having noticed the sharp rise in population growth coupled with booming business, the Shompole family decided to venture into petrol business.
Family members had watched Kiserian grow from a tiny two-shop town in the 1960s to hundreds of shops now.
“From these observations, the population explosion and resultant congestion in an apparently unplanned environment, it was decided to pursue one of our father Mzee Peter Shompole’s dream projects, namely build a petrol station,” says Chief Executive Officer, Dr Patrick Shompole.
Theyinvested approximately Sh85 million to build and commission the Delta Shompole Service Station, a land mark business that has changed the face of the larger Kiserian area in Kajiado County.
Dr Shompole, a US based microbiologist says the idea arose from the desire to start a business that would support each and every member of the family for generations to come.
He recounts: “We evaluated several options for over a period of 25 years since the first idea of creating a family business was mooted in 1992.”
Considering the site set aside for the project, a three-way junction served by Kiserian-Isinya road and Kiserian-Magadi road, it looked ideal for a petrol station.
Dr Shompole was, therefore, tasked with managing the project design, construction and commissioning assisted by the other siblings.
He says the default intention was to maximize space utilization to create a state-of-the-art service centre, avoiding the hospitality industry which was well represented in Kiserian to a point of saturation.
The business is run by members of the family, all of them Directors of the Shompole Business Park Ltd and Delta Shompole Petrol Station.
They include their mother and Co-Founder Lucia Shompole and Dr Patrick Shompole, who is the first born in a family of 14 children born from two mothers.
Patrick also doubles up as an entrepreneur in home health facilities in Pullman, State of Washington USA and in mining using Enkong’u Enterprises Ltd in Kajiado.
Other directors are Gabriel Shompole (Chief Operations Officer) and Computer Scientist in State of Georgia, USA and William Shompole: (Chief Financial Officer) who runs the company in Kenya.
What are some of the things that both the County government and the national government can do to improve the quality of life in Kiserian and surrounding areas?
Dr Shompole says they should pave more roads and provide street lights in the town of Kiserian.
“During the reign of Philip Odupoy as the MP in mid-1970s, the streets of Kiserian were tarmacked. Now it’s just murram and dust. This is very difficult for the business investors,” says Shompole.
He asked the County leadership to provide adequate water by drilling boreholes in all medium size towns and at strategic locations within the county because lack of water is a major problem.
“I would suggest that the County government drill boreholes and build huge water tanks near each borehole, then connect pipes from the tanks to distribute water to distant communities.
To sort out the physical planning mess in most towns, he proposed that they start a physical address system for buildings and other properties to make doing business much easier and improve County revenue and resource management.
He challenged the County government to build strategic village polytechnics, start programmes to recruit all County youth and train them so that they can either find jobs or self-employment.
Another programme is to mentor and advise County residents on how to start and run businesses within the County and create Tax break incentives.
“They should also start a programe to mentor and advice our Maasai livestock owners on how to manage their livestock in times of good pastures and in times of drought,” notes Shompole.
And that they should also be mentored on how to harvest and benefit from available natural resources because many families are very poor but they own land with immense amounts of minerals, and other natural rare earth materials.
Apart from boreholes, he expects them to build pans and dams to arrest abundant run-off water during the rains because Kajiado is endowed with deep valleys which can harness it for livestock and horticultural farming.
He is barely 40% happy with the quality of education in Kajiado and the opportunities given to the girl-child.
“The opportunities maybe apparent in the Kiserian-Ronkai-Ngong-Kitengela square but venture into the interior parts of the County where the classrooms are dilapidated, there is no infrastructure such as desks and no adequate education materials,” observes Shompole.
He laments that learners cannot learn computer lessons or Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
He canno, therefore, imagine how they can ever compete with those in urban and peri-urban regions for the same jobs in the next few decades.
He says: “I own a school in Kiserian, Santa Lucia Schools. I travel extensively within and outside the County and I now recognize how disadvantaged our hinterland schools are.”
Other contributions by the Shompole family to the community in Kiserian include paying school fees for many families and employing 87 people as follows:
Delta Shompole Service Station (25), Shompole Minerals (14), Enkong’u Enterprises Ltd – Mining (20),, Enkong’u Enterprises Ltd – Wireless (2), Enkong’u Enterprises Ltd -Water (1).
Delta Bamboo (2), LENALY Ltd ( 6) and Santa Lucia Schools (17).
Shompole says they also contributed in building of Catholic churches and helped in negotiations for the Catholic Church to acquire land to build schools.