Aren’t some people just so lucky? We flashed back five years to review some of the people who have won fully-furnished houses from Safaricom, thanks to M-Pesa promotions. And we got stories of 12 people who are in a group of lucky few people to have used M-Pesa, secured their entries and kismet sided with them to become new house owners.
2015: “Lipa na M-Pesa, Shinda a Home”
In case you have forgotten, 2015 is the year Barack Obama visited Kenya as a US president. We also had a visit by Pope Francis. It was also the unfortunate year when the hydra-headed ghost of terrorism visited Garissa. Enough of history. These are two of the eight who won apartments that year.
1. John Kimeu
By borrowing a loan from his M-Shwari account, John Kimeu Mwambua, a mechanic, found his way into a fully-furnished three-bedroom apartment. “My life has changed a great deal,” he said on the first day he was ushered into the house.
2. Charles Mwangi
Mwangi got himself in a new house by footing his electricity bill via M-Pesa. He was all smiles when he had the first glimpse of the property, with Safaricom’s top executives in tow.
2016: “Lipa na M-Pesa, Shinda 3-Bedroom Home”
To jog your memory a bit, 20016 is the year we had Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where Kenya emerged 15th with a 13-medal haul, six of them gold. Eliud Kipchoge, David Rudisha and Vivian Cheruyiot were among those who showed their competitors dust on the way to bagging gold. The following are among the three who won themselves Sh14 million houses that year.
3. Ali Mlewa Ikuthu
Then a boda boda operator at Kwale County, a 22-year-old Ali went to buy beer as part of a consignment he would take to his in-laws for dowry payment. He paid for the drinks via M-Pesa and that set him on the path towards being the first winner that year. “I felt good because I entered my house; not our house but my house,” a smiling Ali told journalists.
4. Lydia Wangari
Lydia was at work when she recalled that she had not paid her electricity bill. When she pressed her phone to make a payment, Lydia, who was then in Nakuru, had no idea she was on the way to winning a Sh14 million house. Her scream when she received the news succinctly captured her excitement and surprise.
5. Salim Nassib Mbarak
The businessman from Mombasa was fond of paying for his meals through M-Pesa, and one such act won him a fully-furnished house, for which he could not be thankful enough.
2018: “Maisha ni M-Pesa Tu”
Safaricom chose a different vibe to mark the 10th anniversary of M-Pesa in 2017. But in 2018 they were back in the business of property giveaways with a bang. One of the highlights of 2018, for those who have forgotten, was France beating Croatia to lift the World Cup. Also, it was in March that year that the two main political protagonists had a handshake, a political truce if you may. That year, Safaricom was giving out seven apartments. These three below were among the winners.
6. Juma Saidi
Juma was operating a machine at a cement manufacturing company in Mombasa when his phone rang. The caller on the other side informed him that he had won a house but with scammers and pranksters looming large, he did not want to believe it at first. He was left with no doubt when he saw the apartment he had won.
7. Eric Lindenberg
This interior designer in Nairobi had not the slightest clue that the transactions he was making through M-Pesa could usher him into his own apartment. He received a call when serving one of his clients and, predictably, it took time for the news to sink in. “I use M-Pesa a lot. It’s kinda like my wallet,” he said then.
8. Omar Hassan
A resident of Eastleigh in Nairobi, Omar was one of the lucky seven winners of 2018. He said his lifestyle involved a lot of transactions and that might have contributed to his win.
2020: “Do More with M-Pesa”
Before the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc on the world, 2020 was coming out well for a number of M-Pesa users. Some had won apartments; others tractors fully equipped for farming. There were others who got their cash back after paying via M-Pesa. This was similar to what happened in 2019 when Safaricom had a campaign to refund all the cash used in parking though use of the M-Pesa one-tap card.
Below are some of the lucky apartment winners in 2020.
9. Reuben Keitany
The police officer based at Kwale County opened the list of three-bedroom apartment winners for the year. “It has come as a sweet surprise and is a great way to start 2020. I plan to keep the house as a family home for me, my wife and five children,” Reuben said then.
10. Samuel Wanjohi
Samuel was a quarry worker eking out a living in Nyeri County until lady luck smiled at him. A purchase he financed through M-Pesa won him a ticket to his own three-bedroom house, and he could not hide the fact that his life has taken a complete about-turn.
11. Joseph Kipkirui
He was a guard at St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Uasin Gishu County, and hardly could he guess that a single M-Pesa transaction could transform his life forever. But divine providence being what it is, he joined the winners’ list. He was beside himself with joy when being ushered into his new house.
12. Salma Salim
Salma says the last transaction she made before being called with the news of winning an apartment was purchase of a burger, juice and ice cream, which she paid for through M-Pesa. She was reluctant at first but soon she was a believer. “It is my first time to win anything,” she said.