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Nyaribari Chache MP returns to India 23 years later to repay Sh300 loan

Wednesday July 17 2019

Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Nyagaka Tongi with his benefactor Kashinath Gawli

Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Nyagaka Tongi with his benefactor Kashinath Gawli in Aurangabad, India. PHOTO | COURTESY 

LEONARD ONYANGO
By LEONARD ONYANGO
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When Richard Nyagaka Tongi was management student at Maulana Azad College in India in the 1980s, he frequented a grocery store near where he was staying and ended up making close ties with the vendor.

Kashinath Gawli had a grocery store at Wankhedenagar area in Aurangabad, Maharashtra State and would supply Mr Tongi with food everyday and sometimes on credit.

When Mr Tongi, now a Member of Parliament for Nyaribari Chache, completed his studies, he returned to Kenya with the outstanding debt of Indian Rupee 200 (Sh300).

“I had a debt from 23 years ago that I had not paid, they (Gawlis) had given me food, but I had not paid. So when I got married, I vowed to return to India and payback. Now, my heart is at peace,” said Mr Tongi.

RETURN

Mr Tongi visited Aurangabad with his wife Michelle. He described his journey as an emotional one, according to NDTV India.

The MP said that as a student, he was at his “lowest point” in life and Mr Gawli came to his rescue.

“These people (Gawlis) helped me. Then I thought that someday, I will come back and repay. I want to say thank you. This is so emotional for me,” he is quoted as saying.

Mr Gawli was overwhelmed that Mr Tongi could remember him 23 years later.

"God bless the old man (Gawli) and his children. They were wonderful to me. They wanted to take me to a hotel for a meal but I insisted that we should eat in their house," he added.

Before leaving Aurangabad, MP from Kisii County extended an invitation to the Gawlis to visit Kenya.

Mr Tongi is on his second term as an MP for Nyaribari Chache and is the vice-chairman in the parliamentary Defence and Foreign Relations committee.

According to information on the Parliament's website, he holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Kenyatta University and a masters degree in Business Administration from Maseno University. The Indian education is however not listed.