April 12, 2024

Elite Zone

The Elite

Meet Former Politician Who introduced Chips Business in Kenya

Aggrey Otieno Ambala was among the beneficiaries of the Tom Mboya airlift and was enrolled in the prestigious Howard University in the United States.

After he finished his studies, Ambala returned home not only with an economics degrees, but also a business plan that would transform many Kenyans’ appetites.

He had a machine in his luggage that could slice potatoes into thin strips known as chips.

Kenyans had never seen anything like that before. Only roasted or boiled potatoes were familiar to them. Ambala, a clever entrepreneur, founded a chip shop near the Ambassadeur bus stop.

Some people were perplexed as to how someone could consume “mutilated” potatoes.

Their taste receptors shifted when they tried the crispy bits with salt and tomato or chili sauce. The cuisine was completed by fish fillets, poultry, and sausages served with Coke.

Long lines were witnessed as a result of the sudden demand for chips, especially on weekends.

With the Kenya Cinema across the street, the theater’s hours were extended to accommodate moviegoers.

Ambal later sold the business to new owners who renamed it Munyiri’s Chips.

Ambala relocated to what is now known as Tusker Stage, which is located next door.

He bought shares in Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) and created a beer distribution company called Nararashi Wholesalers with his buddy Njenga Karume.

When he realized he had enough commercial holdings, he entered politics, as did most rich Kenyans.

He was elected as Member for Parliament for Gem in 1979. He however ended up in jail after being implicated in a murder case.

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