His life was upended as he grazed his father’s goats in Naichumunye hills in 1983.
Mr Lengishili had spotted something he thought was a watch and picked it up.
“The item was shiny and appeared expensive. I called the other boys when it began ticking, not knowing it was a warning,” he told the Nation.
“As they were running towards me, it exploded, throwing me and a cow to the ground. I woke up with neck, head, chest, leg and hand injuries at Meru Hospital. My thumb and index finger were missing.”
Mr Lengishili was one of the many victims of the explosives left in the Samburu grazing grounds by British soldiers.
Account always empty
Because of his injuries, he could not work – explaining why his Postbank account was always empty.
Mr Gabriel Lengishili was excited when the British government through Mr Martyn Leigh Day, a lawyer, asked him and 229 others to open accounts for processing of their compensation.
He opened an account with Stanbic Bank, Nanyuki.
“I had never owned Sh10,000. My Postbank account always read nil,” he said.
Gabriel Lengishili was Millionaire at 36
Mr Lengishili suddenly became a multimillionaire at 36.
He travelled to Nairobi and bought the car of his dream – a Toyota Land Cruiser at Sh2.8 million even though he did not know how to drive. Mr Gabriel Lengishili set up a fully stocked hardware and utility shop in Archer’s Post.
“I married and added two more wives shortly after. I had five wives,” he said, adding that the women who had rejected him because of his disability were suddenly running back to him.
Mr Lengishili said he built a house, bought goats and paid his daughter’s university fees with the rest of the money.
When we insisted on seeing the house, he took us to a manyatta and said the “massive house” is in another county. Lengishili’s friends disputed that.
One of his friends narrated how Mr Lengishili withdrew Sh200,000 on the day the money was sent to his account.
Headed to Nairobi
“He bought us beer and hired cars to take us home. Two days later, he withdrew more money and came home. He then headed to Nairobi,” the friend said.
“He bought the car. From then on, Lengishili friends became strangers. He was always in Nyahururu and Nanyuki. I heard he stayed in expensive hotels.”
He added that Mr Lengishili disappeared for four months.
“His two wives and their children back home were left to their devices. His businesses were crumbling,” another local said.
Six months after buying the car, Mr Lengishili sold it for Sh800,000.
The 54-year-old is among the first lot of 230 people compensated by the British for injuries suffered in explosions.
A total of Sh450 million was paid to them. Ten people received more than Sh10 million but have nothing to show for it today. Many are labourers or live on handouts.
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