By Dennis Itumbi via FB
Last Night, I lost a Friend.
That is his name for purposes of this tribute
When I was in School, I approached him and he told me, “The only way to tell the TRUTH is to be a journalist”
I wanted to be a Lawyer at the time, it was the age of dreams. You could even dream to be Cinderella.
My friend was working for Capital FM.
The Radio Station that had a News Jingle, that commanded attention.
He was Tall and his Presence was so calmly authoritative that even Cops Saluted him confusing him for a Senior Officer sent in from Nairobi.
The Venue of our first meeting, was The Embu Law Courts.
Maina Kamanda had been arrested in Meru and was being arraigned in Embu on Treason Charges.
The Courts were Sorrounded by armed Police.
I had sneaked from home Five KM away, to see the news for myself, it was all over TV. I wanted the Livestream, with my eyes as the Camera.
RN, looked powerful. I approached him.
We did not introduce ourselves. We had the same problem, different intentions.
We needed to get into the courts. One of us to cover the story, the other to feed his curiosity.
The Cops mistook him and were saluting him.
In between his planning and my mischief, I noted, ” do not worry I will be a lawyer and next time we meet, I will get you in…”
“… Sir,” Two cops posed and saluted.
The two we observed took over the gate, relieving their collegues.
” You lied Sir,” I accused him, you are a cop.
He smiled, as he opened his bag.
He handed me the Branded Capital Fm Microphone.
So forget about being a lawyer for today, you are the Journalist and I am a Policeman.
No time for my young mind to process. We walked confidently towards the gate.
It was literally swang open, complete with more salutes.
He patted my back as he explained, ” I am with him, kijana ako kazi, kama sisi wote,”
In a few minutes we were in the packed courtroom.
He got me a front row seat and camly reminded me, ” Your job as a journalist is over, now watch the lawyers”
Many years later, as I worked for The People, we met again on the beat and I reminded him the story.
We bonded over tea.
We bonded in Seminars.
We bonded on the beat.
We bonded in shared views.
We bonded in disagreements.
We forgot to learn the Saxaphone together,
We even forgot the guitar,
But ni sawa, we knew the percussion Kayamba,
Over the years, like a catterpillar to a butterfly….
I metarmophosised from an admirer, to a mentee.From a collegue, to a News Subject for him.
Finally, I became a source, official and informal.
He however remained the more organized guy, the more authoritative Editor and of course the better dressed guy in the room.
Calm, calculative, slow to speech and lethal with his execution. Always, the smartest in the room.
Explains why he easily transitioned to Citizen Radios in a senior management position.
He never missed a chance to call and cheer me up or shape me back to line.
My heart, though jealously covered by my skin, will forever store your kindness and smile.
RN, go well bro, you were the definition of a good man. Very good.
I write your tribute on the Qwerty keyboard, but in your lifetime you stitched your hearty threads of mentorship and reason, deep inside my body.
Go well buddy.
I will miss You.
To Caro and the Children, like I said in person, I am willingly indebted, my hand, with the little it holds, is stretched your way.
God comfort You, Dad, did not leave home, Scripture assures us, he went Home.
RN, safiri salama, tutaonana baadaye…