New Safaricom interim CEO, Michael Joseph (MJ), broke down in tears as he valiantly read through a poem he was introduced to by the late Bob Collymore.
MJ was speaking during Bob’s special memorial service, held at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi on June 4, 2019.
He informed the hundreds who had gathered that Bob had introduced him to a poem that either of them was meant to read out, depending on who passed away before the other.
“About one year ago, Bob showed me this poem that he’d found in a book, and we agreed that whoever survived the other was honour-bound to read it at the other’s funeral,” he disclosed while balancing tears.
“I’m generally sad and heartbroken to be the one to read this poem,” MJ added.
He then went on to read out the following poem on behalf of the former Safaricom CEO, who passed away on July 1, 2019, after a long battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
I hope I can trust you, friends, not to use our relationship
As an excuse for an unsolicited ego-trip.
I have seen enough of them at funerals and they make me cross.
At this one, though deceased, I aim to be the boss.
If you are asked to talk about me for five minutes, please do not go on for eight.
There is a strict timetable at the crematorium and nobody wants to be late.
If invited to read a poem, just read the bloody poem. If requested
To sing a song, just sing it, as suggested,
And don’t say anything. Though I will not be there,
Glancing pointedly at my watch and fixing the speaker with a malevolent stare,
Remember that this was how I always reacted
When I felt that anybody’s speech, sermon or poetry reading was becoming too protracted.
Yes, I was intolerant, and not always polite
And if there aren’t many people at my funeral, it will serve me right.
The entire congregation was balancing tears at this point, before MJ went on to give a few more words to honour his fallen friend.
“As always between Bob and I, I’ll ignore his instructions, and not just read the bloody poem, but say a few more words. He will probably be upset but I’m sure he’d have done the same for me,” the Safaricom interim boss remarked, amid hearty cheers.
He then went on the reveal that Bob had inspired him to write a book, which he titled, My Life in Safaricom.
“So far, I have only done one chapter which I named Bob, one day you may get to read it,” MJ disclosed.
The teary Michael reiterated that his late friend was not only the bravest man he’d ever known, but the only man he’d ever loved as well.
“I desperately wanted him to live forever, but somehow God had other plans, farewell my friend and God rest your soul,” he stated, in between sobs.
Confessions by Bob’s famous boys revealed that he was resigned to his impending fate and that he had made peace with the fact that he didn’t have long to live.