Life and Death; Chris Kirubi the Man and I.

Life and Death; Chris Kirubi the Man and I.
It is on Tuesday night, a day after the passing away of Dr. Chris Kirubi. On a low volume and in the background is playing ‘Ewe Malaika’ by Fadhili Williams . It is a song from the Zilizopendwa genre of music. The genre doesn’t ‘exist’ anymore except the songs themselves.

Probably I am thinking that this is the same genre of music that Chris grew up listening to in his early years. That whereas we listen to bongo hits and some newer genres, back in the day that was their thing. And then somewhere along the way he went to the DJ thing and specialized in some modern from of music genres like rock.

In other words, he decided that youth and its glamour wouldn’t go away just like that. Age would catch up with him in terms of physical strength but at heart, he would remain a youth. And that is what Chris epitomized. The old man with the youthful ambition.

At 80, you would sense the charm in him. He still had the vitality for what young men would dream of. Well, he worked hard, and life moved along in his favor. Working hard is often neutral. A lot has been said about him and his moral standing especially in business ethics, but one thing is for sure. That of working hard and smart.

Even those who are morally and ethically wanting, more often than not work hard (irrespective of their character). They work hard to be bad. And that is what I love about Kenyans. Their honest pact. You do stupid things; they will keep the records. When the sanitizing moment comes, as is often with death, they will not relent but serve the right meal for the occasion.

Nevertheless, I decide to look at Chris Kirubi the man. He was Chris the cut throat business man, the astute back door political player, the DJ, the corporate leader, the international member of various organizations and a philanthropist just but to name a few.

Solely on a personal scale, I didn’t get a chance to meet him in person, but I remember how he inspired me about a decade ago. Having grown up in the village, I knew little about the men who owned Kenya until the day I came to Nairobi.

I had taken up a path that was in line with one of his enterprises. So, while checking potential employment areas, I bumped into his company and went ahead to check and learn about him. I realized he had the stamina for risk taking with high stakes especially for his age.

I then decided to cultivate an equal measure of confidence as that of the young Chris. I started by finding avenues to connect with him on the bare minimum. First, I followed him on twitter shortly after I joined. Secondly, I signed up on LinkedIn and gave him a connection request and he accepted.

I went ahead to fire him a message about my intention to meet him in person. It was followed by a quick email but ones which weren’t replied to. I resolved to learn from him through his social media avenues. Through them I got to interact with him more closely and from there i learnt what confident and taking the bold shots can do.

And that is how I ended up to be a miniature CEO for those who have read some earlier blogs about my personal story. The story I gave about facing a senior executive years ago and telling me that I was too young and overambitious, was born out of Chris’s motivations.

There after I promised myself that I would try and meet him in this life. Maybe I would get the recipe on how to be a successful entrepreneur by eating from the platter in which it is served. I can report that that hadn’t happened up to now largely because of his sickness. But I luckily saw him from a short distance in a national dialogue forum about 3 years ago. Maybe it was meant to be just that.

The truth however is that along the way, I also got a few more facts about him. In his weakness, he sometimes went overboard in his business deals. It could be termed as thinking smart and being five steps ahead yet at the expense of the populace and the greater good of the country.

It has been often explained how he touched any state corporations and everything went south. And in the role of a statesman, he could play the main actor role of a savior. This meant great rewards on him as an individual rather than the state. And that, from time to time, tarnished his name.

But he had the wit too. He would rise up again not as a villain but rather the hero. He amazed a great fortune, he became powerful, he brokered power and played his part of a first grade citizen in matters philanthropy as well as contributing to issues of national development.

And last week, he breathed his last. I felt sad because, first, every life is very precious whether old or young, evil or good, rich or poor; just any life in short. Secondly, because I hadn’t had an opportunity to meet him and have a chat over a few issues I thought could do much more for all and sundry than had already achieved.

Thirdly I felt sad because, truthfully said, he died with too much. Too much information including answers to some very eminent questions we still ask every single day about this country. He probably died with too much to self than to what he owed society.

All said and done though, he had visions and great ambitions. You walk into the Two Rivers Mall and you can marvel at the architecture and prowess. It is something worth of reckon. You get a chance and go through the Vipingo Ridge development and you can definitely see what the big shots can do.

Haco tiger brands tells of a bold story too. Centum investment helps one see what great leadership can do. All in all, it takes a great person, a broad vision, a tough zeal, a youthful vigor and a vitality for life to offer such great leadership to such great institutions. We often gulp what we can chew. To the much Chris gulped, he managed to chew well irrespective.

In the solitude of the land of no return, he sojourned. And as the dock waits for him, in solitude too can he only stand. I will only celebrate him in the best way I know on a personal level. The rest, I let the universe to judge.



Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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