In what appeared to be stress-inoculated resilience, renowned media personality Jeff Koinange reminisced the last kicks of Safaricom PLC Chief Executive Officer- Bob Collymore’s last words.
The longstanding manager who inherited the telco giant in 2010 and tripled its profits over the years had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2017 and had gone to the US seek treatment only to return in July last year.
Immediately after jetting back into the country from the US, Jeff called the ailing telco boss who narrated his journey with cancer, which had culminated into a bone-marrow transplant.
Jeff would leave his family on the table to rush to Bob Collymore’s house after he received a call from his friends on the urgency to visit him at his Nairobi home.
It is while at the meet-up where Bob Collymore divulged three chilling statements that broke the hearts of his five friends.
Since his return to the country, Collymore’s medics had reliably told him that he would be lucky enough to make it to July this year.
“…he had been told by his doctors not to make any long-term plans; in fact he was told if he makes it past July he’ll be lucky. So he knew. I have never seen anyone prepared for death like I did this man,” said Koinange during a breakfast show Monday.
It was no coincidence that the deceased Safaricom boss called his circle of five to his Kitisuru home to leave them his very last words even as the clock ticked away to the close of his life.
The Last Message
“I’ve lived a good life.”– Bob was said to have repeated these statements during his conversation surrounded by his family and friends who were getting worried by the hour.
Born in Guyana and largely raised and schooled in the UK, Bob worked his way to the top despite lacking a college degree.
His shrewdness and business development acumen had convinced the management at Vodacom to entrust him with overseeing business exploits both in Asia and Africa, where he excelled.
At Safaricom PLC, Bob had been taking home not less than Sh10 million a month, with extra benefits that could amount to the region of Sh200 million each year. He lived life in the fast lane.
“I have some regrets.”– Born and raised in poverty, Bob had always been a determined person. During the Monday breakfast show at Citizen TV, Jeff Koinange said Bob’s work ethic was never in question throughout his illustrious career.
In an earlier interview with Steve Biko, Bob said he made mistakes daily.
Some of the mistakes ranged from corporate decisions to Human Resource blunders, which he admitted at the time.
Bob said he had fired some employees, then badly regretted the move yet there was not much he could do since he had made a decision.
In the Interview, Bob said he was on his third marriage after divorcing twice. He said, however, that each time, it was for the better.
“Each time it’s got better. Each time the match has been better. There are stuff I couldn’t have done better for sure,” he divulged.
“The first marriage was a mistake for sure. I was too young — in my 20s. The second one was not a mistake, what was a mistake was how we conducted it,” he explained.
“It’s never a perfect life. Nobody is perfect.” was among the last words the deceased CEO told Jeff.
In his own admission, the celebrated TV personality said Bob was more prepared for his demise than his friends and family.
“I have never seen anyone prepared for death like I did this man,” he told his colleague, Sam Gituku during the morning show.
The high-flying CEO had been driving a sleek Jaguar XKR Sports when his interests changed from pursuing the fine things in life to finding his purpose and making a difference in people’s lives.
At the time when this reality hit him, his son had just completed school.
Bob, who will buried in a private invite-only affair on Tuesday, leaves behind a family of five- his wife- Wambui and four kids- two from his previous marriage.
A Tribute to Robert (Bob) William Collymore pic.twitter.com/WMsTcwSIS5
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) July 1, 2019
My condolences go out to the friends and family of Mr Bob Collymore as well as the entire Safaricom fraternity.
Bob served our country with dedication and sustained us as a communication hub in Africa. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) July 1, 2019
Collymore was exemplary, brilliant and courageous, especially in the manner he battled cancer. Condolences to his family, colleagues and friends. Rest In Peace.
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) July 1, 2019