President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday shared how former Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore broke the news to him about his deteriorating health.
He spoke during the Collymore’s memorial service at All Saints Cathedral.
Uhuru was on a trip to Canada and because of the time difference, he would see calls from Collymore at “strange” hours.
“I asked him: Bob, why are you calling me at 2 o’clock in the morning?” Uhuru said.
Collymore was unaware the President was on a foreign trip.
Uhuru offered to call Collymore when he returned, but the former Safaricom CEO said he had something urgent to discuss.
“He said: There is something urgent I wanted to tell you, but I guess it can wait. But I just wanted to tell you, I made you a promise that I’d hang on for another year or so in the company (Safaricom), but I think I’m going to break that promise,” he said.
When Uhuru asked why, Collymore said they would talk about it when he returned.
On Uhuru’s return, he went to visit Collymore at his house.
“He was calm and said everything was fine, but that like as he had said, he would have to break his promise.”
Uhuru initially thought Collymore’s wife, Wambui Kamiru, had put him under pressure to quit the company but he said, “It’s not quite that… I don’t think I have more than a couple of weeks to go.”
Uhuru suggested Collymore try seeking more treatment, but Collymore said he had “given up” after trying everything.
The President said Collymore informed him he had accepted his time had come.
Uhuru described Collymore as a man who truly lived life in service of not just himself, his family but of society.
“Bob was a man born in Guyanayes.. but finally set foot and settled in Kenya 10 years ago. He has made a greater contribution than many who were born, bred and lived in Kenya all their lives,” he said.
Uhuru said Collymore loved his family and children.
“We have lost a friend and a part of our soul. Even as we celebrate, there is still pain of being left by someone who cared so passionately about the things he did.”