Leaders, family, friends honour Bob Collymore in memorial service

President Uhuru Kenyatta condoles with Wambui Collymore after the memorial service. Photo/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta condoles with Wambui Collymore after the memorial service. Photo/PSCU

Leaders, family and friends were present to give their last respect to the late Bob Collymore at the All Saints Cathedral on Thursday. The former Safaricom CEO, who succumbed to cancer on Monday, has left a lasting legacy after his tenure at the leadership of Kenya’s telecommunications giant, and it was evident given the tributes that have been streaming in from Monday, right through the memorial service.

Led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, leaders were quick to point out his milestones as the head of Safaricom and his service to Kenya. “He is a man who one can say truly lived life and lived that life not just in service of himself, his family but in service of society….He has made a contribution (to Kenya) greater than many who are born and bred and lived in Kenya throughout their lives,” said President Kenyatta during the service.

He noted that Bob loved Kenya as his home country, loved Safaricom as if it was his own and part of his family and loved his wife and children dearly. He also revealed that the then Safaricom CEO told him of his worsening health condition and that he wouldn’t be able to last the one-year extension at the helm. The discussion was held at Collymore’s home.

Deputy President William Ruto lauded his courage in the midst of his struggle with cancer, adding that he wasn’t just a business leader but one who inspired and influenced government policy. He cited his involvement in revamping the education sector and improving the systems at the Kenya Police.

He said at that time, President Kenyatta was leading task on police reforms, “We got to a stage when we had done many of the things and we ran into a station we could not manage because we were informed by the police they had an old communication system that sometimes even criminals had a way of listening in and so something needed to be done.” President Kenyatta took the issue to Bob and it was resolved, with a modern system in place.

On her part, Wambui Collymore acknowledged the fact that Bob left the scene when the applause was the loudest, quoting from John Mahama. She highlighted the influence he had, when she narrated how a stranger waved and saluted the convoy which was headed to Kariokor for the cremation on Tuesday, “It was someone that I would probably never meet again, a Kenyan like myself who felt that is duty that morning was to stand on the side of the road and announce to the world that Bob had left a mark in his life, nothing more.”

Friends, led by businessman and politician Peter Kenneth were present at the service, and Kenneth recounted memories of the close group of friends known as ‘The boys’ and the experiences they shared. Other leaders present included Cabinet Secretaries, Senators, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, UK High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey among others.