Bob Collymore’s last words to President Uhuru Kenyatta


President Uhuru Kenyatta pays tribute to the late Bob Collymore during the memorial service at ...
President Uhuru Kenyatta pays tribute to the late Bob Collymore during the memorial service at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi on Thursday, July 4, 2019. PHOTO | PSCU

In Summary

  • He narrated how Collymore reached out to him about three weeks ago while he was in Canada for the Women Deliver conference.
  • The Head of State noted that despite the time difference, Collymore consistently tried to call him, two days in a row.
  • The call would come in at around 2am Canadian time.
  • "On the second day I picked up his call and asked him, 'Bob why are you calling me at 2o'clock in the morning' to which he responded Í didn't know you were travelling. I said 'Yes I am, and it's 2o'clock in the morning so I will call you when I get back," President Kenyatta said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has revealed details of the last conversation he had with Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore before he died.

Speaking during the memorial ceremony at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi on Thursday, the Head of State intimated his relationship with Collymore.

“There are four things that Bob loved but the fourth I cannot say it here: Bob loved Kenya, he loved Safaricom as if it was his own..a part of his family and Bob loved his wife and his children, dearly…like I said the fourth one I won’t mention but some of you here know what it is,” President Kenyatta said.

This statement drew a chuckle from Wambui Collymore who had been in a sombre and seemingly reflective mood during the service.

She was seen smiling as the President continued with his speech.

“A friend we have lost as part of our soul….and even as we celebrate, there is still pain of being left by somebody who cared so passionately about the things that he did,” President Kenyatta noted.

He narrated how Collymore reached out to him about three weeks ago while he was in Canada for the Women Deliver conference noting that despite the time difference, the Safaricom boss consistently tried to call him for two days in a row.

The call would come in at around 2am Canadian time.

“On the second day I picked up his call and asked him, ‘Bob why are you calling me at 2o’clock in the morning’ to which he responded: ‘I didn’t know you were travelling.’ I said ‘Yes I am, and it’s 2o’clock in the morning so I will call you when I get back,” President Kenyatta added.

Collymore remained adamant that he had something urgent to discuss with him saying: I just want to tell you, I made you a promise that I would hang on for another year with the company but I will have to break that promise.”

President Kenyatta said that when he asked Collymore why he would have to renege, the Safaricom CEO said he would tell him when he got back and insisted that the conversation they had just had remains confidential.

Collymore’s statement is said to have left the President with a lot of unanswered questions.

When the President got back from Canada, he called Collymore and they met at the latter’s house where he revealed that he only had a few weeks to live.

“As I told you, I’m going to have to break my promise,” the President quoted Collymore saying that he spoke with a smile on his face.

President Kenyatta then intimated how he joked with Collymore asking if it was his wife Wambui who had ‘put him under pressure.”

At this point, Wambui is seen smiling again, seated at the front row with the congregation that had gathered to pay their last respects.

‘I don’t think Wambui will allow me,” President Kenyatta quoted Collymore yet again to which the Head of State responded: “Yes, well, she succeeded.”

It is at this point that Collymore told the President: “I don’t have more than a couple of weeks to go.”

When the President suggested that he would help Collymore seek further treatment, Collymore declined saying he had tried everything and had accepted that his ‘time had come’.

“I spent 3 hours with Bob, where he told me about his vision for Safaricom and the country. We talked about how to deal with the moral fabric of society that has collapsed,” President Kenyatta added saying as Collymore spoke, he wondered why a dying man would be so concerned about the company he was leaving behind and not himself.

Collymore told him that his ‘chapter was closed’ and his greatest concern was the future of those he would be leaving behind.

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Story By Rachel Ombaka
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