On dowry talks and an ‘hour-long’ Collymore’s smile

There were lots of light moments to savour at the All Saint Cathedral where President Uhuru Kenyatta led mourners in celebrating the life of the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

The political class, business magnates, musicians and members of the public flocked the church to pay tribute to the corporate titan. Collymore, who died on Monday morning after a long battle with cancer, was cremated on Tuesday at a private ceremony in Kariokor, Nairobi.

The late Collymore, who was aged 61, was mourned as having been a dedicated

worker, performer, humble, visionary, champion of inclusivity, courageous, honest and loyal friend, music lover, mentor, time keeper, generous, humorous and inspirational.

Despite a sombre mood, there were moments of laughter during the eulogy.

Captain (rtd) Kung’u Muigai, a close family friend to Bob Collymore’s wife Wambui- Kamiru Collymore, left the congregation in stitches when he gave a peek into what transpired during Wambui’s dowry negotiations.

Kung’u, who was one of the elders leading dowry negotiations for Wambui’s family, recounted how Collymore was worried for the entire time.

“When we eventually accepted the dowry and gave him the go-ahead for the marriage, the man’s face lit up like a Christmas tree… he beamed for a whole straight hour,” recounted Kung’u.

A former great friend of Wambui’s late dad Kiago Kamiru, Kung’u had coincidentally accompanied Mr Kamiru during the dowry payment of Wambui’s mum, Prof Njeri Wamae.

Unfortunately, like his son-in-law who he never met, Kamiru died in 2007 after a long battle with cancer.

He eulogised Collymore as an articulate man both in plan and execution and that the late telco boss remained true to his attributes even during the dowry negotiations.

Bob Collymore, he narrated, set up a team comprising those he thought were the best dowry negotiators in town, led by the then Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai and KCB CEO Joseph Oigara to help him woo the bride’s family.

The two lovebirds would later tie the knot in April 2016 at an invite-only purple- and-white themed wedding.

“During the negotiations, Githu Muigai tried to intimidate me to call him father, I agreed, but that didn’t help him. He tried to pull rank as the AG, that didn’t wash and they realised he had come across a seasoned dowry bargainer,” Rtd Captain Kung’u said amid laughter from mourners.

Kung’u did not however state how much was paid for the dowry. Wambui’s family said they never regretted giving their daughter to Bob.

Mr Collymore’s mother-in-law, Prof Wamae said that she was introduced to Bob by her daughter during their early days of dating.

“I say to Bob’s mother and sister: Thank you for giving Bob to my family, to Kenya and to the world,” she said.

Source:Daily Nation, BY LEOPOLD OBI

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