A TRIBUTE TO JOE NYAGA:
On October 9TH 2020 at around 11.05 PM USA time, I received a late night call and to my big surprise, it was from a man I had last seen and talked to many years ago when I was a practicing Architect in Kenya.
That man was no other but Joe Nyaga who had in the year 1998, commissioned my firm to do interior design to his office that was located at Milimani Hill near Community. During the period of supervision, we did not however interact much as he was rarely in the office, but after completing his assignment, he was satisfied with my work and promised me bigger things. It was however a short encounter though because after that, I never met him again as I later relocated to USA.
After many years the unforgettable call came before midnight, and the same was a long one for we talked over one hour until it was after midnight. We discussed many issues which among them, was how the Kenyan Government can benefit if Diaspora can be made part of building the Kenyan economy. He told me how ineffective remittances are as they only help the domestic sector, and the total figures that keep on rising could, if properly directed, greatly impact the economy instead of the current method of trickling via cash trapped relatives. “It can happen if the Government can engage the Diaspora directly through policies and make them part of decision making and even taking part in Government tenders”. He had stressed and was optimistic that it will happen soon as he had plans to sell the idea to the Government. He had after hanging, up immediately text a message that read “ Asante Sana. It was nice talking to you. Lets Keep in touch. Blessings”.
After that day, Joe Nyaga would every week, send me stories that he had personally written and I would send them for publishing to our e-papers, the Mt Kenya Times, and The Diaspora Times. I would then after publishing, send him a copy which he would personally distribute to many of his circle of friends.
He had hinted to me the big surprise he would make in 2022 as he had been requested by the people of the Mt Kenya area, to consider vying for the General elections as President of Kenya. He had disclosed to me that it was mostly the Akorino sector that had approached him but he was however not sure which party he would use to do so.
I had encouraged him and told him that politics get better with age,.. then gave him a tape that had suggested the same while comparing his age to that of Joe Biden who is even older just to motivate him even further.
I had no idea that this great man would succumb to the very disease he had talked about in his last lengthy article that we published at the Mt Kenya Times, and The Diaspora Times. The title was “Kenyan Politicians Competing Against COVID-19’’
In the article, he had advised the Government to concentrate on advising people on how to take extra precaution to avoid the pandemic, not imagining that he would one day be a victim. That was the last article he wrote around Nov 14th. I could not communicate with him after Nov 28th a week after sending him the last Diaspora Times newspaper on Nov 22 nd.
I was to later learn from the brother in law that he was in the hospital thereafter, prompting me to write many messages of quick recovery but all were not received and never replied like it would be the case before. I then finally knew the worst had happened and ruled out he was not even in a position to respond and then the worst finally happened as posted to the many Diaspora groups.
A very dedicated Kenyan has left us when we needed him most and he will surely be missed by many.
Here at the Diaspora Times, we share our sincere condolence to the family of one of our dedicated contributor and wish all family members and friends he has left behind, comfort as they mourn their great father, brother, grandfather, and friend to many.
Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Arch Dr Isaac Kinungi
The Diaspora Times Newspapers