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Curtains fall for veteran KNA scribe

When he pulled the old bible from the office shelves to everyone’s surprise one chilly morning, no one knew what he was going to pen down.

The holy book in first Samuel 18: 25 would make an introduction to his politically themed story. King Saul had demanded ” a hundred Philistine foreskins” as bride price for his daughter Michal, who was in love with David.

The introduction, made in four neat paragraphs, remained on the desktop for four days, before Simon Mwangi Gaitha, may his soul rest in eternal peace, gave the story a body.

Gaitha collapses and died yesterday as he prepared to report on duty.

Mwangi, worked in Nyandarua County between 2012 and 2017. His particular interest being the mentorship of the next generation of media practitioners, this writer included.

Remembered by his colleagues at the Department of Information as an industrious and prolific writer, Mwangi was keen on having the young team grasp the art of writing with precision.

His sense of humour and love for commentaries and political opinions made him clash more with editors at the Kenya News Agency.

He laughed as he wrote his pieces, meaning that he wrote to his satisfaction. Whether you get to read it or not, he is done and dusted, over to the next.

Simplicity and accuracy of facts, is what he stood for. If you got three sides to your story, he is your friend.

“You are joking! Who is fooling who?” he always remarked, abandoning your story on the desktop. He would then quietly leave the office, to take a puff, at a designated spot, before giving it a polish to the liking of readers.

A man of less words, he was, but will take time to give a story or two to the amusement of his colleagues, because his stories were all humour.

Life lessons, particularly in the field of Journalism, would help the young writers to appreciate the assignment on their shoulder.

Politics intrigued Mwangi and participating in civic matters was his duty that he would not pass. He almost caused a scene at the Nyahururu Private Hospital, where he was admitted with burns, when the clinicians suggested that he may not vote in the repeated General Elections in 2017.

To prove that he was actually determined to vote, he demanded temporary discharge from hospital to cast his vote, which he did covered in hospital sheets.

“Rest in peace comrade, rest in peace friend, rest in peace mentor and guide”. Till we meet again, laugh with the angels, pass out greetings to Whispers, who you regarded as a fallen hero, and from him you took the mantle.

If eternity has professions, it is certain that you have already signed up for journalism. Write on Mwangi, write on!

By Anne Sabuni

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