When I first got the information of the death of journalist Emmanuel K. Mulbah on Facebook, I couldn't easily believe it. Worst of all, I felt very sad when I later got confirmed reports that he died on January 5th--my birthday!
"No, no, no! Emmanuel Mulbah dead!!!???" I yelled in my small PUL office, causing distraction. The news of this young man's death has remained mind-boggling and astounding to not only me, but many. Oh, yes, I knew him,
I knew him very well. He was a brother, a friend, a professional colleague. We covered several programs and events together, including the presidency. He always carried his video camera on his shoulders, or in his bag or arms shooting and capturing scenes and footages. That was his area, and he knew it very well.
He participated in nearly all PUL's activities for the 10 years I knew him personally in the media. He played for the Pen Pushers (PUL sport team), and I watched him dribble, defend and kicked at goal. He scored. He celebrated; we cheered and shared the fun.
Mulbah was professional, he was resilient, he was strong, he was committed, and he was fantastic--a journalist, a strong journalist he was.
He often smiled and joked at me. He respected me, despite being his junior brother. He told me he liked my easy-goingness and attitudes to others, and often called me "Chief", "Mr. Editor", "ASG", and "Sengbeh". Yes, I remembered his friendship.
His premature departure is a blow to the Liberian media; yes, a bombshell, an irreparable loss and a bitter pill to swallow. I heard PUL President Peter Quaqua say that. I don't need to be convinced to believe it. The PUL will miss Mulbah.
Now, I must tell myself "have my sympathy" in the most weepy way and ask not God why. The Creator holds destiny and fate and I pray that He accepts the soul of Mulbah and find a comfortable resting place until we meet again, on that great getting up morning. Rest in peace Mulbah!!
To those of us left yet behind, let's be reminded that we will one day depart. We will all die some day as long as we were born. To me, it doesn't matter when we die, where we die, and how we die; what matters most is what people say after us when we die, and that's our legacy. Mulbah was a hardworking journalist, a devoted camera man and TV journalist who screened great scenes and peoples, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Bush.
My friend suddenly died on Saturday, January 5th at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital due to what medical practitioners called "heart failure." He was reportedly playing football (one of his hobbies) when he collapsed and was pronounced dead when he was rushed to hospital. He was video stringer for the Reuters News Agency and also served the Liberian media for 20 with various institutions including the State Television (ELTV), Kiss TV , Ducor Broadcasting Corporation (DCTV), Sarafina Ventures and Communications Incorporated (Love TV) and Power TV. Immediately prior to his death, Emmanuel served as Executive Director of Developmental Media Inc, a media NGO.
He left an imprint on the media landscape.
When I signed the book of condolence in his memory, I was compelled to write: "Emmanuel, you came, you played your role; you fought and won the battle for press freedom. Now, you leave us in tears, creating a vacuum that may be very difficult to fill. May your soul rests in perfect peace. We will miss you after faithfully serving the media for 20 years."