Kenyatta Leads Kenyans in Mourning Collymore

Bob Collymore.

The death of Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore on Monday morning was received with shock and sadness across the country.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto eulogised Collymore as an important figure in the growth of the country's economy.

"Bob Collymore was an accomplished corporate leader, who steered Safaricom to ... great admiration as East Africa's most profitable company," Mr Kenyatta said.

Mr Ruto said Collymore was a distinguished corporate titan, whose shrewd leadership at the helm of Safaricom was commendable.

CONDOLENCES

"He steered the company to new heights and contributed immensely to the evolution of Kenya's corporate scene," he said.

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga condoled with the Collymore family.

"My condolences go out to friends and family of Mr Bob Collymore as well as the Safaricom fraternity. Bob served our country with dedication and sustained us as a communication hub in Africa. May his soul rest in eternal peace," Mr Odinga said.

Businessman Chris Kirubi also recognised the achievements the company and the country have made, thanks to Collymore.

"It is with deep sadness that I have learnt this morning news of the death of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. As a country, we have lost a distinguished leader who contributed to national development. My condolences to the family, friends and Kenyans. Rest in peace my friend," Mr Kirubi tweeted.

Some recognised Collymore's business acumen and hunger for innovation while others talked of his personality.

"I have hundreds of texts with Bob Collymore going back to 2011. He responded to the countless interview requests, banter and more health updates. He lived a full, passionate life. So long, my friend," posted BBC editor Larry Madowo.

INNOVATION

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi also eulogised Collymore.

"Even as the company remained the most profitable, breaking new grounds in innovation that changed the lives of her clients, Bob remained simple and focused," Mr Moi said.

Hundreds of Kenyans took to social media to express their grief.

Erik Solheim @ErikSolheim tweeted that he was saddened by the news.

"Hardly anyone has done more for the development of Kenya. Building Safaricom, producing jobs, connecting people, big heart for the environment. Thanks for all, Bob! RIP," Solheim tweeted.

Linnet Kipruto said it was a sad moment for Kenya.

"May the Almighty rest his soul in eternal peace. We have lost a treasure," she posted.

JUDICIARY

For Robert Gateru, Collymore "will forever remain a true beacon of service-driven leadership. I have admired and learnt a lot from you. Shalom."

The Safaricom CEO was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and received treatment in the UK from October 2017 until July 2018 when he returned to his post at Safaricom. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

Chief Justice David Maraga sent a message of condolences to Ms Wambui Collymore and their four children "on behalf of the Judiciary as well as my family ... He was an exemplary corporate leader who not only drove the financial performance of his company to unparalleled heights but also created many avenues of support for deserving charities and individuals who benefited greatly from Safaricom's corporate social responsibility," he said.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said Safaricom supported devolution conferences and connectivity grew exponentially during Collymore's time at Safaricom.

"It is during his time that Safaricom grew its partnership with county governments, offering different solutions and boosting public-private partnerships that have revolutionised the working of devolved governments," the Council of Governors chairman said.

PURPOSEFUL BUSINESS

Kisumu Governor Peter Anyang Nyong'o credited Collymore with making cancer treatment accessible.

"Bob had become an integral face of the fight to make cancer management accessible to all," Prof Nyong'o said.

Nation Media Group chief executive Stephen Gitagama expressed sadness at the news of the death.

"Mr Collymore will be fondly remembered for his commitment to transforming the lives of Kenyans through advocating for purposeful business," Mr Gitagama said.

For Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge, Collymore "helped make M-Pesa and its products a core part of the payment infrastructure".

"Bob helped position Kenya as a global leader in financial inclusion," Dr Njoroge and CBK staff said.

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