Acting Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph shed light on the special relationship that he shared with the late Bob Collymore who served in the capacity until his demise.
In an interview with Jackson Biko for Business Daily published on Friday, March 6, Joseph made clear that his very intimate relationship with the late Collymore opened room for misinterpretation from many who knew them.
“He used to send me books to read. I loved him. People misinterpreted it, they thought it was some other kind of relationship, but it wasn’t.
“It was always about two guys getting together and spending so much time talking about serious honest topics that guys don’t talk about especially when death was all around,” he opened up.
Acting Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph during a media briefing on July 1, 2019, following the demise of Bob Collymore.
Joseph added that he and Collymore shared so much in terms of life circumstances that their lives became intertwined.
“I was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, I went through this life-threatening disease, and some tough emotional times. I promised to live the rest of my life to the fullest because I might have died in 2003,” he told the reporter.
He further explained that while his struggles with the debilitating disease had taught him not to fear death, he always feared for Collymore given his relatively young age and family.
“With Bob, I was worried for him because he was younger, he had so much to live for, he had young children. And, he was just a good guy. A guy who read all these books. He had thousands of books,” Joseph recalled.
He added that despite his experience at the helm of the giant telco, he found it hard to confide in people or seek help from them because many do not fully comprehend the nature of the decisions he was tasked with making.
He, however, praised Collymore as one of those people who he could approach with an issue and get a solution given the understanding they shared and also his experiences.
“This position is lonely. It’s a position of solitude where you have to make decisions and there aren’t many people to get advice from. Not many people know the context of which you’re making decisions.
“But Bob Collymore was one of them. I had dinner with Obama [Former US President Barack Obama] once. It was interesting. He was like everybody else; big ego. It’s difficult to talk about yourself in such situations, you want to talk about him,” he recounted.
President Uhuru Kenyatta consoles Wambui Kamiru during the memorial service of her husband Bob Collymore at All Saints’ Cathedral in Nairobi on July 4, 2019.
Collymore passed on on July 1, 2019, at the age of 61 after suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
He is survived by a wife, Wambui Kamiru Collymore and four children.