Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

Down memory lane this far l humble myself when remembering one of my greatest mentor and professional colleague the stylist and veteran journalist Philip Ochieng who died in his home town of Ombo in Kenya this week.l remember when l met Philip at the then Nation Newspaper along Tom Mboya Street was under the command of the late Boaz Omori. He was a young man and l was not any better who did not know that in future, l would meet again and work with Philip. As an editor, Philip was a no nonsense man who became celebrated fifth columnist and author of several works. His sense of choosing topics and subjects made him be non-comparable at that time. It is not who he was but what he did to mentor young upcoming journalists that will count. Indeed Kenya, the region, the continent and the world have lost one of the best brain and pioneer of the profession who l once compared to the then Editor of the famous weekly publication, the Weekly review, Hilary Ngweno, a historian and a journalist. Philip became into prominence during the KANU rule with his “KANU BRIEF”. Kenya and the world media are awash with Philip’s professional contribution in the industry. He has walked this long journey and can only hope that his professional contribution would not be forgotten and should be made to inspire the young and up-coming journalists in the world. It gives me a sense of feeling that whatever one does let it be for the good of mankind. Even the bible says do to others what you wish to be done to you. I could mention many professional colleagues who went through Philip as a personal mentor and as editor, but they are out there and they know what this great man did to them to make them be where they are today. Philips professional approach reminded me of one colleague the late Wahome Mutahi who was famous with his Whispers column. I remember then there were only two main daily newspapers, the Nation/Taifa and the Standard. Working for one of the two was a prestige with health competition and to make it better we had the press club where all journalists from both print and electronic met regularly. The electronic media then was only KBC. Which became voice of Kenya. We were children of one mother one father. No division only when at work. Exchanging of ideas was the thing which kept one unity to all of us. There are those who have gone before us but whose media contribution remain solid for the well-being of mankind. A number of journalists in the Eastern African region have flooded media outlets with their condolences to the fallen veteran Philip. His passing on should be a symbol of unity among the practicing journalists who at one time or another shared with him or those who did not know him at all but would wish to propel by following professionalism ethics.

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