Editorial and commentary


With Odongo Odoyo

It was slightly after 3.pm on Saturday when I received an unexpected call. It was our cashier, Betty calling me.

First my thought was that she had received or wanted to receive some huge payment that would need the presence of one of the senior managers at Juba Minitor.

This is not the normal procedure but an afterthought. The mobile phone network was poor and we could not communicate to understand one another.

Earlier in the day, I had been to the office up to around 2.45pm though l do not work on Saturdays.

We left the office with Juba Monitor’s Kampala Bureau Chief, Martin who was visiting.

I had just dropped him at the Crown Hotel and proceeded to meet some friends for Nyama Choma (roasted goat meat)  before the dreaded phone call came.

Betty opted to send me a text regarding the sad news of Alfred’s demise, it hit me like a thunderbolt.

Her text read “ Yaba Alfred Taban is dead”. First l panicked then composed myself to the reality. Then followed call after call, all with messages of condolence.

I was getting angry with myself. In our last executive committee meeting, which Alfred traditionally chaired, but this time chaired by his deputy, Anna Nimiriano, l had strongly suggested of going to Kampala to see and talk to my age-mate at his hospital bed.

I had suggested that either Anna or myself travel this week to Kampala to see Alfred because we had over relied on phone conversations.

We also though were not getting the true picture of the situation from family members regarding the actual condition of Alfred.

We had appealed for medical funds through media and a few friends responded through Juba Monitor accounts office.

To those true friends of Juba Monitor who contributed to try and save the life of Alfred, we thank you and may God be with you all because if it was within your power and ability, Alfred could still be alive, but God’s plan is the best.

Special thanks goes to the Media Authority, Universal Printers, India High Commission friends who contributed while attending a meeting at Amdiss and staff of Juba Monitor.

More special thanks go to one individual friend of Alfred, Raphael Tarira Tumbra. This old friend with deep and open heart walked all the way to our offices and presented the only money he had, 200SSP, which he gave willingly and with determination to save the life of his friend.

It is important to save one’s life when he is alive than wait to participate in the funeral arrangements after he is dead.

Going by the calls and messages we have received and continue receiving, I can confirm that Alfred’s demise has really shocked the whole world that the gone hero was adored by many across the borders.

It is the time for both the Juba Monitor family and Alfred’s family to be together work together and live together for his vision and mission to be achieved and for his legacy to continue inspiring the future generation. This is how we can win if we stand united.

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