Abdusalmad Ali, a journalist-turned-businessman based in Mombasa, spent a long time with Ngumbao Kithi, the retired journalist who died on Tuesday from heart-related ailment, as a friend and workmate at some point.
Here he mourns him:
Ngumbao was a gentleman. I worked with him for over four years in Nation Media Group and before that I had known him for like five years. He never made any enemies, never liked confrontation and was not the type to backbite.
He was also very funny. He was always a pleasure to be around. I remember when he was first diagnosed with the heart condition, if my memory serves me right, around 2006, it was Karim Rajan who rescued him from his house in very serious condition.
Actually at that time we never thought he could pull through. But he lived for over 10 years with the heart condition, bravely. If you met him you would not know that he had the condition unless he told you, or you knew his energetic past. His sense of humour never left him.
At work, Ngumbao was good at his work. Everyone would enjoy when he was the acting Bureau Chief. He made everyone feel special and he would defend all stories to the editors.
Of course, there was always a feeling that Nairobi never appreciated stories from outside the city. He would always make his feelings known to the powers that be.
We called each other “maalim”, “sheikh” or “ustadh”. We kept in touch after he left Nation and joined Standard but he took a backseat when he retired last year occasioned by the staff purge at the Standard.
I will miss Ngumbao.