By FRANK KAUMAH
The night has fallen of upon the day. The earth’s arc of justice has divorced the heavens at the horizon. A valley has dug deep into the souls of the wise. A wise man, an African Socrates has vanished into the clouds. The David’s sling of justice has swirled towards a wrong direction and has landed on a wrong forehead. The curtains that blankets wisdom has rolled down on a soul so dear.
Mr. President, Mwalimu Florence Doghana, The African Socrates, The philosopher, the father of books and the guardian of knowledge, the custodian of Queens’s language, and the man with a light oratory tongue etched on a persuasive rhetoric voice. An icon of humility and another ardent believer in justice is today, lying helplessly inside the stinking basket of death!
Well, like a man shaped in the boldness of fatherhood I should have held my tears, but even if I do, they will never quench my thirst. My heart is bleeding with heretic questions, but the man I eulogize today was a God’s instrument who spoke the voice of the oppressed. Doghana, a disciple of Martin Luther Kings’ Christ, has been fished out of the temporary immortality of man.
I came to know of him when fate admitted me to Moi University. Young and willing to explore, I was fast in my attempts to identify with the university “head boy”. And so, on the second day after my admission while on an errand to acclimate myself with university paths, I saw the fable President. His head stood almost 6 feet four above his heels as he carefully made his steps towards the entrance to students’ centre. He was a simple man. He appeared meek and feeble until he stopped to address our anxious ears.
His greeting was a speech, an impromptu speech to freshmen who were anxious and hungry for social identity. He had his own way of sinking words into the souls of his audience. Normally, such platforms are characterized by unruly boys, some so impatient even to listen to themselves but Mr. President had his own way. He constantly referred to us as “children of God” and when he finally walked away from us, we were indeed convinced that our confusion was just for a time. “We would soon overcome”.
He was the people’s president indeed and my love for words would not allow me to be so far from him. From the very day I met him, I became a secret disciple of this Main Campus savior. I would attend any meeting that he was rumored to be part. His eloquence reminded me of Luther Kings. Like in any political ecosystem, he had his critics too, but they lasted just as long as he was willing to be silent. Once he raised his eyebrows to widen his mouth to spit words, lions would choose vegetables over antelopes. Though he was soft spoken, in his mind boiled a pot of insolence whose moisture could not spare the unjust.
The Doghana I knew was extremely difficult to offend but extremely easy to defend. Mr. President was almost a hermit. He had a lovely engagement with books, I mean good books. Often he would be barricaded within his rooms munching knowledge and suffocating himself in philosophy. This was a trait that earned him a few enemies.
A misunderstanding cropped in his council as the president of the union. Perceived to be quiescent, Mr. President always struggled not to be. His insolence and ebullience gave him a contradicting look. A possible cause for the disintegration within a council that harbored men and women of classified integrity. And on we matured in campus with Doghana as our president. Personally I held Doghana as a role model to my political aspirations in campus. And when his council was dissolved after being the longest serving chairman, Doghana left a champion. He had his failures but his strengths were much more conspicuous than his human errors.
After trailing his roots secretly to a point of maturity, my time to salvage him from the jaws of injustice came when he staged war with some egocentric woman in some department in the administration. I ardently and with all my knowledge stood by his view and when he finally exited after expulsion, Doghana was once again a darling to many who remained keen on his track.
That was a time with this great man, a teacher by both confession and profession. He was easy to admire but hard to understand. And when death finally talked to him, he turned against longevity that was my wish for him.
Mwalimu is dead. The grass will never know, the sea will never realize neither will the beast of the wilderness grin, but he has left an indelible mark upon the air. Silently, he has accepted the invitation to the council of heavens. Go well Mwalimu. Find peace as you sail past the sea of clouds. And as you enter the chariots, drop your rob for me, my African Socrates. Find shelter under the shade that Obillo Kobilo has built and when we finally meet, I will spend at your place before my own judgment day.
Go well brother.