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Moving: Lawyer Evans Monari’s tribute to himself

Lawyer Evans Monari’s journey to the hereafter began this morning at Lee Funeral Home, in Nairobi. It will take him through Nairobi Central SDA Church, before he heads to Nyakongo SDA church in Nyamira on Saturday, and Nyakongo High School on Sunday before his interment. Here’s a moving tribute to be read out by his friend, Solicitor General Ken Ogeto, in all these stops.

The late Evans Monari. [File, Standard]

It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience. For once I didn’t get things my way this time around!

On 20 October, 1962 my parents and the larger Riakumba Village celebrated my birth and I was introduced to all as Evans Nyarong’i Monari, the first born child of George Hudson Monari Ogeto (who left us recently) and Teresa Bosibori Monari. Thereafter, I celebrated the first birthdays of my siblings Ken, Dr. Fronica, Late Lilian, Geoffrey and Dennis.

As a child I attended Nyakongo, Kahawa and St. Georges Primary Schools, which planted the seed that eventually led me to becoming a lawyer. Frankly speaking, I really enjoyed reading comics like Archie, Astrix, Beano etc. Occasionally I would play ‘Hide and Seek’ and was the biggest trader of marbles in the neighborhood.

I proudly started my secondary school education at Parklands but I didn’t like their uniform and soon left for Upperhill School where I spent five years. Indeed, I passed my A-level with flying colours winning the coveted best literature student in Kenya before proceeding to study law at the University of Nairobi. Initially I wanted to study journalism but thanks to my late father who convinced me to study law, something I am forever grateful.

So many things in my life seemed of little significance at the time they happened but then took on a greater importance as I got older. The memories I’m taking with me now are so precious and have more value than all the gold and silver in my jewelry box.

Memories … where do I begin? Let’s for a moment shift our thoughts from the fact that I am gone from earth to another world to one of the many funny, joking, laughing, musical, happy comical times we shared together … and there were many for all us.

For a brief, MY LIFE HISTORY: By Solicitor-General Kennedy Ogeto, CBS. As Narrated by Evans Monari, take a moment to relieve it and smile.

The law class of ’87 where I was the class prefect, was a very successful lot, we even produced the First Lady Chief Justice in Kenya, well done Chief Justice Martha Koome!

I will be writing the names of noise makers from this world. Keep our vision alive and remember ‘when I want your opinion I will give it to you’. Being the cheerleader of ‘The Mean Machine’ was amazing, I fully feel you guys, I hear your song … let’s keep it happy.

I got married to my friend and sweetheart Jacqueline Okindo in a garden wedding at the Great Court, University of Nairobi in 1994. We were blessed with lovely children namely: Cynthia Angel Monari-Childerhouse, Michelle Moraa Monari, Joshua Andrew Monari and Jeremy Monari. I was the father in law to Thomas Mark Childerhouse and korera to Mark and Hellen Childerhouse. Son-in-law to the late Andrew Okindo, Tabitha Moraa and Agnes Moraa. Brother-in-law to Carren Monari, Eng. Amedi Mutuli, Evelyn Monari, Pacifica, Hellen, late Julius, Jane, Prof. Elmelda, Beatrice, late Cecilia, Sixtus, Felix, Roselyne, Gregory, Gratus, Lydia, Wilfridah, Veronica, Edna, Clare, Marcella and Christine. I was a nephew to Daniel Bosire, Wilkister Nyakang’i, Florence Mosero, Monica Kemunto, Moses Nyambane, Dr. Julius Ogeto, Jane Obonyo and others. Cousin to Robert, late Kepha, Rodgers, late James, Philomena, George (USA), Ronald, Eugene, Roy, Douglas, the Bosires, the Abners, the Obares, the Wakhungus, the Dr. Ogetos, the Mogakas and others. Uncle to Mary, George, Nicole, Stephen, late Peter, Natasha, George, Stephanie, Maria, Rehema, Casey, Hudson, Eric, Sheila, Maureen, Jivone, Lorna, Jayden, Daphne and Braiden. Grandfather to Zahra.

As a young lawyer I did my pupillage at the prestigious Kaplan and Stratton Advocates under the tutelage of the famous Senior Counsel Pheroze Nowrojee before proceeding with my long legal journey at Oraro and Rachier, Simani and Co. Advocates, Mboya Advocates.

At some point, I was a State Counsel before taking on a brief stint at the Museums of Kenya. Later, I partnered with some of my learned friends and formed Sunkuli, Ogetto and Monari Advocates before joining Daly and Figgis as a Partner. I have advised and litigated in countless areas of law that span from commercial, civil, judicial review, constitutional to high-profile criminal briefs.

Lawyer Evans Monari when he represented Maj Gen (Rtd) Hussein Ali at ICC.

Among my stand-out achievements were my successful defence of the Government of Kenya in an International Arbitration and the role I played in 2011, as the Lead Defense Counsel at the International Criminal Court in respect of my friend Gen. Hussein Mohammed and later joined the Defence of H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta. I was also part of the legal team that acted for H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 2017 Presidential Election Petition at the Supreme Court of Kenya.

I served the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) diligently as a Council Member from 2007 to 2010 and also represented the LSK in the National Council for Law Reporting (Kenya Law) between 2009 and 2015, among other capacities. I was also a member of the East Africa Law Society (EALS). I served in several public appointments among them the 2016 Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel.

Unknown to many I served as a Board Member of a Dutch NGO known as Friends for Life Foundation that pays fees for poor kids and supports mentorship programmes. My last assignment was as the Senior Disputes & Arbitration Partner at Bowmans Nairobi, Kenya: Coulson Harney LLP, Chairman & Non-Executive Director of Eaagads Ltd. and Chairman & Director of Sax & Violins Lounge, Karen.

I bravely endured a long illness but unfortunately on Monday October 4, 2021 I passed on after being hospitalised at the Nairobi Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where I was battling multiple complications of the internal organs.

I’ve been a devoted son, an energetic teenager, a loving husband, a comforting father, a dedicated lawyer, a true and loyal friend and if you don’t believe it, just ask me. Oh wait, I’m afraid it’s too late for questions. Sorry!

So … I was born; I blinked; and it was over. No buildings named after me; no monuments erected in my honour. However, I did have the chance to know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?

So in the end, remember… do your best, follow your arrow, and make something amazing out of your life.

Oh, and never stop smiling. If you want to, you can look for me in the evening sunset or with the earliest spring daffodils or amongst the flitting and fluttering butterflies.  You know I’ll be there in one form or another. Of course that will probably comfort some while antagonizing others, but you know me … it’s what I do.

I’ll leave you with this … please don’t cry because I’m gone; instead be happy that I was here. (Or maybe you can cry a little bit. After all, I have passed away).

Today I am happy and I am dancing. Probably playing a saxophone too.

Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”.

If that is true, then I made a great life.  

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