What you need to know:
- Monari helped many without expecting, nor receiving anything in return.
- Even as his health began to trouble him, Monari always took time to check on friends.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly
Tomorrow, we say that final goodbye to Evans Nyarong’i Monari, Esq. He will be laid to rest at his family home at Gesima in Nyakongo village, Nyamira county. Just shy of 59 years, Monari departed too soon; he had so much more to do, so many more places to go, so many more lives to touch, and so much more of himself to give in making this world more livable. Perhaps life at best, indeed, is very brief. Monari packed into his brief life what many would need several lifetimes to accomplish. He filled every unforgiving minute of six decades with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.
Evans lived. On this particular account there can be no controversy. A man of stupendously diverse talents and interests, Monari saturated his allotted time with a prodigious abundance of accomplishments, pursuits and expressions of his numerous gifts. By some mysterious divine endowment, none was neglected. This nifty superpower of Monari’s was powered by a profoundly agile and perpetually productive mind. Countless people will easily testify that Monari had a fine legal mind. And that is perfectly true.
What is truer is that Monari was simply a fine mind: bright, curious, analytical and breathtakingly imaginative problem-solving machine. Finally, Monari’s superpower was buttressed by immense personal magnetism. He was a perpetual charmer of people and bearer of a brilliant, irresistible smile.
I have attempted a decidedly poor sketch of a formidable man. He was intensely literary who effortlessly evinced vast reading and grasp of all manner of ideas. Moreover, Monari was enthusiastically dramatic. In the early years of knowing him, he once accompanied the LSK Council to Eldoret, and thoughtfully brought me tickets to a Phoenix Players’ show, because we had collided at the Professional Centre one night shortly after being introduced, and I had mentioned to him that I had travelled just to take in a play.
Monari was also a life-long chorister. He joyfully recounted his youthful days as a member of an a capella group – Woodland Quartet or some such. This musicality would later mutate into an insatiable love for jazz, rhumba and benga records, concerts and bands.
Yet that is not enough. Monari loved many sports. He travelled with his golf bag and attended rugby matches. He also basically frogmarched me to the races and, for a season, we joined Donald Kipkorir and he at Ngong where their prized and initially successful beast, Flying Whisky, treated us to exhilarating performances. As long as the animal did not embarrass him, say, by stopping to graze in the lush field beyond the starting gate, any performance was ample cause for exuberant celebration. He claimed that a mare whose particulars are very well known to Dr John Khaminwa acquired indelible infamy through such indiscretion.
Monari was a senior old school lawyer. He was fiercely proud of his professional and personal ties. An avid and gracious mentor, he looked out for an entire cohort of rising stars, firmly holding their hand until they found sure footing. He was unfailingly compassionate and spent a lot of time rallying people to good causes.
Decorous, discreet and diplomatic, he accomplished many delicate assignments with artistic dexterity and good cheer. In court and all formal encounters with colleagues, Monari was elegantly profuse with the straitlaced courtesies of a legendary vintage. He was exceedingly generous, selfless and never greedy. He helped many without expecting, nor receiving anything in return. Many of the troubles that beset the Law Society would be manageable if the Senior Bar did not entirely retreat into a foggy obscurity.
Even as his health began to trouble him, Monari always took time to check on friends. In the two decades I knew him, he called regularly just to find out how it’s all going. Monari loved this country with a direct, uncomplicated devotion. He was always at hand to help a public cause. As we all know very well, Monari had innumerable occasions to toast a drink, and always he began, “To the President!”
Although he never explicitly said it, Monari had tremendous expectations of the current administration; far less accomplished others had somehow risen to positions of responsibility. He ushered a number to their magnificent opportunities. Every impending instalment of new appointments battered him with anticipation mingled with the premonition of disappointment.
This figure, of a man determinedly keeping faith in the face of relentless disappointment, wearing that hopeful smile as treachery ran him over, that haunts. In his final days, Monari was oblivious of the multiple ways arguably worse betrayals manifested as the world appeared to compete in throwing him under the bus.
It is a disservice to dwell on such dismaying passages. Monari departed this world a well-loved, fine man and brilliant advocate, who lived a truly abundant life.
The writer is an advocate of the High Court and a former State House speech writer. @EricNgeno