I did not know Hon Sammy Karanja until we were formally nominated as the winning Jubilee candidates in our respective seats.
Prior to that as we campaigned, my team had adopted a policy of neutrality on all other positions at the county level.
During my first meeting with Sammy after the nominations, I realised the passion and honesty he had. That of a leader on a mission to serve his people.
We connected immediately due to his persistent sheng that marked all his conversations. If I spoke to him in English or vernacular, his response was always in sheng.
We discussed many issues but the lingering legacy was to be seen a few years later at the Gioto dumpsite.
For anyone who had used the Kabarak road, the stench along the dumpsite was the rude sign that you were crossing London area.
In my earlier days, when we drove through the road, I had noted that we would all hold our breath for a few seconds to cross the section full of smoldering smoke, pigs and goats that often fed by the roadside.
I explained to Sammy that we could not continue with such an eyesore in our town. His only request was that the community that made a living in the dumpsite be included in the solution.
We agreed and held several meetings with the community that eked out a living from the dumpsite.
I was happy to meet a 92-year- old grandmother who had been in the dumpsite for over 40 years. She was the symbol of resilience and hope to a deprived community.
Subsequently, our meetings would always begin with, “cucu akoje?” For a long time his answer was always, “cucu ako poa.”
This went on until earlier in the year when Sammy told me, ‘cucu hayuko poa’.
Sadly, she passed away earlier this year just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, the drive through the same section of the road is a pleasant sight with green vegetation growing over the embarkment we built from waste soils from nearby road construction works.
We spent almost nothing to convert an eyesore to a beautiful landscape.
We celebrate Sammy for his amazing skills in bringing the community together to support the landmark transformation.
“Great friends we made,
Greats friends we lost along the way.
In this great future you can’t forget the past…..
So dry your tears i say…”
May the Almighty God preserve Sammy’s soul where His angels lay.