A friend I will never meet
By Anne Mugisha
Just when everything seemed to be going according to plan, the
news of Kevin Aliro’s death has taken the wind out of my sails.
Just over one year ago, I sent Kevin an e-mail congratulating him
on the launching of The Weekly Observer, which was fast becoming
a national leader in objective, investigative journalism.
I also asked him for a regular column in the newspaper. He responded
immediately, thanking me for the remarks and offered me a weekly
From that first exchange we developed a relationship of mutual
trust and respect.
Along the way of this one year professional relationship of a writer
and her editor, we crossed the line of indifference and became close
friends, sharing more than the factual and grammatical errors of
my advocacy writing, to criticising each other’s opinions
on current affairs, exchanging tit-bits about politics and the media
I will never meet Kevin and I mourn him deeply. He will be missed
by his family, friends, writers, colleagues, the media fraternity
and all progressive forces for change in Uganda.
Kevin’s last email to me on Thursday, October 27, found me
in Bangkok. It says a lot about the man. We shall miss his commitment
to his work and the fact that he had time to share with us his hopes,
worries and reflections on life.
Thanks for all your good wishes. I hope I will [be] OK soon. At
least I can now read and write e-mail. Never mind with a lot of
inconsistencies. I [was] comatose for 4 days. When I came to at
Kampala International Hospital on October 9, I had lost my speech
and sense of issues, date, people and everything. I hadn’t
even realised I had been in hospital - let alone for four days already.
I was brought to London’s Royal Free Hospital on Pond Street
on October 13. It is now month end. My speech is still slurred and
writing may be back to P3 days. But for the first time I was able
to take a walk beyond my room today and even sat in a restaurant.
My final hospital tests are tomorrow; then the consultant will determine
whether I can be allowed to fly home in the meantime and return
for further examination/treatment in three months.
Of course, she wanted me to stay in London with weekly visits to
hospital until then. But we put our heads together [and] we realised
that having been admitted as a private citizen, I could not afford
to pay the medical bill for that whole period and maintain myself
in London. At least when I return to Kampala, I can raise another
air ticket from my salary and one or two friends helping a bit.
But this was really too close to the edge. I am lucky to survive
even with poor speech and memory. It looked easier to pass on than
to recover in any form at all!
John Kevin Ogen Aliro.
May his soul rest in peace.
• Adieu, dear Kevin
what a loss!
friend I will never meet
friends, media fraternity mourn Kevin
spirit will live on
for a fallen friend