SPECIAL PROJECTS
 
24th November 2005
JOHN KEVIN OGEN ALIRO TRIBUTE

You inspired the young

By Martin Sebuliba
GUEST WRITER

Lately, I have been thinking deeply about the life I want to lead going forward, and most importantly the legacy I want to leave when I finally pass on.

Kevin’s death on November 12, which I only got to know about on Sunday night, didn’t help this thought process in any way, but rather fueled it to the extent that it’s all I could think of during his funeral service at Christ the King Church. Why?

Because in Kevin I saw a relatively young man who through his accomplishments had without a doubt built a monument big enough to live years past his passing.
I can’t claim to have personally known Kevin but my job allowed me the privilege of closely following his works. As a client service manager, I remember seeing him walk into my Managing Director’s office at QG Saatchi & Saatchi together with Elizabeth Kameo, with whom and other colleagues, they pioneered The Weekly Observer.

Armed with a concept and a team of 11 determined young people, they had come to sell space in their paper. Whether they succeeded, I can’t recall but as we’ll all recognise, what was then is now history because these young men and women, with their pens and brains, energised by fantastic selling skills, launched a paper that I, with authority, would recommend anyone to read.

Even without manipulating mostly sensational political stories, Kevin and his team have managed, since March 2004, to maintain a 7-day shelf life worth of news.

At the time Kevin and his colleagues left The Monitor (which he also helped set up), it was evident they were branching out on their own and their fate had already been assumed – failure; just like others who tried both before and after them.

However, they clearly zipped the utterances of all skeptics and I can only rally the WO team Kevin has left behind to carry on the vision. That is the best way you’ll ever repay Kevin – who even on his deathbed was apparently asking for his laptop and email connectivity so that he could punch in yet another story!

Watching his best friend Dismas Nkunda and colleague James Tumusiime eulogise the man [during the church service], you could deeply feel their sense of loss, and like James said, it was clear that their father, teacher, friend, trainer, team leader and so much more had also orphaned them.

But what I know, and what the presiding priest [reading the ‘Parable of the Talents’ in Mathew 25:14-28] agreed with, is that God who gave Kevin the talent that he so efficiently put to use is pleased with him and his time on earth.

Kevin the husband and father, through journalism, sports administration, teaching, coaching and counsel, made his ‘humble’ contribution to his country just like the Almighty required of him.

All those who knew and loved Kevin, and others that were inspired by him, just like me, are comforted in the knowledge that like a good actor, he came, did his jig and hopefully through it we learnt a thing or two.
I’m sure he knew deep down that he had done his bit because he has left behind a team determined not to let him down.

His legacy stands high and tall like Jack’s bean stalk, and listening to his son talk about his father, I can confidently say that Kevin did just enough to replicate himself in that young man.

Kevin, thank you for demonstrating that success isn’t about money, and neither is it the exclusivity of a few.
Fare thee well!

The writer is the Marketing Manager – Advertising Communications, Celtel Uganda