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January 21, 2019

I used to fight with Bruce Odhiambo over the Youth Fund - Filmmaker pays tribute

Bruce Odhiambo.
Bruce Odhiambo.

Tributes are pouring for former Youth Enterprise Development Fund chairman Bruce Odhiambo.

He passed on while receiving treatment at Nairobi Hospital.

His body has been moved to Lee Funeral Home.

A statement by a family friend read: "Our friend Bruce Odhiambo has been unwell since October, when he went to India for replacement of the pacemaker, and he developed lots of complications after he returned in November. The body reacted to the new medication he was given and he got blisters on his hands and legs, which became septic."

"On Saturday morning, 4am, he suffered a massive cardiac arrest, and he had to be put on full life support. His family had to be called in for counseling and prayers, too, but this morning, his BP fell further to a low of 54, and the family was called in again."

His stint at the Youth Fund saw him get accused of allegedly misappropriating Sh180 million at the kitty. 

 He faced charges alongside former Youth Fund CEO Catherine Namuye, who died in October 2017.

During their trial in June 2017, they lodged fresh protests over documents that were allegedly not supplied to the court to support their case.

Their lawyers said certain documents that could have boosted their defence had not been supplied to them.

They both denied charges and were granted a million bond with surety of a similar amount or an alternative cash bail of Sh2 million.

Filmmaker Viran Elchie in his tribute said, "We used to fight publicly on social media forums, especially about the Youth Fund issue. After all the strong words he still invited me home for dinner, to the studio for work. He even let me be in the room for high-level meetings at the said Youth Fund when I raised issues of failure with the Take 254 film fund. He told me 'Amin just come for the meeting on condition you shut up; don't talk just listen'".

Virani added, "I learnt things, thanks to Bruce. He wanted to show me how it works at the very top as an eye witness and then make my own judgement after. I can never imagine somebody that generous with advice and sharing life. Nobody is perfect. He was respectful and loving ata mukikosana vipi (even if you disagreed) his door was always open. May his family and friends celebrate the good times."

He concluded, "And in our culture when somebody passes on we pray for forgiveness of his sins always. But when we are alive we should never stop striving for better and more accountable society."

The same sentiments were echoed by Dagoretti MP John Kiarie. His tribute read, "Bruce is a man who has been true to his trade. He knew how to do one thing - make music. And make music he did. Bruce made music when it paid and when it didn’t. Bruce did his thing when the industry was high and when it was low."

Kiarie added, "Bruce made music from when he drove a left-hand drive, green, convertible Mercedes Benz to when he had to scrounge for coins to take a cab and back, to a stretch, dark blue, German machine. From green corner to State House. From Pilsner to Beyond Zero. From Safari Sounds Band to Sauti Sol. From beats of the season to Redykyukass to Churchill. From Koffi Olomide to Jomenes Boys na Band and everything else in between. He stayed true to this trade for decades.

"Bruce was generous. With his time, his advice, his jokes, his biriani but mostly with his talent. Many have drawn from his deep well of artistic brilliance. Bruce had one solution to every problem; a jingle. And he made many; for ads, for film, for TV, for brands, for campaigns. I don’t care for those that didn’t know him. Those who did are enough to tell Bruce’s story."

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