Family is family; the story of Louis Otieno

BY IMBOKO TALL

Louis Otieno’s story has touched many. It’s not new but it is still worthy a rant. Some of my Facebook friends were babies when Louis was Louis. Those of us, who take serious interest in current affairs and the media, know just how good a journalist this guy was.

I loved watching Njoroge Mungai read the news. He remains my best, ever, Kenyan newsreader. But when it came to analysis of current affairs and serious interviews, Louis Otieno was the go-to guy.

He had mastered his trade. He was very comfortable in front of the camera and he had a rare camaraderie with his interviewees or panelists. A news issue was incomplete until Louis had had the last word.

He could take on very tough topics and go hard at interviewees without making them uncomfortable. They loved agreeing to disagree with Louis.

He was the journalist of the time in days when people wanted to do journalism to change the world, not to make money and become socialites.

Many senior journalists today will tell you that it was Louis Otieno who inspired them. They wanted to be him.

But those who worked with him have always told a story of a very proud guy full of himself. The more he grew in stature as a journalist, the more the fame and pomp fermented and inflated his ego.

He became picky and looked down on others. He had this sneer, which was enough to tell you to stick to your lane. A friend told me that he once refused to co-anchor with Lilian Muli when she was an intern.

With that kind of attitude, it should be no surprise that friends deserted him at his lowest. May be they just never knew how to handle him.

People like Louis usually lack the capacity to decipher fake from real. They are above and everyone else below is trying to be friends with them because of the stature they have.

At his lowest, he is being taken care of by his close family. Family is always there…even if it is only one person. I have read especially on social media people disparaging family.

We live in an era where everyone is too opinionated even without being informed. People have mastered the art of justifying everything especially their weaknesses or afflictions. They make memes to that effect.

When they can no longer defend themselves, they run to their favourite line: It is my life. My friends, it is easy to say that just because things are going well for you now.

But time makes you realize that no matter who you are, you need family. Without family, you are rudderless…unanchored. Some relatives can give you hell but it is no reason to give up on family because when it matters, all you will have is family.

Anyone who makes you hate your own family is out to finish you. Friends will come and go. Even when in hospital, they will visit and go. Family will remain. Some say my friends are my family. Bullshit!

Louis Otieno will never go back to those days when news programmes were centered on him. I wish him the best and I know he can bounce back and do better than he is doing now.

But he is a lesson to all of us. A lesson to choose friends wisely, to be humble while on top or at the bottom and that family is the cornerstone of our very being, that we must strive to forgive and make peace with family.

The biggest lesson of all is that all is vanity. The cars, clothes, status, job, food (people actually show off the food they eat these days), spouses, friends and everything material are vanity.

Have something intangible that you can remain with when you are stripped off all the material stuff that inflates your ego or self-esteem today. Remember that grace and grass all start with the letter G.

Sign Up