We were on our way back from Naivasha the other weekend in a small white Colt. My ‚homeboy‘ Hillary was happily speeding along Mai Mahiu Road, overtaking trucks that crawl the highway when one of the ladies in the car gasped, after looking at her smartphone, ‘OMG! Gathecha is gone.’
She passed her phone and I felt that chill of recognition. I had hung out with Gathecha once, in the late noughties, but more on that in a minute.
Here, now, was a picture of a wrecked Toyota Crown. Mike ‘Money’ Gathecha, the 29-year-old cousin of President Uhuru Kenyatta and MD of Juja Capital Centre – complete with restaurant, lounge, bar and tyre centre – was involved in a solo fatal accident at Roysambu after ramming into a stationary truck, in the wee hours of December 20.
Mike Gathecha, who was buried in Juja on December 29, was a flamboyant character, the kind of chap for whom the word ‘swag’ was invented – with his designer shades, suits and hip-hop casual cool, that Sultan‘s look he put out there on Facebook. He had the rich look – and the cheque book.
I met him that one Sunday in the outside section of Choices on Baricho Road, I believe in the company of radio tsar Maina Kageni and some other folks, joined them.
I found Gathecha generous because after I had asked for a double tot of vodka, he bought me a whole bottle of vodka. He was, I think, on whisky, Glenfiddich or something. And while I was there for an EPL game, Gathecha was there to watch Formula One.
His love for life, and fast, flashy cars, was evident even then. His social media pictures, of his personal-plated Benzes and Range Rover, making clear the pride he took in them.
Later that night, Gathecha invited us to roll to his house for a ‘Breakfast of Champions’ but my then fiancée, cranky and cantankerous, would hear none of it.
So that chance passed us by, and the years passed, and then Gathecha passed on early one Sunday morning.
And that should be the end of the story, except I remember a dear friend Ciku Watene killed almost a decade ago when their saloon car rammed into a stationary truck, as was Feroze, brother of singer Nazizi, also after a night out.
So, be careful, even in the estate, lest one rams into stationary neighbours’ cars parked innocently in the lot.
As for us at Mai Mahiu, Hillary slowed down, driving carefully all the way back to Nairobi, the music on the dashboard loud, us quiet, our minds on a young flamboyant man flying over a dark Sunday morning road, perhaps towards a girlfriend in the house he would not meet, a stationary truck on the road, towards a collision he would never see coming.