Ken Sabwa – Mang’u Boys high school

The events of Tuesday, January 15, 2019 are still fresh in my mind. I lost my close friend – Ken Sabwa – that I have known for two (2) decades during the attack. I have since had some moments to think about the whole attack situation at Dusit D2 and to reflect on how I saw the police, rescue team and a handful of brave civilians (all together referred to as the evacuation team) come in to take over the Dusit terror attack site.

Before this incident, I believe that the evacuation team come from what would be comparatively a safe comfort zone. Their lives were not under death threat. They were probably off duty resting at home or on duty perhaps having a normal day at the barracks or station running their routine drills. Suddenly, they had to face the reality of the new situation that required them to assess a crisis which was a live threat to many, go in and work hard to neutralize it.

Literally, this means that the evacuation team had to get out of their comfort zones and put their lives on the line for the sake of others. What kind of will power do you need to master-up to do that? I am certain many people would consider handing in their resignation at that point if it was an option. It is a tough thing to do, to place the safety and wellbeing of strangers before your own – all the time knowing that there is a reasonable chance that you may not come out of it alive. The stakes are too high!!


Leading Civilians to safety

As I repeatedly watched some of the clips circulating around showing how the team approached and immersed themselves into the war zone to evacuate people who would qualify to be referred to as strangers to them, I was left wondering what it took for them to do this. The cause must be bigger than the individual value that they place on their own lives. This I have concluded is what we often refer to as the greater good. It is a cause that surpasses our own individual interest and results in the best outcome across board. When they were convicted of the greater good – the evacuation team got the kick that they needed to get themselves to do what needed to be done.

Many times, in our day to day lives, we are faced with similar situations – albeit of little scale in comparison as often the stakes are nothing compared to the risk of loss of life. We find ourselves in a situation where we must do something extra ordinary to intervene in a situation – for the greater good. Many a times as much as the task at hand may seem insurmountable and very uncomfortable to execute, we often know exactly what needs to be done for this greater good. We however sometimes lack the kick that gets us into action. It might be something as simple as getting up at 5am to hit the gym, facing a difficult client, having a tough conversation at work with a junior or senior colleague or even just remaining steadfast to a weight loss diet. Faced with this, we often bog ourselves down with worries, blames, excuses and denial about many unnecessary things. “What will people think?”, “Do I really have to do this now?”, “Is there no one else who can do this?”, “Maybe with time, this situation may just fix itself?”, “How will I appear to others?” “What if someone gets hurt (physically, emotionally, mentally, financially) in the process?”, “What if…?” “What if….. ?”, “What if….?”

Reading from this same script, my desire for myself and us all Kenyans is to be a people with the will power to confront and execute relentlessly, those things that we are convinced are the right to do in our own context. Those that are in the best interest of the greater good. Those that are advised by the right decision. I desire for us to always have the kick that we need to execute with great resolve, no matter how difficult it seems to fathom or execute either physically or emotionally. I believe that this is the way to achieve the best interest for the greater good.

The cops may have lost one of their own and may not have managed to get my friend Ken Sabwa and the other victims out alive, but they did rescue over 700 people and that indeed is action in the best interest for the greater good. I salute the entire evacuation team and their support systems for a job very well done with such a degree of selflessness.
It is never easy to deal with loss of life especially when the victims are well known to you. No amount of action can ever reverse the loss, but we can have a moment of truth to ourselves that will always remind us of our departed beloved. Farewell my friend Ken and may the souls of all the departed rest in eternal peace as we have the resolve to pursue fearlessly and relentlessly the all-round greater good!

Chris Gathingu
Group Chief Executive Office – Tangazoletu Limited