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Journalist Mitch Odero: My Student, Teacher, Colleague and Boss!

NEW DELHI India -- When shocked beyond words at the death of Mitch Odero, a movie of his interaction with me and my late father whizzed in a few seconds, write Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.

He first came to my notice when he enrolled as a student in New Era College established in Nairobi by my late father, Mr. V. P. Sharma in early sixties.
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A quiet student, he studied hard.

He left New Era College for higher secondary education and after studying in USA reappeared some years later as an applicant for a teacher’s job.

Of course, my father was delighted to give him a job.

He was a sincere teacher and popular with the students.

Once he played the guitar on a student picnic.

Later, we went on a photo shoot to a park where he played the guitar and the students danced.

Some outstanding shots were clicked as these appeared in an article about New Era College in a two-page article in Taifa Leo.

During this time, he told me he wrote poetry and showed me some of his efforts.

I had just completed my journalism course and joined The Nation and so I told him that poetry was not a career and advised him to study journalism instead of writing poetry.

Soon after, he informed me he had secured admission in journalism in Arusha and went off there.

  Mitch Odero was a former Chairperson of the Kenyan Press Council | Coastweek
 
Mitch Odero was a former Chairperson of the Kenyan Press Council. PHOTO: COURTESY - KENYAN PRESS COUNCIL
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Next I saw him working as a fellow reporter, I congratulated him heartily. During the ups and downs of our careers, we were in touch off and on.

After resigning from The Nation, I joined The Standard in 1980 and some years later, I was astounded to learn that Mitch is joining this newspaper as its Editor in Chief!

Thrilled was an understatement for me.

When I first met him in his office in The Standard, he was slightly embarrassed to have me working under him as Economics Editor and always treated me with respect.

He always remembered my late father who encouraged him in his early career.

We got along well as he never had any change to admonish me.

In 1986, he was on the panel of editors to select the 'Journalist of the Year' award.
.

When I received my award from President Moi, he came over to congratulate me and said there unanimous consent for my award by the panel but never informed in advance!

Later, he left The Standard and we drifted apart.

Soft spoken Mitch means so much to me. Seeing him in different roles as a student, a teacher, a journalist and an editor is one of the precious keepsakes of my life. Rest in eternal peace, my friend!

 
 

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