Tributes continue to pour in for the late veteran People Daily photojournalist William Oeri who died in a road accident on Sunday.
Police sources say his vehicle, a station wagon (Toyota Wish), collided with a lorry carrying sand at Kitini area on the Sagana-Kenol Road.
Veteran journalist Kwamchetsi Makokha harbors fond memories of Oeri:
“William Oeri disarmed you, always. The first time I stumbled into him in the newsroom (if you want to fool people, you are thinking, you walk staring at the carpet), he apologized, turned on his gap-toothed smile, and introduced himself. He did not have the ex-soldier braggart tag on him, and we never got to speak about his time in the armed services.”
Journalist Bernard Namunane mourned Oeri on Twitter: “We fondly knew you as Nongwe. One who could withstand military drills! A good-hearted man, jovial, truthful, and best at his work with a camera.”
Print journalist Galgalo Bocha described Oeri as an exceptional and selfless journalist.
“Oeri was clean-hearted, respectful, and a forward thinker. He was a source of hope to many,”
Sources attribute his death to high impact.
Police reports said: “Due to impact, the Toyota Wish burst into flames, but members of the public used sand to put off the fire,”
On the other hand, the lorry driver and his passenger luckily managed to escape with only minor injuries.
People Daily Managing Editor Ng’ang’a Mbugua termed the loss a huge shock.
“It is a sad loss to us as colleagues and friends. We have been in contact with his family,” said Mbugua.
Although the accident happened on Sunday, he wasn’t immediately identified until Tuesday, when his family found his body at the morgue.
Family and colleagues raised eyebrows when he failed to turn up at work.
Crime reporter Zadock Angira was meant to go for an assignment with the late Oeri.
“I got the police report at around 7.06 am, but I never thought it was one of us. At 7.52 am, I called to ask Oeri if he could accompany me to Westlands. His phone was off,” Angira told the People Daily.
The photojournalist kept a journal where he kept track of his New Year’s resolutions, which were found at the accident scene. He had pledged and prayed to assist his daughter in pursuing her educational goals, and he had also wished that “my family recovers and remains together in love.”
Oeri worked with Nation Media Group for 15 years, rising to the position of deputy photo editor, before joining People Daily newspaper, where he worked until his death.