Obituary

Evans Monari: When I need your opinion, I will give it to you!

How one turns out in life depends on place and year of birth

This bitch of a life: The late lawyer Evans Monari led a largely fulfilling life unlike most of us. And your year and place of birth has a lot to do with how you turn out later in life. It is called the ‘Relative Age Effect’, in which family and education play the other part. Monari was born in Nyamira County in the 1960s and his life might have turned out differently had he been born in Nyeri County at the same time!

By Undercover Reporter

For his 50th birthday, he gifted himself a 50 year old Austin Martin which he often drove at 50 km/h. The birthday was a Back-to-School themed party in which he appeared in full primary school uniform, socks pulled up! Little did he know, he had less than nine years to drive the Austin Martin alongside his other German machines.

City lawyer Evans Monari, who represented President Uhuru Kenyatta when his butt was being mesh-grilled at the International Criminal Court, succumbed to multiple organ failure, the doctors said.

Monari was an Adventist and the reason he’ll be buried Sunday, October 17, next to his Old Guy at his rural Nyakongo village, Nyamira County.

People don’t hire law firms, they hire personalities

Panel beaten: Evans Monari with the 50 year old Aston Martin he bought himself when he turned 50, nine years ago. He was a successful lawyer and on success he reasoned: ‘People are willing to drop you if they sense you are failing. And they will drop you so fast when you fail.’

When Kenya turned 50 as an independent country in 2013, Monari’s mind was picked on what it thought, having also turned 50. He loved cars but reckoned life’s ironies were such that “as you age, you will afford fancy cars you can’t drive and that “often in life we remember things we should have long forgotten and forget what we should remember.”

Having been hired by the President, Monari reasoned “people don’t hire law firms, they hire personalities. So, build a character because you will need it when you aren’t under the umbrella of a firm.”

Brain that could have been awarded a Diamond Mark of Quality

Zero option: How one turns out in life somehow depends on the place and year of birth. Kenyans born in the 1940s were unlucky. They were teenagers in the 1950s during Kenya’s war of independence lasting seven years. Many missed out on education when parents were killed, detained, families displaced during the Mau Mau war, which ravaged Central Kenya the most.
Evans Monari was born in 1962- the other unlucky decade for Kenyans born then. The cohort born in that year were in their 20s during the ignoble regime of President Daniel arap Moi whose reign brought socio-economic and political grief, and with it, limited access to opportunities in a single party police state.
By the time Moi exited the stage in 2002, the born 1962 were turning 40 with children in high school, the best years of their lives having slipped by.   

Beyond law, for which he possessed a brain that could have been awarded a Diamond Mark of Quality, Monari had wide interests and variegated tastes; he would quote Shakespeare as easily as he would sing along to Franco’s Kimpa Kisangameni.

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He carried his golf bag, ready to tee off from the greens with the same adeptness he blew life to the saxophone, belting out an array of songs ranging from George Benson to John Henderson. 

At his home were assorted violins, a drum set, a gramophone for his prized collection of Rhumba and classical music LPs; little wonder he was one of the founders of the Sax & Violins Lounge, a club in Karen. There and while fired by fine cognac or whiskey, would employ his deep baritone in singing popular cover versions of Sina Makosa, Fimbo ya Nyayo to Catholic renditions of Uninyunyizie Maji.

For better, for worse: Evans Monari and Jacqueline Monari during their wedding at the Great Court, University of Nairobi in 1994. His advise on marriage: ‘I don’t know anyone who has never had problems in marriage. Problems in marriage occur because you haven’t gotten a rhythm with your partner. It takes time. Friends have no role in your marriage, so don’t discuss your issues with them. They can’t help you.’

Monari attended plays, rugby matches and also horse races, more so when his own named Flying Whiskey was on the cards. Never mind it rarely finished first, for which Monari and co-owner Don Kipkorir were grateful Flying Whiskey didn’t turn to grazing midway.

Blessed with a wide smile and a sense of humour to boot, he was known for quick witty retorts when cornered: ‘When I need your opinion, I will give it to you’ was a pole favourite alongside ‘part of talking is listening’ when one’s opinion took ages to conclude.

Hilly terrain of wheelbarrow size farmlands

The graduate: Graduating from the University of Nairobi Law School in September 1986; Monari sat among fellow graduands; Martha Koome, now the Chief Justice, William Ouko, today President of the Supreme Court and Appellant Judges Mumbi Ngugi and Sankale ole Kantai. Also graduating and later to leave a mark was High Court Judge Reuben Nyakundi.

It is instructive that while Martha Koome scored a mere Pass, Monari was slightly above her with a Second Class Lower Division but still went on to curve out a superlative career all the way to being a partner at Bowmans LLP!

When it comes to year and place of birth and how it influences your life, Monari was lucky. He was born in Kisii, a region of enterprising folk who love education, largely owing to disadvantaged hilly terrain of wheelbarrow size farmlands.

You aren’t responsible for how your children turn out

Meet the in-laws: Monari, wife Jacqueline, daughter Cynthia and hubby Mark Childerhouse and his blood relations. On children, he said: ‘You aren’t responsible for how your children turn out; your responsibility is to offer them opportunity to be anybody they want to be.’

Nyamira is also very far from Mau Mau activities and thus cruised through with minimal disruptions. Indeed, the house of Hudson George Ogeto, Monari’s father, produced Ken Ogeto, former President’s lawyer and current Solicitor General, Dr Fronica Monari, University Fund CEO Geoffrey Monari, Daniel Monari and the late Lilian Monari.

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Monari, the hubby of Jacqueline and father of Cynthia, Michelle, Joshua and Jeremy Monari, was 59.

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