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Professionals and friends mourn bullfighter of PR

Friends and foes agree on one thing: that Cedric Lumiti was “a man of the people” and a consummate public relations practitioner.

Indeed, he was known by his peers as “the bullfighter of PR”.

Cedric Khabuchi Lumiti, who worked briefly as a newspaper journalist before branching into public relations, died on Tuesday morning aged 34, after a long battle with anaemia. He left behind a widow, two sons and a daughter.

Despite his diminutive four feet, six inches frame and possibly weighing in at about 69kg, Lumiti was a gifted communicator.

“Socialising was his greatest asset,” said Mr Noel Wandera, Lumiti’s former boss at Gina Din Corporate Communication, where Lumiti started his public relations career.

FULL OF ZEST

Mr Washington Akumu, a journalist-turned-public relations practitioner, described Lumiti as a man who was full of zest.

“He was (also) astute at angling and pitching a story. On a pitch, he would be in his element: A persistent charmer, difficult to dismiss.”

Lumiti’s long-time friend and former colleague at Hill & Knowlton, Mr Rodgers Wabito, remembered him for his positive outlook on life. “It’s a big loss to his family, the media and PR industry as well.”

And yes, he loved his drink — just as much as he loved football. His support for AFC Leopards in the Kenya Premier League and Manchester United in the popular English Premier League was never in question.

A slight accent gave his baritone an edge. This, combined with his easy-going nature, endeared him to many. And he had a way with the media, achieving much just through talking and smiling.

VILLAGE BOY

Born on November 4, 1981, Lumiti started off humbly as a village boy, attending Shiamusinjiri Primary, then Musingu High School in Kakamega and then joined the East Africa School of Media Studies where he studied journalism.

In 2006, he worked briefly at the now defunct Kenya Times newspaper as a cub reporter. While there, he was mentored by the then business editor, Mr Charles Mulila, and his deputy, Mr Mark Oloo, now an editor with the Sunday Standard.

His career would take a similar path as that of his colleagues at the Kenya Times business desk at the time, like Mr Nick Thiong’o, who he ended up working with at Gina Din, and Mr Mark Kapchanga who eventually became a business journalist first with the Daily Nation and later the Standard.

While still at Kenya Times, Lumiti had a chance encounter with Mr Wandera, then working at Gina Din.

 

“I saw a promising young man and offered him a job as a media manager,” said Mr Wandera. Lumiti took up the offer and left the newsroom.

“He loved his job and wanted to finish his assignments. He loved his in-tray empty.”