Home > AFRICA > Kenyan Ministers killed in helicopter crash – KBC News

Kenyan Ministers killed in helicopter crash – KBC News

Sunday, June 10, 2012

By:Margaret Kalekye

-KBC News.

Kenya’s Internal Security minister Professor George Saitoti, his assistant minister Orwa Ojode and four others have been confirmed dead after a Police chopper crashed in Kibiku area in Ngong forest Sunday morning.

The two ministers were heading to Orwa Ojode’s Ndhiwa Constituency in Homabay County for a fundraising when the chopper crashed at 9am.

The other four who were confirmed dead are pilots, Luke Oyugi, Nancy Gituanga, bodyguards Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi.

According to an eye witness, the helicopter was seen diving from the sky full of smoke before crashing and exploding into flames.

Josephine Kamonya Wairagu whose house borders the forest said the helicopter hovered in the air several times before it eventually crashed.

“At first the chopper appeared normal when airborne but it moved around the area for about seven times prior to the crash,” .

Mrs. Wairagu said that she suspected the  pilot was looking for an ideal place to land.

She said that after the incessant hovering, she heard an unusual sound from the helicopter before seeing smoke emanating from the forest site.

Mrs. Wairagu said the accident occurred at 9.20 am adding that she could not go to the site because she was nursing her months-old child.

Their bodies which were burnt beyond recognition have been taken to Lee Funeral for post-mortem.

The debris of the burnt-out police helicopter were strewn in the bush.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, house speaker Kenneth Marende and Police commissioner Matthew Iteere were among the first government officials to visit the scene after the crash.

Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere said immediate investigations have been launched into the crash though reports say the chopper came down due to bad weather.

The country was the same day, four years ago thrown into mourning following the death of Minister Kipkalya Kones and Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso in a similiar plane crash in Narok.

The plane carrying the two crashed on June 10, 2008 in what was later attributed to a pilot’s error.

Ojode in May 11th in 2009 survived a police chopper crash with the then Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, RiftValley PC Hassan Noor and several journalists.

Saitoti, an American-trained economist and mathematician, was one of the most visible figures in Kenyan politics and  had been planning to run for the presidency later this year.

The 66-year-old was a leading government voice against the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

Kenyan troops have been fighting al-Shabab since last October. The militants have killed several people in a string of grenade attacks in various parts of Kenyan, including Nairobi.

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KBC News
 
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Kenya in mourning

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Captain Luke Oyugi who perished in the crash in earlier days – Photo:KBC News

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By:KBC reporters

Kenya leaders across the political divide have expressed their shock over the death of Internal Security ministers Professor George Saitoti, Orwa Ojode and four others who perished in a chopper crash in Ngong forest Sunday morning.

The tragic news saw Kenya’s presidential aspirants cancel their political rallies to mourn the two leaders.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga cancelled his rally in Nakuru. Others are Raphael Tuju, Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

Raila who was scheduled to make appearances in Nakuru cancelled all his engagements that were planned for Sunday.

Musalia cancelled all planned political campaign engagements that would have seen him address supporters at Ziwa, Chepkoilel, Iten, Tabach, Kabarnet and Mogotio.

The PM said Kenya has lost two very hard working servants who were dedicated to duty and serving Kenyans.

News of the death reached the PM as he flew to Kampi ya Moto Sunday morning.

The PM said Kenya has lost two very hard working servants who were dedicated to duty and serving Kenyans.

The PM said Saitoti and Ojode were determined to leave a mark in their docket at a very critical time and the country will miss them dearly.

Mudavadi described the accident as shocking. DPM broke the news to a shocked crowd at Kitale Bus Park on his way to Nairobi to condole with the rest of the Cabinet.

He termed the two nationalist and devoted public servants who have lend great service to Kenyans.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, house speaker Kenneth Marende and Police commissioner Matthew Iteere who were among the first government officials to visit the scene of the crash, termed the accident as tragic, noting that it had robbed the nation of hand working, dedicated, long serving ministers.

“Its unbelievable and painful to Kenya and I send my condolences to President Kibaki, families and friends of Prof Saitoti and Orwa Ojode,” said Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka

The social media was also abuzz with condolences.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua said on her twitter ” I mourn my colleagues Hon Saitoti and Hon Ojode and four others my condolences and prayers to their families’.

Others who tweeted include DPM Uhuru Kenyatta “The passing of Hon. Saitoti and Hon. Ojode is a great loss to Kenya. My heartfelt prayers are with their families, friends and constituents”

Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa tweeted “Its shocking, tragic and hard to believe the loss Prof and Hon Ojode. We have lost brave statesmen. Pole to the family and friends.”

Former President Daniel Moi, also expressed shock and grief over the deaths of the two leaders.

In a statement, Moi observed that Saitoti and Ojode were both champions of peace in the country and said the country has lost visionary leaders.

Moi said he joins Kenyans in consoling the families of the fallen leaders and the others who were involved in the crash.

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Jun 10, 2012

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KBC News  (Kenya).