This week started on a sad note as the country lost six Kenyans in a plane crash in Ngong. Among those who died in the Sunday accident were Internal Security minister George Saitoti, and Assistant Minister, Orwa Ojode.
The death of the six left many Kenyans in shock even as the Government declared three days of national mourning.
Saitoti will be buried today, while Ojode is expected to be buried tomorrow. The two ministers have been eulogised as dedicated and committed servants of the State.
But as we bid farewell to Saitoti and Ojode this weekend – and the other four next week, many questions remain unanswered as to what caused the tragedy. This is now a subject of investigation by a probe committee set up by the Government.
While it would do us no good to speculate on the cause of the accident, Kenyans have every reason to demand that this time around it will not be the usual “no stone will be left unturned” pledge by the authorities.
The death of the two is particularly a big blow as they played a critical role in national security. While we do not want to suggest the country’s security is now compromised, it would equally be foolhardy to forget the huge role the two played in the internal security docket, especially at time the country grappled with myriad terrorist threats.
The death of the two key ministers has also come at a time when the country is preparing to hold the next General Election under a new Constitution. Equally, the loss of lives of the other four people on board the ill-fated chopper was sad indeed.
As one of our columnists has noted today, Kenyans only speculate because they do not know and because, historically, they know that they are never told what transpired – even when commissions have been established to investigate and report.
As the columnist rightly puts it, “Saitoti and Ojode are the first prominent leaders to tragically die at a time the country is implementing critical reform agendas, as prescribed by the new Constitution. The fact that both contributed immensely to the realisation of the new Constitution makes it all the more tragic. Perhaps Kenyans can expect that this time round, they will be told what really happened.”
The tragedy puts into focus the country’s aviation safety.
Questions now abound on whether we have adequate air traffic regulations and if, indeed, they are followed.
But at the same time, the occasion gives us opportunity to reflect on past tragedies in and out of the country and the manner in which investigations into the crashes have been conducted – learn and borrow from them.
As we report elsewhere, today, it is usually a race against time for the investigators to secure the crash scene and prevent even the tiniest of clues as to what may have caused the crash from being interfered with.