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Mary Ojode: I could have died on the same day with my husband in chopper crash

Mary Ojode, the widow of former Assistant Minister for Internal Security Joshua Orwa Ojode speaks to journalists in her house at Unga village in Ndhiwa Constituency during her husband's 10th anniversary on June 10, 2022. [James Omoro, Standard]

Mary Ojode, the widow of former Assistant Minister for Internal Security Orwa Ojode has opened up on how she escaped death by a whisker the day her husband died in a helicopter crash 10 years ago.

Since then, Mary has avoided talking to the media about her last moments with her husband.

When The Sunday Standard caught up with her at her home in Unga village, Ndhiwa constituency during the commemoration of Mr Ojode’s 10th anniversary on Friday, Mary, who has since joined politics, opened up about the experience.

She said on the fateful day she had also planned to travel with her husband but he said they should not travel together.

“Mr Ojode stayed out for a long time when he was on official duty. So I wanted to travel with him so that we could come home together. I did not want to be alone in the house,” Mary said.

But Mr Ojode stopped her from tagging along, promising to return to Nairobi on the same day.

Former Assistant Minister for Internal Security Orwa Ojode. [File, Standard]

“He told me to remain in the Nairobi house because he would be returning soon. Unfortunately, the only news I heard before the day ended was that of his death.”

Since that time, Mary has been organising various competitions in commemoration of her husband. But this year was a rather quiet one, only celebrated with close family members.

Mr Ojode and former Vice President George Saitoti died in a plane crash on June 10, 2012, in Ngong Area, Kajiado County.

They were travelling from Nairobi to attend a fundraiser at Nyarongi Catholic Church in Ndhiwa.

Mr Ojode, who was Ndhiwa MP at the time of his death, was popular in Nyanza due to his generosity and efforts to empower the residents through education and job creation.

He was nicknamed Sirkal, the Luo word for government.

His death was described as a serious setback not only for the people of the Ndhiwa constituency but the entire Nyanza region.

Mr Ojode is remembered for the improvement of the sugar industry at Riat village and a Co-operative Bank in Ndhiwa town.

 The scene of the plane crash which claimed the lives of Cabinet minister George Saitoti and assistant minister Orwa Ojode and four others. [File, Standard]

An autopsy report of all six bodies recovered from the crash conducted by Government pathologist Johansen Odour concluded that they died from multiple injuries and burns from the accident.