Ruto promises to make helicopter crash report public to allay fears

General Francis Ogolla's body arrives for church service at Senator Barack Obama's Primary School in Siaya on April 21, 2024. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Calls for a probe into the helicopter crash that killed Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla took centre stage during the funeral service.

Azimio leaders called for investigation into the death of Gen Ogolla to rule out foul play.

President William Ruto promised to ensure investigation into the helicopter crash and the report made public.

Speaking during the service at Senator Barack Obama's Primary School, Siaya county, Sunday, Ruto expressed confidence in the professionalism of the military in probing the helicopter crash.

"The Kenya Defence Forces is as concerned as I am on the life of Ogolla. There will be no shroud of doubt on what happened to General Ogolla," he said.

The president declared that there will never be cases of extra-judicial killings or political assassinations in his regime.

"There shall never be extrajudicial killings or political assassinations in Kenya under my watch," he said.

Leaders demanded that the outcome of the investigation be made public to enable Nyanza region that has lost several gallant sons in the past, to find closure.

In an emotional tribute, Siaya Senator and ODM leader Raila Odinga's elder brother Oburu Oginga said no stone should be left unturned in the probe into Ogolla's death.

Oburu said the region has lost several people through mysterious accidents and political assassinations and the government must investigate the matter.

"We understand that his death was as a result of an accident but because many leaders from our region have been assassinated or died through such accidents, we have every reason to be suspicious," he said.

Kenyans eager 

The senator insisted that Kenyans are eager to know what happened to the KDF General.

Oburu further asked the late Ogolla's family to allow investigators to do their work.

"I was part of the parliamentary committee that was handling the death of Robert Ouko and I can confidently say that the government asked the family to cover them up. We don't want the same to happen with Ogolla's family," he said.

Nyanza region has lost prominent leaders dating back to the 1960s including former Minister for Economic Planning and Development Tom Mboya, Dr Robert Ouko, Argwings Kodhek, Titus Ofafa, former Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’, devolution specialist Odhiambo Mbai, ICT guru Chris Msando, and former Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua insisted that  investigations into Ogolla's death are critical for the country.

"When an accident occurs, it is a security issue that must be investigated," said Karua.

Kalonzo described Ogolla's demise as a big loss to the country and demanded that the government makes public the helicopter crash report.

"We have heard that a team has been constituted to investigate the death. We want the government to make it public to allay all the fears," said the Wiper leader.

"The death of General Ogolla goes beyond his family and we therefore want the findings to be made public," he added.

Siaya Governor James Orengo asked Ogolla's family to allow Kenyans and the Luo community to mourn their hero.

"We have mourned many heroes from this region and we are asking for a probe into this matter,  this will help in coming to the final conclusion of what happened," said Orengo.

The governor said the late General is buried as speculation mounts over his death and asked the government to assure Kenyans of accountability on the matter.

The late Ogolla's son, Joel Rabuku, urged Kenyans to stop speculating about his father's death.

Rabuku said his father had a good working relationship with the president and his deputy.

He revealed that after being appointed General, his father worked closely with President Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale to secure the country.

"Very quickly they became friends and started forming a serious chemistry which he would tell me 'I have had a very good meeting with the boss. And it's not the president alone, the deputy president as well," he said.

"These people became like brothers. I have seen someone say that the president was actually in a corner. I know it went beyond their working relationship and they were working to change this country very seriously and its a serious blow to the three of them. As a family we thank you for putting your turst in General," he added

Alego-Usonga MP Samuel Atandi said the late Ogolla was a private person and his death was not only a blow to his community but to the country.

"Many politicians didn't know Ogolla until he was appointed CDF. I didn't know that he was from my constituency," said Atandi.

The burial was attended by government officials, the military, politicians, and locals, who eulogised the late Ogolla as a gallant son and dedicated officer.

Foul play

President Ruto, his deputy Gachagua, and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi attended the General's burial on Sunday.

Among the leaders present were National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula, MPs Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Otiende Amollo(Rarieda), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Christine Ombaka (Siaya Woman Representative) and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda.

Also in attendance were National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa and his Senate counterpart Aaron Cheruyiot.

While responding to the claims of a suspected foul play, Duale, asked politicians to stop creating forced narratives about the late General's death.

The CS who recounted the events of August 15, 2023, at the Bomas of Kenya, said the late Ogolla confirmed that his superiors sent him.

"He shared with us all the messages that he was sent by his superiors and how he found himself at Bomas," said Duale.

"To address this matter and to avoid a repetition of such, the president directed that never again will membership of the security committee be delegated," he said.

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