Gen Ogolla's family celebrates father's 100th birthday

Joel Oketch father to late CDF Francis Ogolla cuts a cake to mark his 100 years birthday. [Michael Mute, Standard]

It was a bittersweet day for the family of Chief of Defense Forces General Francis Ogolla as the family held birthday celebrations for his father Mzee Joel Oyeyo who turned 100 years old.

General Ogolla had organised the celebrations for his father before the unfortunate helicopter crash  that claimed his life alongside other military officers.

On one end, family members sang songs of praise as they celebrated Mzee Oyeyo's milestone. However, a sense of gloom also engulfed their home as mourners struggled to come to terms with General Ogolla's death.

A church service to crown the 100th birthday celebration was led by the Anglican Church of Kenya at their home in Masumbi village in Alego Usonga.

Mourners led by political leaders and government officials joined the family in the celebrations as they gave moving tributes in honour of the late General.

"Today we had arranged that we would celebrate Mzee's birthday. The planning was being done by the General himself and he had assigned each family member a duty. He was spearheading it," said his brother-in-law Prof Julius Ochuodho.

Ochuodho said they had planned another party on Sunday which was the consecration of the local ACK church whose construction General Ogolla had financed. The consecration was to be done by ACK Archbishop Jackson Sapit.

During the birthday ceremony, the family took the opportunity to eulogise the late General describing him as a friend, a special person, and a generous gentleman.

"He had a list of over 30 widows he was giving 'something' every month. I wonder what will happen to them. He had a heart that even mine cannot compare to," said his sister Peres Onyango.

The family is currently making the final touches on the burial preparations to grant the late General his wish to be buried within 72 hours.

Interior PS Raymond Omollo said that only the military leadership, senior government officials and the family will be allowed to speak during the ceremony.

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