Widow recounts fond memories as Col Keitany is laid to rest

The burial of the late Colonel Duncan Keitany at his home in Saos, Eldama Ravine, on April 27, 2024. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

Kenya Defence Forces Colonel Duncan Keitany, who was among those killed in the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla and eight other senior military officers in Elgeyo Marakwet on April 18, was laid to rest at an emotional ceremony on Saturday. 

He was given a symbolic gun salute during the burial at his home in Saos, Eldama Ravine, within Baringo County.

His wife, Norah Jebet, could not hide the pain of losing her husband on the same day they were to celebrate their 29th marriage anniversary.

“I asked God why he had to take me on the same day of our anniversary. We got married on the same day in 1995,” she mourned.

Jebet said they had not planned any celebrations. She said she would miss her husband who was funny, respectful, and loving. She added that he would make her “laugh my ribs off”.

Before they got married, Jebet said they schooled together at Kituro High School from 1988 to 1989.

“Later in 1992, we met in a Nyayo bus from Eldama Ravine to Nakuru and had a chat. We met again while he was a cadet officer and soon we started dating,” she said.

Wimpy joint

Jebet insisted that it was at Wimpy Joint in Nakuru that her late husband expressed his intentions for her. She said she would cherish the joint.

“Your shoes are too big for me to put on but with God, I know I will make it. I will miss the nyama choma you prepared, how about the humour? Who will now be cracking jokes for us?” she lamented.

Keitany’s four children, Loraine Yegon, Mitchell Yegon, Ryan Yegon, and Mercy Jebiwott, said they would miss their father’s humbleness.

“He was more than a parent to us. He was a guiding light, a source of strength and a constant presence in our lives,” read their tributes.

They described him as generous, a mentor, a hero, and their rock, noting that he taught them discipline, hard work, and perseverance.

Kenya Air Force Commander Major-General John Omenda said Keitany was a brother to him and they joined KDF together.

“My heart is crying for Keitany who was a brother to me. I will miss him,” he said

President William Ruto, in a speech read by Omenda, described Keitany as a hard-working and dedicated officer, who distinguished himself from others.

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