Preparation of roads around General Francis Ogolla’s home in Siaya. [Michael Mute, Standard]

It was all systems go as the family and members of the Kenya Defense Forces concluded plans for the burial of the late Chief of Defense Forces Francis Ogolla.

General Ogolla who perished in a plane crash on Wednesday alongside other officers will be laid to rest at his home in Ng’iya, Siaya County in a simple ceremony.

On Saturday, several leaders including PS for Internal Security Raymond Omollo, Cabinet Secretary for ICT Eliud Owalo, MPs Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda and former Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo visited Ogolla’s father’s home in Nduru and Senator Barack Obama Primary School where the funeral service will take place.

Speaking during the event, Omollo, who also led the national and regional security team to assess the preparations, said that only leadership within military, government and family will be allowed to speak at the funeral.

The PS said after the funeral service at Senator Barrack Obama Primary School,there will be a small consecration service at church by Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit then the General’s final rites at his home which will be exclusively a family affair.

The leaders appealed to politicians who will attend the burial to allow the process to be carried through tomorrow.

“I appeal to political leaders to let us live up to his wishes during the burial,” said Omollo.

He said General Ogolla will be buried in accordance with military rules and systems and his personal wishes.

“I am sure there is a way we would have wanted to mourn him as a community but he is not just your son, he is bigger than all those things we have mentioned. The manner in which he will be buried tomorrow will comply with military rules and his wishes,” noted PS Omollo.

He added: “I have had a personal relationship with the General like many of us here. A lot of things have crossed people’s mind including mine, we used to work very closely and shared alot of things.We owe alot to him on account matters security.We used to consult alot,the day he passed on we spoke around 11am.”

Ochanda, who asked fellow leaders and Kenyans to avoid speculations and unnecessary statements that would create tension during the funeral, said the late General loved peace and his burial should therefore be peaceful.

“We are a fragile community going by the current political happenings, and we should therefore exercise some tolerance by avoiding anything that might distablize peace of our community,” said Ochanda.
At Senator Obama Primary School, there was a beehive of activities that were being conducted by both the military officers and local youths.

Military officers and Nyanza Regional Commissioner Flora Mworoa have been working round the clock to ensure that everything is in place ahead of the burial.

More than five giant tents have been erected at the school grounds, with the local youths slashing and sweeping the compound.

Meanwhile, Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang have challenged the government to investigate the plane crash that killed Ogolla, alongside other top military officials.  

Speaking at Kalamandi village in Ndhiwa Constituency during the burial of the mother of his aid Dismas Agaga, Kajwang’ argued that General Ogolla was in a team of accomplished pilot and army officers hence there are many questions reveal some gaps. 

“General Ogolla was not an ordinary citizen. He was the chief of the military, arsenals and all tools of this country. We want to know whether the tools were turned against him or it was an act of God,” Kajwang said. 

The Senator urged the government to undertake thorough and independent investigations into what killed Ogola and the nine military officials. 

“I want the government to form a public commission of enquiry to investigate the circumstances of the death of Gen Ogolla and the other military officers. We don’t to rely on rumours but we need to know the truth,” Kajwang’ said. 

He accused previous regimes of the Kenyan government of conducting inquests into the deaths of senior government officials without revealing results of the investigations. 

Kajwang gave example of former Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode who died in a plane crash but findings on the cause of their deaths have not been revealed.

Additional Reporting by James Omoro

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