‘If these questions can be answered, our hearts may stop bleeding’ – Babu Owino on helicopter crash that killed CDF General Ogolla

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 19 Apr, 2024 10:42 | 2 mins read
A photo collage of the late CDF General Francis Ogolla and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino. PHOTO/Babu(@HEBabuOwino)/X
A photo collage of the late CDF General Francis Ogolla and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino. PHOTO/Babu(@HEBabuOwino)/X

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino has raised concerns over the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla and 9 other military officials.

Through his X account, the MP pointed out questions seeking clarification and accountability regarding the incident.

"If all these questions can be answered, then our hearts may stop bleeding. Otherwise, mambo ni tatu," Babu Owino declared.

Firstly, he questioned the whereabouts of key military figures such as the West Command commander, the Defense Forces Sergeant Major, and the Army commander during the operation.

He highlighted the absence of a 50ACB helicopter escort for the CDF during the operation.

Additionally, Babu questioned why General Ogolla was accompanied solely by junior officers and not by higher-ranking officials during the operation.

He also questioned the rank required to pilot a helicopter used by the CDF and the protocol for parading the CDF before troop inspections.

Furthermore, the MP asked about the standard number of helicopters a CDF should utilize during visits to operational areas and why General Ogolla chose to inspect a school alone instead of delegating the task.

Lastly, he raised concerns about the succession plan for the next CDF, as outlined by the Tonje Rules, and the timing of General Ogolla's death following recent changes within the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).

Ogolla dies in a helicopter crash

The tragic death of Ogolla was announced by President William Ruto from State House.

“I’m deeply saddened to announce the passing on of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces,” Ruto confirmed.

The president also revealed that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) chopper was carrying 12 military personnel; and that 10 (including CDF Ogolla) died while two survived.

"Together with him (CDF Francis Ogolla), in the crash, were 11 other gallant military personnel; nine (9) who also passed on with him and two survivors," he announced.

He further announced all the names of those who passed on. “The gallant military personnel who passed on with General Ogolla are; Brigadier Swaleh Said, Colonel Dancan Keitany, Lieutenant Col. David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu (was the pilot), Capt. Sora Mohammed, Capt. Hillary Litali, Snr Sgt John Kinyua Mureithi, Sgt. Cliffonce Omondi and Sgt. Rose Nyawira,” he revealed to the nation.

A Huey helicopter belonging to the Kenya Air Force crashed shortly after departing from a nearby primary school.

Ogolla, who enlisted in the Kenya Defence Forces on April 24, 1984, and was appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant on May 6, 1985, serving in the Kenya Air Force, tragically lost his life at the age of 61 in the incident.

Tonje Rules

Ogolla from Kenya Airforce was chosen as the candidate to assume the position of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) following the guidelines outlined in the Tonje Rules.

These rules, established by retired Chief of Staff General Daudi Tonje, implemented a rotational system ensuring that leadership of the Kenya Defence Forces is evenly distributed among its three branches: the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Adhering to the Tonje Rules, Ruto was obligated to select Ogolla from the Kenya Air Force, as the departing CDF originated from the Kenya Army, succeeding General Samson Mwathethe from the Navy.

According to this pattern, the subsequent CDF could potentially be chosen from the Navy branch.