‘Set up Commission of Inquiry that has robust public participation’ – Willy Mutunga says on helicopter crash that killed CDF General Ogolla

By , K24 Digital
On Fri, 19 Apr, 2024 12:41 | 3 mins read
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. PHOTO/Commonwealth Secretariat
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. PHOTO/Commonwealth Secretariat

Retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has called for thorough investigations into the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla and nine other military officers.

Through his X account on Friday, April 19, Mutunga noted the importance of shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the crash.

He highlighted the current atmosphere in the country, characterized by rumours and ethnic divisions, as a reason for urgency in seeking the truth.

"Given the tragedy that engulfs our country now, a country of rumours and ethnic divisions, it is a good idea to immediately set up a Commission of Inquiry that has robust public participation. An Inquiry that is seen as a cover-up is unacceptable," Mutunga stated.

Growing concerns about helicopter crash

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale also asked for investigations into the incident demanding a thorough review of the conditions of the state-owned aircraft.

"We now demand a thorough review of the airworthiness of the Kenya State-owned aircraft.
Since 2012, a shocking 12 aircraft belonging to Kenya Air Force and another 5 to the National Police Air Wing have crashed! Furthermore, procurement of these aircraft, their maintenance, and operation must be put under scrutiny," he said.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino also raised concerns over the tragic helicopter and 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.

Ogolla dies

The tragic demise of CDF General Ogolla was announced by President William Ruto from State House on Thursday, April 18.

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

Ogolla enlisted in the Kenya Defence Forces on April 24, 1984, and was granted the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on May 6, 1985. He was subsequently assigned to the Kenya Air Force.

Ogolla passed away at the age of 61.

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