Does June 10 date bear a jinx tag?
Posted Sunday, June 10 2012 at 22:30
In the Sunday Nation, families and friends of former ministers Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso put up memorial advertisements side by side remembering the day the two died in an aircrash four years ago.
Mr Kones, was the Roads minister, and Ms Laboso, a Home Affairs assistant minister, were killed on June 10, 2008, when the light aircraft they were travelling in crashed near Kojong’a Hills in Narok County — about 120 kilometres west of Nairobi.
Their fourth anniversary on Sunday coincided with the day Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his assistant, Mr Orwa Ojodeh, were killed in a helicopter crash.
Prof Saitoti and Mr Ojodeh were headed to a funds drive in Ndhiwa constituency in Homa Bay County. And like the accident four years ago, the passengers on the plane were burnt beyond recognition.
The two crashes were also near similar in the sense that both were attributed to bad weather. Mr Kones and Ms Laboso were heading to a campaign rally during the by-election for Ainamoi constituency.
The death of Prof Saitoti and Mr Ojodeh also rekindles memories of three other plane crashes in 2003, 2006 and 2008 that claimed the lives of senior government officials.
That they all happened during President Kibaki’s regime is a sense of personal loss to the Head of State.
Prof Saitoti and Mr Ojodeh also become the second pair of lawmakers in the 10th Parliament to die in an aircrash after Mr Kones and Ms Laboso.
Initial reports of the Narok crash indicated that the ill-fated Cessna 210E plane, registration number 5YBVE, which left Wilson Airport at 2.18pm with the ministers and two others, crashed in bad weather killing all the occupants.
On April 10, 2006, a Kenya Air Force plane with 14 people on board crashed in Marsabit killing 11 and injuring three.
Internal Security assistant minister Mirugi Kariuki, and MPs Bonaya Godana (North Horr), Abdi Sasura (Saku), Titus Ngoyoni (Laisamis), Guracha Galgalo (Moyale) and Abdullahi Aden (East Africa Legislative Assembly MP), died in the crash. The MPs served in the Ninth Parliament.
In that accident, senior police and military officers, the pilots, and a bishop also died. The entourage was on a peace-making mission among the local communities ravaged by inter-ethnic violence.
The crash was blamed on bad weather. On January 24, 2003, Labour minister Ahmed Khalif died in a plane crash in Busia. Narc Government Cabinet ministers Raphael Tuju and Martha Karua and Linah Jebii Kilimo were injured.
Of the three, only Ms Kilimo is still in the Kibaki government as an assistant minister.
Assistant minister Njeru Githae (then), Hamisi MP George Khaniri, former Fida chairperson Martha Koome, Abantu executive director Wanjiru Kihoro, former Saku MP Jillo Falana and air hostess Josephine Mwangi were also injured.
Mr Githae is now Finance Minister, Mr Khaniri is an assistant minister for Information and Communication, while Ms Koome is a High Court judge. Ms Kihoro died after nearly a year in coma.