The site in Ngong Forest where Internal Security minister George Saitoti and assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh perished in a helicopter crash on Sunday has turned into a shrine of some sort.
Curious wananchi continued to visit the scene of the horror crash in droves as the shocking news of the death of the two ministers, their two bodyguards and the two pilots began to sink.
Hundreds of people of different races and from various places yesterday descended on Kibiko in Ngong Forest, some on foot and others in vehicles and on motorcycles to view the place.
A few were seen making silent prayers for the departed souls. A number of them said the news had been too much to come to terms with.
Join in the mourning
“I am here to try to understand what really happened. I heard the news first on television but I could not sleep overnight, and woke up early to come here today,” said Mr Michael Kimaru, a resident of Dagoretti.
He said he had spotted burnt pieces of what he described as “Saitoti’s trademark checked coat”.
Two white women were among the crowd at one point.
The two, who wished to remain anonymous, said they live near Ngong and, like most residents, they went to the scene of the crash to “join in the mourning”.
They took pictures of the wreckage of the helicopter under the watchful eye of the police.
Teachers from nearby schools also visited the site with their pupils.
Two armed police officers were guarding the place in shifts.
Signs of a fire and food remains were evident.
Ngong police boss Mohammed Farah said the site will be secured for an unknown period as investigations got under way.
An team of investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority that was expected in Ngong earlier in the day to carry more inspections at the scene did not arrive.
Police Airwing Commandant Rodgers Mbithi said the scene would be secured for more investigations to be carried out by experts from the aircraft manufacturer, who are yet to arrive.
Self-appointed guides who claimed to have witnessed the unfolding events leading to the helicopter’s plunge, resulting in a huge ball of fire, were at hand to tell their stories to those interested.
Ngong DCIO Julius Emase was sent to pick one of the youth for interrogation after he told those who cared to listen that the travelling party had made a stopover elsewhere before flying again to their death, claims the police dismissed as false.
At the same time, Mr Farah and Mr Emase recalled how they had to rush out of a Kiserian church shortly after the accident occurred.
The two were awaiting the arrival of Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka for an official function at the church when they received news of the helicopter crash.
This explains why Mr Musyoka was the first top government official to reach the site.
Put out the fire
“We received the news before the VP arrived from the public and immediately rushed to the scene in less than 10 minutes and joined in efforts by some villagers to try to put out the fire. We were using soil but the intensity of the flames was overwhelming,” said Mr Farah.
He added that clearing bushes frustrated quick action.
“We did not know what had happened or who was in the burning helicopter.
The gravity of the tragedy only dawned when the Police Airwing commandant who followed shortly revealed that Prof Saitoti and Mr Ojode were in the ill-fated helicopter,” said the Ngong police boss.
Mr Farah, who worked with Prof Saitoti in Ngong since 2010, said the news was “shocking to the core because the two were at top in the Internal Security ministry hierarchy”.
‘Their death is not only a big loss to us but the whole nation,” he said.
He appealed to anyone with any information on the matter to be ready to volunteer it during the inquiry announced by the government.