MPs from across the political divide on Monday forgot their differences for a while as they united in paying tribute to those who died during the Sunday plane crash in Ngong.
They not only formed a committee to make funeral arrangements for the six, but also cancelled all ceremonies including the opening of Parliament’s refurbished chambers that had been set for Tuesday. The events will have to wait until after the burial.
President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, deputy prime ministers Uhuru Kenyatta, Musalia Mudavadi and Speaker Kenneth Marende led the MPs in a show of unity and paying tribute to the six who died in the crash.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, his assistant Orwa Ojodeh, pilots Nancy Gituanja and Luke Oyugi and bodyguards Thomas Murimi and Joshua Tonkei died in the plane crash.
On Monday, President Kibaki presided over a special consultative meeting for ministers and MPs at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre to decide how to honour the fallen Kenyans.
Singing dirges, the MPs, some of who have been engaged in heated political campaigns in recent past, waited for more than two hours for the principals to arrive at the meeting.
They formed a committee chaired by Mr Musyoka that will also include three ministers, two assistant ministers, two MPs and the two government chief-whips to coordinate the burial in consultation with the deceased families.
Acting Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia is to chair the technical team.
Mr Marende and National Assembly Clerk Patrick Gichohi said the postponement of a ceremony to open the refurbished chambers is in honour of Prof Saitoti and Ojode who were active MPs.
However, normal parliamentary proceedings are to proceed in the Old Chamber so is an informal meeting scheduled for today on the passage of constitutional Bills.
MPs are to further have time when Parliament resumes this afternoon to convey their condolences. Paying glowing tribute to the late Prof Saitoti and Ojode.
President Kibaki described them as highly respected MPs who served the nation diligently.
“We will greatly miss their services to the nation,” he said.
Mr Musyoka said it is a painful moment for Kenyans saying Prof Saitoti died in a mission of doing good while Mr Odinga recounted how the late minister had been in a jovial mood during a meeting in Mombasa.