Kenyan minister, assistant killed in chopper crash

Saitoti and Ojode were heading to Oyugis for a church service/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – Cabinet Minister George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning at Kibiku forest within Ngong.

Police at the scene said the crash occurred at about 8.30am soon after the helicopter took off from the city’s Wilson Airport. Those on board were heading to Homa Bay for a church service.

They told reporters that the bodies of the two government officials and four others on board the police helicopter were charred beyond recognition.

In his message of condolences, President Mwai Kibaki said he learnt of the news with shock.

“It is with great sadness that this morning I learnt of the tragic deaths of the Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration Prof George Saitoti and the Assistant Minister in the ministry Hon. Orwa Ojode, their bodyguards, the pilot and co-pilot of the police helicopter that they were travelling in. The deaths of the six Kenyans is a devastating loss to our country.”

He sent messages of condolences on behalf of the Government and the people of Kenya to the family, friends and relatives of the six Kenyans.

He said Saitoti would forever be remembered as a hardworking and determined public servant who dedicated his time to the service of the Kenyan people.

“Just last Friday at the Conference on Peace in Mombasa, Hon. Saitoti spoke eloquently and passionately about the many police reforms that his ministry was undertaking. He leaves behind a rich legacy of service to the country.”

“The Hon Orwa Ojode will be remembered for his focused approach while undertaking his duties with great zeal and determination as an Assistant Minister and the Member of Parliament for Ndhiwa Constituency.”

He said his prayers were with the families of pilots Luke Oyugi and Nancy Gituanja, as well as bodyguards Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi.

Among those who rushed to the scene of the helicopter crash in Kibiku forest on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital was Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was expected at the scene later in the afternoon.

On his way to the scene, Odinga described the crash as a great loss.

Forensic experts collect evidence at the site where the helicopter crashed/SIMON MAINA-AFP

The Prime Minister who cancelled all his engagements in Nakuru to rush to the scene said he received the news with shock and disbelief.

“It is particularly poignant and a bad coincidence that the deaths of Saitoti and Ojode have occurred on the fourth anniversary of the death of the late Minister Kipkalya Kones and the late MP for Sotik Lorna Laboso who also perished in plane crash in the same area.”

The PM, who received the news while issuing title deeds at Losibil farm in Rongai, led the gathering in a minute’s silence in honour of the departed ministers.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi also sent a message of condolence the families, relatives and Kenyans following the tragic crash.

The DPM said the accident was horrendous and shocking.

Following the crash, the DPM cancelled all planned political campaign engagements that would have seen him address supporters at Ziwa, Chepkoilel, Iten, Tambach, Kabarnet and Mogotio.

DPM broke the news to a shocked crowd at Kitale Bus Park on his way to Nairobi to condole with the rest of the Cabinet.



Bernard is the News Editor at Capital FM. He commands over a decade of experience in news gathering having worked in both print and electronic media. He holds a BSc degree in Information Sciences from Moi University and is currently undertaking a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies at the University of Nairobi.

  • Paulina Wanja

    Oooh, i am really sorry for the news.We pray for comfort from God to their families and also that God rest their souls in eternal peace.
    Kenyans, alot of misfortunes are happening in our country lately, we need to change our ways and trust in God.

  • Munoko R

    We need to be on our knees for the almighty to intervine

    • Little Hiti

      No, prayers wont intervene. What they need to use is the intelligence the Almighty has given them to realize that, stuffing the the police force with obsolete choppers so that they can ‘eat’ the other money is not going to help anyone, sometimes…it might mess them up although they could not have foreseen that.

      • eric ochieng

        i like ur argument @little hiti, its bitter to swallow but its the bare knuckled truth, u know kenyans dont like being told the truth, they love it sweetened, but any way nature doesnt give a damn,stop asking for prayers get up and act

        • Little Hiti

          its called Kenya , Prayer and the God delusion. God has already done his part. The country is well endowed with all the relevant things to move it forward to greatness. Wasting all that those talents reminds of the Parable of the Talents, most kenyan don’t know it exists but they pray for the country to fixed somehow.

          • Mungi

            so sad for the whole kenyans, the guys have been very hardworking leaders.
            God comfort all the families involved!

          • peter

            we and the family wish our condolences to the families,relatives and friends, for what happened to our Nation and the whole world,its so sad poleni sana wa kenya. peter kiambi and family

  • Ngoma

    Al Shabaab or a mere accident? Who were these people recently spotted taking photos around Wilson Airport perimeter? Has our security organ been compromised? Be vigilant Kenyans!

  • Mbote09

    i’ve received the news in grief of my fellow kenyans who had ambition and plan for the day but death doesn’t know who is who,but just sending my heart felt condolences to the family and friends of these all who died in the line of duty.

  • Martin Bundi Inoti

    It’s disheartening and shocking to hear of the more deaths of the ministers and the two crew. God comfort the families involved. If the Al shabab had a hand in the killing, its a clear indicator even the head of the country and other leaders need more protection. More actions are needed to address the Somali crisis and also internal governance. But the blame is the current government led by Kibaki and Raila – they have failed to fund the internal security adequately – most choppers are second-hand bought from Russia or Europe yet the same Mps are paid huge salaries. Some of the cash could have been channelled in getting new choppers – its never safe to travel in a chopper in kenya

  • ngash computers

    i am sorry for our ministers much condolences to their families and Kenyan at large-
                Ngash -Fibre optic computers

  • Dennismoyi


    • Little Hiti

      no need to do that …. its the police choppers …as you know, they took  Bonaya, Kones etc etc. They stall mid-air on many occasions …in some them , saitoti was a passangers

      • KaMami

        Little Hiti, Sad but true! I agree with you. Funny that in today’s Nation, they carried a story of how the ambulance chopper is lying uselessly (is there such a word) at Wilson but these old geezers would rather spend (TAXPAYERS) money hiring these death traps than fix what they keep preaching to voters they will fix, IF the voters vote them back in…ironic huh? Well, am sorry to their loved ones, who no doubt feel the ache of their passing, but to me and am sure many other fed up Kenyans, its just two more old geezers less fighting for a share of our hard earned tax money! Oh, cry my beloved country, that we are foolish enough to keep voting in these same old money grabbing corrupt (did I say OLD) men! And sadder that the few younger aspirants, dont seem to be any better, already seeing $$ signs if they get their feet in those hallowed halls of parliament.
        I feel more sorry for the family of the poor pilot, poor lady! May she Rest In Peace and may her memories comfort them. And this is my prayer too for the other passengers…

  • Patrick

    They were a hard working and dedicated pair deprived of coalition politics.
    May their souls rest in peace

  • Little Hiti

    ….I feel like a monster. I am not sad. Saitoti, couldn’t have been more ironic, spent year singing ‘baba na mama’, goldenberg, etc. These guys suck the country dry and they die as a result of sucking it dry…who would have imagined. 

    Saitoti oversaw the police force being given pea-nuts in the budget, there is no money to buy good cars, no money to buy choppers, no money to build the police stations no money for anything for the police. Military gets whatever it asks for. NSIS gets its asking too. Poor old police force get whatever is left over. Decommision those police juck choppers, Godana  and Murigi died in a similar manner, so did kipkalya kones. Those things are useless. Just death traps.  You can’t buy salvage equipment from Ukraine and expect to not have these sought of things regularly.  

    Now, I feel sorry for being a monster, but then again …I was made one.

    • Shikhati

      Point made but this is not the right time for those demands!

      • Little Hiti

        so when is the right time ? after the ‘kenyan forgetfulness’ has taken hold again ?? I believe that was said in 2008 and in 2006. 

    • Maclizholding

      Hope you are happy with you comments as their little children and the families of all of them read your uncalled for toy scattering childish comment may their souls rest in peace Amen

      • Little Hiti

        Pointing out that the Police Choppers are death traps is childish ??? Whats is ironical is that The Choppers have claimed about 10 other top government official in the last six years. Even ironical is that Today’s is the 4th anniversary of the the previously crush. 

    • Godfrey Kimega

      Get your facts right before commenting. Kones did not die in a police chopper crash, it was a privately hired plane piloted by a German. Godana and others died in Marsabit when an Airforce plane crashed in conditions of poor visibility. The helicopter that crashed today was new, and had been in service only a few months.

    • Pratt

      You are the sort of people we dont need around us. I believe you are a sadist, a pretended Kenyan. Those who have been closely following these posts, can easily testify that you are certainly aligned to merchants of deceit. The guys who have been spewing all manner of lies, insults and maddening tribalism are well known. That being the case, it doesnt serve any purpose at all for you to start spewing abscenities during this painful period. Perhaps, you need to ask your innerself whether you could say such things if you are the one affected. That seemingly mental patients are ever ready to insult Kenyans while singing stale songs of reform is not in doubt. And when elections come calling, we will surely say leadership is not for such people who are supposed to be seeking mental asylum. That empty toxic tribalism marked by pity bitter jealousy, will be dealt with forever.

  • Besasuri

    It will be hard indeed for the family members to come to terms with the tragedy. I really feel their pain. This again brings into focus the safety of our leaders and the state of the police choppers which sadly have been responsible for most of the tragic accidents.

  • mkenya abroad

    Am sorrry for what happened to our minsters today. I got new from my friend and i couldn’t believe until i listen for radio online. Again i got news the building collapsed in Mlolongo. We need to cleans our contry.

  • Zahirasheikh

    I donot know much about these two leader of kenya, All leaders everywhere are corrupted lining their own pockets.
    No matter what they were no body deserves this kind of  death. They should have more sense travelling together taking chances like this.

  • Kanjesuzan

    My God Rest the soul of the Late Minister Saitoti and assistant minister,the Pilot and Co- pilot,and the boardguards in peace.Take courage the berevead families,may you feel your loved one’s presence,in memory,ever near and know you’ll never be apart from one another, so very dear.

  • Ombali

     Why does  this country purchase ‘junk’ aircraft? Why do we ‘siphon’
    monies meant for repairs/upgrades of these junks? Should we continue
    blaming God for the ‘tragic’ consequences of such ‘sins’?

  • MotoristAssociationofkenya Mak


    It is really very difficult to come to terms with the
    untimely deaths of the prominent National personalities Minister for Internal Security
    George Saitoti and Assistant Minister Hon. Joshua Orwa Ojode. As an
    organization we feel the tragic loss in road safety efforts where we were
    engaging with the police under the two leaders. May God rest their souls in
    eternal peace. Our hearts are with the families of the departed honorable members’
    families, top leadership and all Kenyans.

    We are very sorry.

  • Nash

    This is sad… ‘sirikal’ is gone?  I will miss his zeal in discharging his duties especially in Parliament

  • Abbatul

    RIP may God grant them eternal peace

  • MotoristAssociationofkenya Mak


    It is really very difficult to come to terms with the
    untimely deaths of the prominent National personalities Minister for Internal Security
    George Saitoti and Assistant Minister Hon. Joshua Orwa Ojode. As an
    organization we feel the tragic loss in road safety efforts where we were
    engaging with the police under the two leaders. May God rest their souls in
    eternal peace. Our hearts are with the families of the departed honorable members’
    families, top leadership and all Kenyans.

    We are very sorry.


    Our prayers are with the families, may the bereaved rest in eternal peace.

  • Ombenja_shikhati

    shame on Death!

  • Francis Kimanthi

    as much death is inevitable, some accidents are preventable…why use bogus planes every now and then and lose lives aimlessly? RIP to the victims though,,

  • Tom Nzioki

    R.I.P and God bless Kenya during these trying times..#security

  • Consumersfederation Kenya

    It is a sad and painful reality that our commendable leaders and other ordinary Kenyans have been abruptly lost. Known for cautioning people to avoid accident scenes, especially overturned fuel tankers, political leaders and other VIPs must learn one or two lessons from the demise of Prof Saitoti and Orwa Ojode. During their campaigns, the leaders must immediately cut down on the their hectic itinerary so as to minimize the need for local air travel as practically as possible – given the weather is unpredictable – especially very early in the morning and late in the evenings 

  • Francis

    How sad.What a waste.That death would be so cruel as to take away so many of our leaders through air disasters.For HON.SAITOTI Kenya has never had such a patriot.A dedicated teacher who gave his youth to teach the first generation of mathematicians.As a public servant rising to the second highest rank in the country that of VP and putting country before self to accept to serve in different ministries with dedication and zeal never seen in politicians-his call for peace at any opportunity he got is an example for all to emulate.Hon. Ojode i have always been amazed at his nationalistic view of security.He put aside his party hat and argued every security question like a statesman that he was.Many times his fellow mps were always on his neck but he stuck to his word- DO NOT TAKE MATTERS SECURITY CASUALLY HE WOULD SAY.To him his family to the family of the Saitoti-the country we can only rest in the hope that their work was not in vain.That the young politicians can see through the examples of these Kenyans the need for selflessness and patriotism.We morn their death-we celebrate them and what they did for Kenya. R.I.P GREAT KENYANS.  

  • Amin Abdullah

    The Creator gives and  takes, and when our time comes we will also go. If one has nothing good to say about the dead, it is better to stay silent. My condolences go to the bereaved family.

  • luvmeluvu

    If i can remember very clearly, a recent article on one of the daily raised concern over the poor state of
    police (government) choppers and planes. Even as i mourn, it is
    difficult not to ask myself if this was not preventable. As they say on
    NatGeo, accident are do not occur, they are caused [by human error].
    this could be yet another one.Let us raise our standards of doing
    things, including putting in place safety measures.

  • Haroldkip

    On Monday,18 march 2002, Hon. Prof. George Saitoti said, ” There comes a time when the nation is more important than the individual.”
     Thank you Prof. for the legacy left behind. As the elections approaches, and as we seek representation of County governments let us strive to leave a positive mark in our community and country. May the passion for national security exemplified by Hon. Ojode keep the enemies of our beloved nation at bay.

    RIP Waheshimiwa. We will fondly miss you.

  • Collinsoluoch

    heart wrenching my condolence to the families of Saitoti & Ojode

  • Salmasaalim

    May there soul rest in peace.

  • Djmapesa

    Eternal rest grant 2Minister George Saitoti n his assistant Orwa Ojode.O lord n let perpetual light shine upon them.may they rest in peace pap au sio 

  • Pratt

    Am terribly saddened by the death of Prof. George Saitoti, Orwa Ojondeh and others. My heart is with their families. That security minister and his assistant could die in chopper crash is in itself too shocking and unbelievable. We are losing too many excellent leaders to plane crashes! Perhaps, its about time these police choppers were properly inspected for their safety. This particular accident has deprived Kenya some two senior officials who never believed in tribalsim. They believed in Kenya and Kenya alone. Genuine patriotic Kenyans, yes modern day Kenyans. May God rest their souls in eternal peace.

  • Djmapesa

    Life has cross-roads in it. It may move along smoothly and then suddenly change to horible ,all face critical times that’s why we need Gods involvement.

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