NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 12 – Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa has called on political leaders to conduct their campaigns peacefully in memory of the late Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode who perished in a helicopter crash alongside four police officers on Sunday.
Speaking at a political parties’ forum in Nairobi, Wamalwa paid tribute to the two leaders for their service to the country.
“We must all re dedicate ourselves to ensure that we have peaceful elections,” he pointed out.
He said that all aspects of tribalism and conflict should be pushed aside especially during the general elections slated for next year.
“A peaceful transition will be the greatest honour and tribute to our departed colleagues. We do know that political parties will remain critical as vehicles through which this nation will realise its democratic aspirations,” Wamalwa stressed.
He recounted how he shared a meal with Saitoti and Ojode during a peace conference in Mombasa over the weekend, where the Sunday trip was mooted.
“We shared a meal and I heard Ojode invite Saitoti to his constituency for a harambee they had put off for many days. Saitoti then told Ojode that they should do it this Sunday and Ojode called his church and they were able to confirm the ceremony,” he explained.
“I was very shocked to learn on Sunday that they had died while they were going for the trip that they had postponed time and again.”
Wamalwa echoed the sentiments of both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga who stated a peaceful election would be the best way to honour the work of the late Internal Security Minister and his deputy.
Speaking at a meeting with Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament on how best to honour the six victims of the crash, President Kibaki paid glowing tribute to them, describing Saitoti and Ojode as highly respected Members of Parliament who served the nation diligently.
Odinga on his part remembered Saitoti’s speech on Friday at a peaceful elections forum in Mombasa, where he recounted how the minister was passionate about the need to conclude reforms that will guarantee Kenyans free and fair elections.
The President prayed to God to rest the souls of Saitoti, Ojode, Inspector Joshua Tonkei, Sergeant Thomas Murimi, Superintendent Nancy Gituanja and Superintendent Luke Oyugi in eternal peace.
The President further pledged Government support to the families of the departed now and in the days ahead.