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Fare thee well, Sirikal!

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – The late Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode was on Sunday laid to rest at his home in Unga village, Ndhiwa constituency.

President Mwai Kibaki led top government officials and other dignitaries in the burial ceremony where he eulogised the late Ojode as a highly regarded leader and a true Kenyan hero.

The Head of State said he admired the late Assistant Minister’s zeal and dedication in his work at the Office of the President.

“We will forever remain grateful for the great sacrifice and effort he made to promote peace and security in our country,” President Kibaki said.

He described Ojode as a dependable leader which made him often represent his ministry in parliament.

Kibaki told Kenyans that the best way to honor the late Ojode was through embracing peace which he had relentlessly preached.

“Let us purpose to individually and collectively advocate for national security and in collaboration with our security agencies work towards living in a safe, secure society,” he said.

He also urged political leaders to act on their words and not just make mere peace statements.

“Acting on the words we use is what would make a difference and that is what we are missing,” Kibaki said.

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Prime Minister Raila Odinga who also attended the burial reminded Kenyans that peace and security of the nation was in their hands.

He urged Kenyans to emulate the late Ojode, whom he said served all Kenyans without discrimination on the basis of their ethnic background.

“We are moving now into the new constitutional dispensation which will become effective after the General Elections. We now need to get people with commitment to implement the new constitution, because it will change the lives of our people. Let us also disengage ourselves with the notion that we first belong to this or that community before we become Kenyans, “the Premier said.

He noted that the late Ojode always defended the government and his docket with diligence especially in parliament.

“It is not easy to deal with Members of Parliament. I know it from experience because there is usually Prime Minister’s hour every Wednesday. And during that time Ojode was always seated next to me and when a question on matters of security was asked to me, he would keep passing information to me,”Odinga recalled.

He remembers Ojode not only as a political partner and friend but a leader who was dedicated to his various dockets in government.

“The security docket was very important…. So I said instead of going to give passports, and ID cards, let Kajwang (immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang) do that and take Ojode to go deal with the police officers,” Odinga added.

Lands Minister James Orengo took the opportunity to challenge the two coalition principles to focus on uniting Kenyans.

Orengo said it was time Kenyans stood up and made the right choices in making peace.

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“We speak here as politicians but as soon as we leave this place in memory of Ojode, we will go back to our tribal cocoons and that is a very sad affair,” Orengo said.

Ojode died Sunday last week in a helicopter crash alongside Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, two bodyguards and two pilots.

“We Kenyans are very good at funerals and weddings. We become Kenyans at weddings and funerals but when it comes to making choices, we cease to be Kenyans. This tells us about Kenyans that there is something we better do if we want this Kenyan nation to be transformed,” he remarked.

Ojode died at 54 and is survived by wife Mary Ojode and Son Andrew Ojode.


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