NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have said a peaceful election would be the best way to honour the work of the late Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his deputy Orwa Ojode who perished in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
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.
“They were patriots and committed public servants. At this moment the best honour we can bestow upon them is rededicate ourselves to maintaining peace and security in our country. The two departed colleagues were steadfast in promoting peace around our country. Let us stay on this path that they always cherished,” said the Head of State.
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.
“Saitoti and Ojode were in the best of spirits to ensure the next elections were held in a peaceful environment,” said the PM.
“Most of you remember how passionate he (Saitoti) was when he was taking to you about the subject, to the point that some of you began to clap for him to finish but he was not finishing because he had had a premonition that he was talking to you for the last time. He told me that he felt very strongly about what he was talking about that we should have peaceful elections,” the PM narrated.
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.
Meanwhile, the official opening of the refurbished parliamentary chambers that was scheduled for Tuesday was postponed to observe the three days of national mourning.
Speaker Kenneth Marende said, however, that normal parliamentary proceedings would proceed in the Old Chamber as usual.
“It has been agreed that the ceremony which was to be presided over by His Excellency the President Hon. Mwai Kibaki be put off,” he said.
Marende said a Speakers Kamukunji set for Tuesday on constitution Bills will continue as scheduled.
Of most concern are two Bills, the Public Finance Management Bill 2012 and the County Government Bill 2012, whose passage deadline expired on February 27 this year.
Their deadline having expired, their only chance of revival is by invoking Article 261(2) of the Constitution, which provides for an extension of time if endorsed by 148 Members of Parliament.