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CDF Ogolla chopper crash: Kimani Ichung’wah calls for purchase of new presidential jet

In the wake of the sudden tragic death of Chief of Defense Forces General Francis Ogolla in a military chopper on April 18, 2024, calls are now being made to purchase new, modernised military equipment as well as a new presidential jet.

Kenya Kwanza’s Kikuyu Member of Parliament, Honorable Anthony Kimani Ichungwa, who is also the Leader of Majority Party in National Assembly and a member of President William Ruto’s UDA party, took to the floor of the National Assembly on Monday, April 23, 2024, two days after the burial of General Ogolla, to propose the purchase of a new presidential jet.

“At times, the military does come before the House looking for resources to modernize their equipment. And I’ve heard many members during the budgeting process criticize without knowledge, the modernization of military equipment. Honorable Speaker, probably this now offers us opportunities that as we consider the next few years budgets in this coming financial year and the next year, to seriously consider the modernisation of all our military equipment- including the aircraft that we use, not just in the military but in the police and the presidential jet.

The current presidential jet was purchased in the late 80s by former president Daniel Arap Moi. Probably, this offers us that opportunity now to reconsider all these equipment…to modern equipment that is safe and good for use, not just by the military but also other government officers,” said Mr Ichungwa.

General Ogolla, 62, died in the afternoon of April 18, 2024, when the Bell Huey II military chopper he was in crashed and burned. He was among nine people who perished in the crash while two other officers survived.

The Kenyan presidential jet is a military aircraft and is managed through coordination between the Kenya Air Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs whenever it takes to the skies. During former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign, the plane in use was a Fokker 70, medium range jet liner. According to prior reports, it was purchased in 1995 and former president Daniel Moi was the first to use it followed by former president Mwai Kibaki. Today, this same model of jet liner has a price tag of about Sh 269 million.

Uhuru’s successor, President William Ruto- if Honorable Ichungwa’s sentiments is anything to go by- uses the same presidential jet as well, hence the call to purchase a new one for his use and other successive governments.

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