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KDF postpone the late CDF Francis Ogolla’s memorial service

The Kenya Defence Forces announced the postponement of the memorial service of the late Chief of Defense Forces, General Francis Ogolla.

In their April 23, 2024, statement- issued in collaboration with the late Ogolla’s family- the memorial service that was set to be held at the Ulinzi Sports Complex will not take place as had earlier been scheduled.

“Following overwhelming support and state burial of General Francis Ogolla, the memorial service scheduled for Friday 26 April 2024 at the Ulinzi Sports Complex-Langata is now postponed. A memorial service will be announced at a later date,” read the statement.

The postponement comes amid calls for an inquest into the death of General Ogolla which occurred when a military helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed and burned on April 18, 2024, in Elgeyo Marakwet County, and not just an investigation. He had been in the region on a peace keeping mission and monitoring of renovation works in five schools.

An inquest is made up of a body of jurors who inquire the facts and circumstances behind occurrences such as helicopter crashes in this case. Mainly judicial, held publicly and in front of the media, evidence is taken from witnesses who can aid in answering relevant questions.

An investigation, on the other hand, is carried out by investigators who thoroughly attempt to find out the facts about something whether complex or hidden. Their findings can either be open or closed to the public.

On Sunday, April 21, as General Ogolla was being laid to rest at his Alego-Usonga home in Siaya County, opposition allied Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance politicians called for a probe into the accident. Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga, the brother of opposition leader Raila Odinga, was among the forefront of issuing calls for the government to conduct a probe and make their findings public.

“We know that the general died from an accident. However, from this region, we have had assassinations that have claimed the lives of many. We are not suspicious because of anything but just because we want to know the truth. The general was our son who we loved. We want to bury him and also know what caused the accident. So I plead with the son (of Gen Ogolla) to be patient with us not because of anything but once bitten, twice shy. Please allow us to ask questions about the accident. Let’s not let it go like others,” said Senator Odinga in response to Joel Rabuku Ogolla asking Kenyans to stop speculating about his father’s death.

The same sentiments were echoed by Siaya Governor James Orengo.

“Anyone who is here must allow Kenyans to mourn their hero the way they want. I hope that the ongoing investigations will come to a final conclusion this time around,” said Senator Orengo, one of Raila’s right hand men.

Since the tragedy, opposition allied politicians and a section of Kenyans have been demanding answers regarding General Ogolla’s movements- including why he was inspecting renovation works at schools and how he came to use the ill-fated helicopter- in a tragedy that claimed the life of the military chief. Among those who queried this accident’s occurrence is Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino, born Paul Ongili.

“Whereas the three day national period of mourning has come to a close and we re-engage in life without General Francis Ogolla, collectively, may we continue to pray for the family of General Ogolla and all our fallen comrades following the helicopter crash,” concluded the KDF statement.

Eight other military officers also died in the same helicopter crash as General Ogolla.

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