The police chopper that crashed Sunday morning taking the lives of the ministers, their bodyguards and two pilots, ironically was described by its manufacturer, Eurocopter Southern Africa, to be powerful, high performance and suited for demanding missions in the most extreme weather and geographical conditions.
Sadly and according to experts the helicopter crashed as a result of bad weather, triggering the questions were the specifications, according to the manufacturer, really reflected in the end product?
Incidents of helicopter crashes in Kenya have been on the increase; four years ago the then Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones and then Home Affairs Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso died in a similar occurrence when their Cessna light aircraft crashed into a building in Kajong’a market, Narok District.
In 2006, 13 people including the then leader of opposition Bonaya Godana and then Internal Security Assistant Minister Mirugi Kariuki died in a Kenya air force plane crash in Marsabit on their way to a peace meeting.
In 2003, then Labor Minister Ahmed Khalif and two pilots were killed after the Gulfstream aircraft crashed as a result of premature take-off that led to a stall from which the pilot could not recover.
These are just a few of the many senseless plane accidents that have occurred robbing Kenyans of visionary leaders who undertook their mandates with great zeal and determination for the benefits of Kenyans.
At the onset of these tragic accidents, the Government has been quick to put up promises on how to curb future plane crashes only to slowly retreat into oblivion few months after the accidents occurred.
The death of Saitoti and Ojode only adds to the endless list of deaths resulting in plane crashes and triggers the need of devising proper strategies and scrutinizing mechanisms that focuses on the security and wellbeing of ministers to ensure that Kenya will not be a recipient of endless aircraft tragedies.
Additionally the strategies must focus on setting rules and procedures of acquiring police helicopters whose specifications reflect the end product and proper training of pilots so as to avert untold pain and grief to the families of the victims of horrific plane crashes.
On the other hand, the state must implement the recommendations of the Muthoga led commission that investigated the Busia crash that proposed accurate presentation of certificate of maintenance and ensuring that certified parts were fitted into the aircraft by trained and licensed personnel.
Lastly the Government must implement to the letter the policy that hinders national leaders from traveling together on air, to avert reoccurrence of similar tragedies that have robbed Kenyans prominent individuals.
The writer is Safari Africa Radio Reforms and Advocacy Reporter