Uhuru, Raila, Ambassador Whitman mourn Francis Ogolla

Uhuru Kenyatta and Francis Ogolla

In this file picture, President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Major General Francis Ogolla after he took oath of office as Commander of Kenya Air Force at State House, Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | PSCU

What you need to know:

  • General Ogolla eulogised as an accomplished military leader and devoted patriot.
  • US Ambassador to Kenya says General Ogolla was dedicated to the Kenyan people. 

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga are among the prominent leaders who have mourned the Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla who died on Thursday in a military chopper crash.

In his message of condolences, Mr Kenyatta described General Ogolla as an accomplished military leader and devoted patriot.

"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the tragic passing of General Francis Omondi Ogolla, the Chief of Defence Forces of Kenya. His untimely demise in a helicopter crash at the Kaben-Cheptulel border between Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties is a significant loss for our nation," Mr Kenyatta said.

The retired Head of State also paid a glowing tribute to General Ogolla for his leadership, bravery, and unwavering commitment to duty.

"During this period of mourning, please accept my sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends, and colleagues of the other officers of the ill-fated flight," Mr Kenyatta said.

In a message posted on social media, Mr Odinga said he was saddened and profoundly shocked by General Ogolla's death.

The Azimio la Umoja leader described the deceased CDF as a true patriot, a highly decorated soldier, and a consummate professional who served the country with unwavering dedication.

"Our hearts go out to his family, his colleagues in the KDF, and the entire nation as we grieve this immense loss," Mr Odinga said.

United States' Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman has also conveyed her message of condolences to the family of General Ogolla and the other victims of the crash.

In a message posted on her official X account on Thursday evening, shortly after President William Ruto announced General Ogolla's death, Ambassador Whitman described the deceased CDF as a man who had great respect for his integrity and dedication to the Kenyan people. 

“I had the honour of working with General Ogolla and had great respect for his integrity and dedication to the Kenyan people. He was a great friend of the United States and helped advance the US-Kenya partnership,” Ambassador Whitman said.

In a live address to the nation on Thursday evening, President Ruto, said an air investigation team has been dispatched to the scene to establish the cause of the tragic crash.

The Head of State confirmed that the CDF had died alongside nine other military officers. Two military personnel who were aboard the ill-fated chopper survived and are receiving medical attention.

Others who died were Brigadier Swale Saidi, Colonel Duncan Keittany, Lieutenant Colonel David Sawe, Major George Benson Magondu, Captain Sora Mohamed, Captain Hillary Litali, Senior Sergeant John Kinyua Mureithi, Sergeant Cliphonce Omondi, and Sergeant Rose Nyawira.