Nairobi, Kenya — President Mwai Kibaki has declared three days of national mourning starting Monday following the tragic deaths of the Internal Security Minister George Saitoti his assistant Orwa Ojode and four police officers.
A statement from the presidential press service also said that the national flag will fly at half-mast during this period of national mourning.
Others who died in the crash were pilots Nancy Gituanja and Luke Oyugi, as well as bodyguards Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi. The four were members of the Kenyan police force.
The president has called a special Cabinet meeting on Monday following the tragic loss of the two ministers and four officers.
The meeting will be held on Monday at the Kenyatta International Conference centre and will also be attended by assistant ministers according to the Head of the Public Service Francis Kimemia.
The six died in a crash that occurred at about 8.30am soon after the helicopter carrying them took off from the city's Wilson Airport.
The aircraft was heading to Oyugis where Saitoti and Ojode were to attend a church service and fund-raiser.
In his message of condolences, President Kibaki said he learnt of the news with shock.
"It is with great sadness that this morning I learnt of the tragic deaths of the Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration Prof George Saitoti and the Assistant Minister in the ministry Hon. Orwa Ojode, their bodyguards, the pilot and co-pilot of the police helicopter that they were travelling in. The deaths of the six Kenyans is a devastating loss to our country."
He said Saitoti would forever be remembered as a hardworking and determined public servant who dedicated his time to the service of the Kenyan people.
"Just last Friday at the Conference on Peace in Mombasa, Hon. Saitoti spoke eloquently and passionately about the many police reforms that his ministry was undertaking. He leaves behind a rich legacy of service to the country."
"The Hon Orwa Ojode will be remembered for his focused approach while undertaking his duties with great zeal and determination as an Assistant Minister and the Member of Parliament for Ndhiwa Constituency.
He described the four as hard working and committed officers of the Kenya Police Force.