Marsabit….and an ode to Godana and Waqo

April 10, 2006 at 5:51 pm 8 comments


I returned from Northern Kenya by road late last night on what had been a difficult trip as part of a response to the famine situation in that part of the country, only to get the sad news a few hours later that several government officials and politicians had died in a plane crash near Marsabit.
My journey to and from the region was made difficult by heavy rains that have made movement nearly impossible.
I’m mourning, but also angry….
I have been wondering why:
1. The rainy affair (assuming it’s the only valid reason) had not informed flying decisions surrounding the trip, coming so soon after the Dr. John Garang plane crash that reportedly occured because of the same reason. I honestly want to hope no one, particularly the militias that have reportedly been roaming in the region lately, have had anything to do with the crash. It always pained me whenever they ran roughshod over the local populace and got away with it with minimal or no response from our disciplined forces. If they had a hand in this, they should be tafutwad and made to pay for it. If they didn’t, it is still high time they ceased destabilizing the region, whatever their local connections. Look at the pain the insecurity has just caused us!
2. The Office of Public Communications, State House and the mainstream Kenyan mainstream media took ages to break the news. Both the Nation and the Standard began confirming the obvious long after ordinary wananchi had been calling and smsing each other, sometimes with false details (there was a terrible one with a list of unpopular government ministers as the victims). I noted that while the BBC radio and online editions beat everyone of the MSM boys to it, the information flow locally was torturously slow for many. The added speculations and counter-speculations were completely unnecessary in the process. As a country, we still need to grow in the area of crisis management and communication.
Just some quick thoughts on the crash itself:
1. In one fell swoop, it has taken away nearly all the protagonists and antagonists in the insecurity question that has plagued parts of the region for quite a while now. What does this mean for the people of the area? What lessons can they pick from this terrible disaster?
2. It has plucked crucial members of the government of the day, particularly operatives that were helping run the Government of National Unity (GNU) with a steely determination amidst raging political storms. I never, for instance, agreed with Hon. Mirugi Kariuki’s post-Moi politics, but I admired his contribution to our country’s human rights’ movement in years gone by. He will be missed in his determined defense of the government of the day, despite accusations that it was running against much that he had believed in before it came to power.
3. It reminds us that we never seem to learn – Why should our leaders fly together when it was mentioned by the Muthoga team after the Busia plane crash in 2003 that it could be a destabilizing factor to the nation? I personally hope that some of our leaders who are in the habit of flying around are reflecting deeply on this; in this age of man-made and natural disasters, we can never be so careful about such incidents. I especially do not want President Kibaki or any of his current opponents ever having to die that way; it’s no disaster I would wish on any country, least of all my own Kenya.
Now….an ode to both Dr. Bonaya Godana and Bishop William Waqo, both of whom perished in the crash.
– Godana: I never interacted with you personally, but you were one of the few politicians I respected in this country. A young man whose guardian / foster-parent you were happened to become one of my best buddies at the university; he’s mourning and I’m mourning with him for you were a man truly worth his tears. You were truly a leader. May North Horr truly be consoled at this hour.
– Waqo: I never met you in person too, but your helpfulness to me on phone as the ACK Provincial Secretary in the stories I was chasing at the height of the gay marriage debates within the worldwide Anglican Communion – while working with one of the mainstream Kenyan newspapers – was just what I needed at the time. I wrote Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi about a year ago to thank you for it. I hope to God you got my little note of thanks. I’m also aware that the Christian community in Northern Kenya is what it is today partly because of your input there in recent years. Blessings in Heaven, Christian soldier, you now form part of the Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-2) that is cheering the rest of us on at this challenging moment in our collective national and world history!

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anonymous  |  April 11, 2006 at 2:21 am

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  • 2. jk  |  April 11, 2006 at 8:41 am

    It is realy disappointing and painful for us as a country to have experienced this yet another tragedy after the 2003 incident.
    I realy mourn together with the members of the affected families. we have lost very great people who were our mentors.
    I hope that the government will do something concerning such a incidents so that we can prevent in future. ” It is only God who Gives and takes”.

    Reply
  • 3. LEGAL KENYA  |  April 11, 2006 at 9:21 am

    I like your review,

    I am feeling so sad today;

    Reply
  • 4. Pukks  |  April 11, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    I will miss Godana. He was a very sober man even during the days of Moi. He was the lone voice that gave reason. I will miss him. I will also miss Bishop Wako. As a consultant then I visited Marsabit to train staff of FHI. The trainign was held at the St Stephen’s Centre Marsabit. Waqo had then just come from overseas for his studies. He was not Bishop then. We had supper at his house. On Sunday we attended the service on his invitation. Just outside his house was the grave of Bishop Adano who had also perished in the plane crash. Waqo later became bishop and the rest is history. The only way now the Gabra and Borana can honour Godana and Bishop Waqo Boru is for them to embrace peace and good neighborliness. As an Anglican therefore my loss is double. Pukks in Mozambique

    Reply
  • 5. WM  |  April 12, 2006 at 3:49 am

    Hi, sorry analyst, this is a bit apropos of nothing. I just wanted to say safari njema, and also to say that part of the reason I welcome your comments is that we disagree on quite a number of fundamental things, which makes your interventions that much more useful and productive for me, and I thank you for them. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that you write like a dream and debate like a don…

    Reply
  • 6. Anonymous  |  April 12, 2006 at 11:59 am

    Oga O… great piece! This is truely a sad time for Kenya… I especially also wonder “WHY DO THEY ALL HAVE TO TRAVEL TOGETHER?”

    Olusegun travels alone… especially now that he wants to run for another term :-), bcos no one else can lead Nigeria!?? Who does he think he is fooling?

    Oga Sir, my sincere condolences to everyone there in Kenya, from the Nigerian people.

    O.S.

    Reply
  • 7. Ntwiga  |  April 13, 2006 at 8:36 am

    thanks for the update Jesse.

    You did not mention if you were on a work related mission or just doing some research?

    These Kenyans will sorely be missed especially Dr. Godana.

    Do you have any articles/photos from your trip to the northwestern part of Kenya.

    Reply
  • 8. kipchirchir  |  April 19, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    How can it be said? That Kenyans both young and old can not change the political terrain? For how long will we have to cry foul over the politicians and come elections we are fooled by them? Or a mere change of character[mainly to win the elections]and all of the Kenyans sing the songs.Have we not been here too long to know who can really lead? and not politicize everything?Do we have the ability?

    Reply

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