MP Farah Maalim: How a phone call from Kenneth Marende saved me from a plane crash

MP Farah Maalim: How a phone call from Kenneth Marende saved me from a plane crash

Daadab MP Farah Maalim has recounted how a phone call from then-Speaker of National Assembly Kenneth Marende saved his life in June 10, 2008.

On this day, Maalim — then Lagdera MP and deputy speaker — was supposed to accompany then-Minister for Roads Kipkalya Kones and Sotik MP Lorna Laboso on a trip.

“I was supposed to go with Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso on that trip, on that same flight,” Maalim said Tuesday, June 11 on TV47’s ‘Morning Cafe’ show.

The phone call

But Marende would call his deputy that morning to inform him that he was held up with something, and therefore he should chair the afternoon Parliament session.

“And then in the last minute, Speaker Kenneth Marende called me and told me, ‘my brother I am very busy with something else, I want you to chair the afternoon session’,” Maalim recounted how he made the decision to abandon the trip on the last minute, to attend to Parliament duties.

“You know those days things were very tricky, so you couldn’t leave things with anybody else. The speakers’ panel was just the two of us, and I had to excuse myself from the trip to chair the session.”

Kones and Laboso would sadly die after their plane crashed in Kojong’a area in Narok.

Then Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones (L) and Home Affairs Assistant Minister Lorna Laboso. They died in a plane crash on June 10, 2008.

The 5Y-BVE aircraft crashed just 20 minutes after take off from Wilson Airport, Nairobi.

The pilot and owner of the aircraft, Christoph Maria Schnerr, and the minister’s bodyguard, Kenneth Bett also perished.

“I was on the chair of the plenary in Parliament when Eugene Wamalwa walks to me and tells me, ‘have you heard the sad news?’, then he told me that Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso are gone!”

Plane crashes

Kenya has had a number of air disasters that have shock the nation, with the latest one being a military chopper that claimed the lives of Chief of Defence Forces Francis Ogolla and 9 other military officers in April 2024.

According to Maalim, the root cause has everything to do with corruption.

“We really need to examine this issue of plane crashes. A bit of it is due to the fact that we have these very old, and completely outdated aircrafts. Also, this is a result of endemic corruption in that sector. One area where there is no accountability is the military procurement sector. Because there is no accountability, we will end up getting substandard equipment — you know sometimes back we got second hand helicopters from Jordan which were refurbished and sold to us.”

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