Fondly known as “Sirikal” in parliamentary circles for the forceful demeanor and manner in which he exerted state power, Joshua Orwa Ojode survived a plane crash on May 11 2009.
Ojode was on board a police chopper that crash-landed in Nandi while on security tour of Rift Valley. Apart from Ojode others on the board the chopper that has finally claimed his life yesterday were the then Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, the Rift Valley PC Hassan Noor Hassan, senior police officers and journalists who had accompanied them in the tour.
The late Security Minister George Saitoti escaped the accident as he was aboard a different helicopter.Ojode was born December 29th 1958, attended Ratanga primary school before joining Maranda High school whose other prominent alumni is among others, Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Ojode worked for the civil service as well as in the private sector in between studying for a degree in environment and business administration at Ramapo State University in the US between 1988 and 1991.
When the then Ndhiwa MP Tom Obondo (Ford Kenya) defected to Kanu, Ojode was sponsored by Ford-Kenya and ousted Obondo in 1994. Ojode was re-elected on an NDP ticket during the 1997 elections and was in 2002, appointed to the Cabinet as assistant minister in the Higher Education, Science and Technology ministry.
In 2002, Ojode was re-elected on a Narc ticket but through LDP. He was subsequently appointed assistant minister for lands and settlement until 2005 when he briefly served in the same capacity in the Foreign Affairs ministry. Ojode was the only one of his colleagues who campaigned against the referendum including Kalonzo Musyoka, Najib Balala and Raila, among others who was retained in the Cabinet and elevated to Environment and Natural Resources minister.
Ojode rejected the appointment describing it an insult. "My community has been sidelined completely apart from this departmental ministry which has been offered to me. Why do we have to get the departmental ministry. What for? For the community? How will I help the community? How will I assist my constituents?” he said at the time.
In 2007, Ojode was once more re-elected Ndhiwa MP this time on an ODM ticket and was appointed assistant minister Internal Security and Provincial Administration. He and other senior government officials on a security tour of the Rift Valley had on May 11th, 2009, survived when their chopper crash landed in Kapsabet soon after it took off. Four people were injured in the incident.