Celebrating life of honest General and gentleman

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024 07:00 | By
Chief of Defence Forces the late General Francis Ogolla. PHOTO/KDF(@kdfinfo)/X
Chief of Defence Forces the late General Francis Ogolla. PHOTO/KDF(@kdfinfo)/X

Kenya has bid farewell to a remarkable Kenyan who epitomised the true image of the ideal citizen.

This tribute to General Francis Omondi Ogolla emphasises the phrase “true image” since each detail of his well-guarded life revolved around the truth.

Kenyans owe General Ogolla a permanent five-star medal for steadfastly combining his distinguished service to the nation with unrivaled chivalry and piety. 

None of the high-profile leaders at his burial ceremony would come anywhere near the General in propagating and upholding the truth and virtue. 

Kenyans have for long witnessed unending spectacles of political leaders and State officials uttering the truth in vain.

It is not the time to dwell on the numerous untruths in Kenya’s political, and socio-economic tapestry but the trend continues with well-camouflaged abandon.

In Kenya, leaders commonly speak from one side of the mouth, twisting the truth to suit their vested interests. Not General Ogolla.

He was not only the chief guardian of Kenya’s national security, but also a truthful and devoted Christian who had repeatedly read the Bible cover to cover.

Who can match these rare attributes of a commander who valiantly and selflessly served his country with honour, diligence and adherence to the Ten Commandments?

Very few, if any. Many of those who gloriously eulogized him preach water and drink wine. The General’s pious side surfaced during his military, religious and cultural sendoff that vindicated the truth about this true servant of the people and the nation.

Until his tragic demise, many Kenyans knew very little of this humble son of Kenya, save probably for an event that threatened to soil his illustrious career: The infamous visit to Bomas of Kenya before the announcement of the 2022 presidential election result. However, his innocence emerged as he took his final flight to his Maker.

Meticulous as he was as an ace jet fighter and a truthful servant of God and the people, the General had to his final moment kept national security matters close to his heart.

In a nation wracked by falsehoods, hypocrisy, ethnic chauvinism, nepotism, corruption and vice, General Ogolla stood out as a beacon of honesty and outstanding leadership.

These qualities serve as a lesson to curb the morass that has prevented citizens from enjoying the full potential of our nationalism through patriotism, equity and inclusion.

The great American General Douglas MacArthur addressed a joint session of the US Congress on 19 April 1951 (the day General Ogolla died). His speech quoted an old army ballad, also a British Army parody of the gospel song Kind Thoughts Never Die: “Old Soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away – an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye,” said MacArthur.

How remarkably similar are the stories of these great military leaders? Only that General Ogolla still had many years to serve the nation and God.

The humble son of Alego Usonga in Siaya County leaves an enduring legacy of honesty and distinguished service engraved in Kenya’s history.

Respecting his community and Kenyans reliving the pain of mysterious deaths and assassinations, the truth behind the untimely accident that claimed the General and eight other gallant soldiers must be revealed – publicly.

—The writer comments on national affairs

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