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Cablegate: Odm Minister and Assistant Minister Killed In

VZCZCXRO6462
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #1422 1631143
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111143Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6038
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 6002
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 2064
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0109
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2835
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 5290

UNCLAS NAIROBI 001422

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E

E.O.12958: N /A
TAGS: PGOV EAIR KE
SUBJECT: ODM MINISTER AND ASSISTANT MINISTER KILLED IN
RIFT VALLEY PLANE CRASH

REF: NAIROBI 1384

1. On June 10 at approximately 1400, Minister of Roads Kipkalya
Kones and Assistant Minister for Home Affairs in the Office of the
Vice-President Lorna Laboso, were killed when their light aircraft
crashed into the side of a hill near Narok (Rift Valley Province)
during bad weather. Two other people, the pilot and a bodyguard,
were also killed. Mr. Kones and Ms. Laboso were both members of
the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) representing neighboring
constituencies in the Rift Valley near Ainemoi (Bomet and Sotik
respectively).

2. The Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer and the Director of the
Air Accident Investigation Branch are investigating the accident.
There are no indications of foul play at this time, and initial
readouts from contacts at Wilson airport point to an accident based
on poor pilot judgement, as poor weather had caused other small
airlines to cancel similar flights. Despite this, local media
reported that crowds in Kones' home district had blocked a major
road in protest after rumors emerged that the government (or
possibly former President Daniel Arap Moi) were behind the crash.
We have alerted election observers in Ainamoi to be on heightened
alert for any civil unrest.

3. The death of Mr. Kones and Ms. Laboso bring the number of ODM
MPs who have died since the December 2007 General Election to four.
At the time of the crash, the two cabinet members were on their way
to oversee ODM observation efforts for the June 11 by-election to
fill the seat left vacant by the death of Ainemoi MP David Kimutai
Too, who was shot on January 31 (reftel). This is the third plane
crash in five years involving the death of MPs. In 2006, six MPs
lost their lives when their plane crashed into a hill while
approaching Marsabit, upper Eastern Province. In 2003, the Minister
of Labor was killed when his plane (also carrying three other cabinet
ministers) crashed shortly after takeoff in Busia, Western Province.
RANNEBERGER

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