He is said to have been one of the popular helicopter pilots among East Africa’s politicians.
A creative maverick, the late Captain Apollo Malowa who perished with four others in the Lake Nakuru chopper accident last Saturday before a scheduled trip to fly Jubilee team to Narok County for a political rally, hit the headlines late last year when he landed in the middle of the busy Bondo highway to say hallo to his mother with NASA luminary Raila Odinga on board.
Captain Malowa, 34, was a pilot at Flex Air Charters where he was also a director. Flex Air is owned by Captain Bootsy
Mutiso, a bosom pal of President Uhuru Kenyatta.Apollo, a former full lieutenant of the Kenya Air Force, was the preferred pilot of politicians and the wealthy within East Africa, according to aviation sources.
Just sample this: He was contracted to fly President Uhuru Kenyatta, Nasa luminary Raila Odinga, Tanzanian president John Magufuli and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni during their campaign trails.
Add too Deputy President William Ruto, Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi, Embu Woman Rep Wangui Ngirici, former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, NASA financier, billionaire Jimi Wanjigi, former president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete and the late power man Nicholas Biwott.
Captain Malowa was contracted to fly the Jubilee campaign team following the nullification of the August 8 polls by the Supreme Court.
Captain Malowa perished with four others aboard the 5Y-NMJ chopper which was to airlift members of Team 100 Campaign associated with Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika to the Narok rally.
According to the hotel management where the Jubilee team was booked, the four male passengers in the chopper checked into Jarika County Lodge on Friday at 6pm and left for Platinum 7D, a popular club in Nakuru.
They returned the following day, a Saturday, at 6am in the company of a woman, now identified as 22-year-old Veronica Muthoni, and proceeded to board the helicopter parked in the hotel’s field.
“Four males came yesterday including the pilot and booked rooms in the hotel and immediately left for town using a private car.They never came back till this morning at 6am and went straight to the chopper and took off,” Micah Loperes, an attendant at the hotel told The Nairobian.
A watchman there recalled that the four returned in the morning with Muthoni who was not with them while booking rooms on Friday evening.All the five who perished – Malowa, Sam Gitau, Anthony Kipyegon, John Mapozi and Muthoni – enjoyed their last moments with a ten-hour merry-making binge at Platinum 7D club before boarding the chopper on Saturday morning. “Their table was full of hard stuff and popular whisky brands. The men drunk and danced like there was no tomorrow,” a source at the club told The Nairobian.
With Muthoni, the four men left for the hotel at around 5.30am in a private car, but instead of resting at the hotel, they went straight to the chopper before taking off that chilly cloudy morning. Muthoni was on the co-pilot’s seat as the chopper did two rounds around Nakuru before it disappeared.
“The four men who had booked rooms did not spend time in their rooms. They didn’t take breakfast either,” said Loperes. Another source told The Nairobian that all five were high when they arrived at the lodge that morning.Captain Apollo was just flying Muthoni around Nakuru to allow the others to prepare for their trip to Narok, but instead, they boarded the chopper as well.