The murder of Dr. Robert Ouko, Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the 13th February, 1990, is perhaps the most well-known and mysterious cases in Kenya’s history from a country that has witnessed many unexplained killings. 21 years after the event the file on Dr. Ouko’s murder remains open, the case unsolved and his murderers, if they are still alive, at large.
For all of those 21 years the investigation into Dr. Ouko’s death has been hampered and obscured by a lack of objectivity, misreporting by some and even direct interference by others. Too often myths surrounding the case have been built on bungled investigations, confused testimony, hearsay, rumours, ‘tenuous’ factual evidence, dubious conjecture and even outright lies, which for many have been taken as ‘truer than the truth’.
Kenya Unsolved’s objective is to look again at the evidence in the public domain, to base a new case squarely on the facts and objective analysis, and to seek new evidence and authoritative testimony that could help reveal the truth of Dr. Ouko’s murder.
As such it is a work in progress that hopefully will grow organically with assistance from the site’s readers.
The text currently stands at some 40,000 words supported by 600 pages of evidence and testimony from 125 documents. On these readers may base their own thoughts and analysis, and we hope journalists find it an authoritative source of information.
We welcome comment for publication sent by readers, suggestions as to other documentation that should be made available, as we do the correction of any errors. Readers may also send information and testimony in confidence.
Why is the need to uncover the truth about Robert Ouko’s murder still important and relevant 21 years after his death? Because he deserves it, the innocent and falsely accused deserve it, and both Kenya and Kenyans need it for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation to prevail.
Early in the investigation into Dr. Ouko’s murder President Moi called in a team from New Scotland Yard, London, led by Superintendent John Troon. Troon produced two reports, an ‘Interim’ and a ‘Final’ report. Readers will note that Troon’s reports and testimony given to the Scotland Yard team are referred to from the outset of this study.
Dr. Robert Ouko
John Robert Ouko was born on 31 March 1931 in the village of Nyahera near Kisumu in Kenya’s Nyanza Province, the eldest son of Erastus and Susan Seda. They were to go on and have five other children, four sons, Barrak, Maurice, William and Collins, and one daughter, Dorothy.
Always called Robert, not by his first name John, the young Ouko’s early education was at Ogada Primary School and Nyang’ori School after which he studied at the Siriba Teachers Training College before starting work as a primary school teacher.
By 1955 he had changed jobs and taken up a position as a revenue officer in the Kisii Ditsrict.
Bright and ambitious he enrolled at the Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa in 1958 to study for a degree in Public Administration, Economics and Political Science from which he graduated in 1962 and over the next year he completed his higher education at Makere University in Uganda from which, presciently, he was awarded a diploma in International relations and Diplomacy.
Nearly a decade later, in 1971, he was awarded an honorary degree by the Pacific Lutheran University in Seattle and thereafter he was always known as Dr. Robert Ouko.
Prior to Kenya’s independence in 1963 he worked as an Assistant Secretary in the office of Nyanza Province’s Governor.
In 1965 he married Christabel by whom he had seven children.
Dr Ouko was nominated as a member of the Kenyan parliament in 1977 and appointed as Minister for Economic Planning and Community Affairs.
He was elected for KANU (the only party in Kenya’s single party state at that time) to parliament for the Kisumu Rural Constituency at the 1979 general election, retaining his seat at the elections of 1983 and 1988, the latter as member for Kisumu Town.
In 1987 President Moi appointed Ouko Minister of Industry. Following the general election in May 1988 he became Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Next Chapter: The Days leading up to Dr Robert Oukos Murder