The Days leading up to Dr Robert Oukos Murder

On 27th January 1990, President Moi, together with a delegation of 83 other ministers and officials, left Nairobi to travel via London on a private visit to attend a ‘Prayer Breakfast’ in Washington D.C. The delegation, which was seen off at the airport by the then Minister of Finance Professor Saitoti, included the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Ouko, the Energy Minister Nicholas Biwott, the Minister for Industry Dalmas Otieno, Professor Sam Ongeri, Minister for Technical Training and Applied Technology, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bethuel Kiplagat, and the Permanent Secretary for Internal Security, Hezekiah Oyugi. [Select Committee Investigating Circumstances Leading to the Death of the Late Dr. The Hon. Robert John Ouko, Volume 1, pages 177-182, Appendix Six].

Also travelling with the delegation were 16 editors, reporters, cameramen, photographers and technical staff from the Presidential Press Unit. The delegation’s departure from Jomo Kenyatta Airport on 27th January and return on 4th February, 1990, were public and newsworthy events reported by Kenya’s newspapers which had photographers on site to record the event.

FEBRUARY 4TH- 17TH, 1990


The Kenyan delegation arrived back at Jomo Kenyatta Airport on an Kenya Airways flight on 4 February to be greeted by Finance Minister Saitoti, a large crowd, welcoming dancers and the Kenyan press corps.

Dr Ouko returned to his Loresho home at about 6.30pm and later that evening, around about 8.30pm it seems, he visited Hezekiah Oyugi, the Permanent Secretary of Internal Affairs.


At 9.00am the next morning, 5 February, Dr Ouko was at State House with Bethuel Kiplagat, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presenting the Japanese Ambassador and the Canadian High Commissioner to President Moi.

President Moi then gave, or told, Dr Ouko to take time off before his next official trip which was scheduled to be to The Gambia on 14 February.

Later that day Ouko met with his lawyer, Mr George Odinga Oraro of Oraro and Rachier Advocates, Nairobi, to discuss a proposal for the development of land that Dr Ouko had recently bought in Muhoroni.

During the afternoon of the 5th February at about 3pm Ouko called at the Nairobi home of his mistress Violet Ogembo. She was not in but he left a present for his daughter.

At about 5pm that day he left Nairobi to travel to his Koru farm, driven by his driver Mr Joseph Yogo Otieno and accompanied by his bodyguard Mr Gordon Ondu, leaving his wife Christabel at Loresho. They arrived at the Koru farm at just after 10pm.

Witness testimony suggests that Dr Ouko took with him to Koru two briefcases.


At about 12 Noon Dr Ouko called on his sister Dorothy Randiak where she worked as a lecturer at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu.


During the very early morning (the exact time is unknown) Dr Ouko was seen and spoken to by a Mr Joel C. Rotich at Kericho Petrol Station. Rotich noticed there was a briefcase on the front passenger seat of the minister’s car.

Joel Rotich claimed that Dr Ouko told him he was going to Nairobi to see the President and then to Nyeri District to a public meeting. Troon’s enquiries however, revealed that no official meeting with President Moi was recorded and that the meeting in Nyeri was not due to take place until the following week.

Some time between 7.30am and 8.30am Dr Ouko was seen having breakfast at the Tea Hotel in Kericho.

Where Dr Ouko went thereafter for the rest of the day remains a mystery.


At 8.30am the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bethuel Kiplagat, received a call from Dr Ouko asking him to cancel a press reception that was due to take place later that day in the evening at the Hilton Hotel.

At 11 O’clock that morning Dr Ouko instructed his bodyguard Gordon Ondu to take time off and return to Koru on the 12th and at about 1pm Dr Ouko’s driver Joseph Yogo Otieno drove off in the minister’s official car to Nairobi with instructions to collect Mrs Ouko and return with her in the family car, leaving the official car in Nairobi.


Dr Ouko visited the District Commissioner at Kericho.

Later, as he drove along the Kericho – Kisumu Road, Dr Ouko’s was involved in an accident with a petrol tanker but escaped shaken but unscathed.

Mrs Ouko arrived at their Koru home at about 2pm and Dr Ouko released his driver Joseph Otieno at about 3pm telling him to return to Koru on Monday 12th February.


Dr Ouko travelled to the Imperial Hotel in Kisumu in the morning to attend a Rotary meeting where he gave a speech, leaving somewhat early at about 12 Noon to return to Koru saying that he was feeling unwell.

At some point during the day, 500 chicks were delivered to the Koru farm.

During the rest of the day, according to Mrs Ouko’s testimony, her husband spent almost all his time alone in his study or bedroom, making and receiving telephone calls and possibly dealing with official correspondence (on this latter point Mrs Ouko was unclear when interviewed).

According to Mrs Ouko her husband seemed ‘unusually worried and depressed’ and several witnesses testified, as did Mrs Ouko that he was concerned about a family dispute between himself and his two brothers Barrack and Collins. [TFR para 18]

Dr Ouko also complained of interference on his direct STD.

SUNDAY 11th 

Dr Ouko and his wife Christabel attended church in Koru and spent the rest of the day at home.

That evening Dr Ouko told his wife that there was to be a change of plan as he had to meet the District Commissioner on the following morning to discuss a charity that they were both involved with and that therefore whilst she would return by road to Nairobi as originally planned, he would take an evening flight from Kisumu on Monday evening and would meet her in Loresho on the 13th.

Scotland Yard’s enquiries, however, found that Ouko had no appointment with District Commissioner on Monday 12th and Kenya Airways had no flights from Kisumu to Nairobi on Monday evenings.


Although he still seemed to be encountering problems with the telephone in Koru, Dr Ouko was able to speak with his sister Dorothy and told her that he was not returning to Nairobi until the next day.

He also spoke to his Personal Assistant, Mrs Susan Anguka and told her that he would be back in the office the next day.

Hezikiah Oyugi also claimed that Dr Ouko called him on the morning of Monday 12th.

At 1pm Dr Ouko and his wife Christabel had lunch with a neighbour Mrs Mary Adera.

Mrs Ouko left Koru at about 3pm to travel to Loresho, driven by the minister’s driver Joseph Otieno in her private car. Dr Ouko instructed his driver to pick him up at Nairobi Airport at 7pm that evening.

Around an hour later at about 4pm Dr Ouko spoke to his bodyguard Gordon Ondu on the telephone and told him to go to the Bata Shoe Shop in Kisumu the next day (Tuesday 13) where they would then travel on together to Kisumu Airport to fly to Nairobi.

Troon reported that no arrangements had been made for Dr Ouko to travel. In the past, according to Troon, when Dr Ouko had been at Koru without transport the bodyguard or the manager of the Bata Shoe Shop would have been instructed to arrange transport for him, or it would have been organised by the Provincial or District Commissioner’s office, or friends.

For the rest of the afternoon and early evening Dr Ouko was alone, other than his staff, at Koru – Salina Ndalo Were (maid), Erasto Otiende (looked after the chickens), Philip Ogutu (storeman) and Zablon Agalo Obonyo (Administrative Police Officer).

Between 6pm and 7pm Dr Ouko called his Loresho home and left a message for his daughter Lillian that he would be returning to Nairobi the next day and that he had been delayed because there were no flights to Nairobi that evening.

Later, Mrs Ouko twice called her husband from Loresho. She stated that he still seemed worried and that again he mentioned the family conflict between the brothers.

At approximately 8.30pm Dr Ouko’s sister, Dorothy Randiak, accompanied by Mr John Otieno Ademba, Mr Peter Kasuku and Mr Albert Nyakucha, paid him a visit because they were concerned by him after the accident.

Dorothy Randiak was also later to say to Troon that Dr Ouko seemed worried and that they discussed family conflict. She confirmed that Mrs Ouko called twice that evening. She also stated that she saw files and papers on his desk and that the minister received two telephone calls, one from Mr Eric Onyango and the other from Dr Ouko’s uncle Mr George Olilo, at that time still the Mayor of Kisumu.

The four visitors left Dr Ouko at about 10pm that evening. As they were about to leave Mrs Randiak noticed that the minister’s study door was still open and told his maid, Selina Were to close it and lock it, which she did with the help of Dr Ouko. The door had two bolts and could only be locked from the inside.

Next Chapter:  Dr Robert Ouko Is Missing