Executive Orders


Over two years after Dr Ouko’s murder, on 26 April 1992, the British Sunday newspaper the Sunday Times, printed a story entitled ‘Moi watched Cabinet Minister’s Execution’. In it a George Luchiri Wajackoyah, a former Kenyan Special Branch Inspector, made several accusations about the murder of Dr. Ouko he said he had pieced together from telephone interceptions and Special Branch files.

Wajackoyah restated the Troon theories saying that on the journey back from Washington “Moi refused to travel to Nairobi on the same plane as his Foreign Minister”. 

Wajackoyah claimed that on the night of the murder Ouko had been collected from his Koru farm by Hezekiah Oyugi and Nicholas Biwott supported by ‘two other cars full of armed men’ and ‘driven 90 miles east to one of Moi’s homes’. He had then been ‘beaten senseless’ when Moi came out of the house and said “enough”. The plan had been to ‘teach Ouko a lesson’ not kill him but it went wrong.

According to Wajackoyah’s story Ouko was shot in front of President Moi by Biwott and his body dumped two days later at Got Alila Hill.

Oyugi dumped the body two days after the murder, ordered the corpse to be set on fire and phoned Biwott, “Don’t worry”, he said, “That bastard is already sorted out. We shall roast any finger raised on the matter”. Biwott, said Wajackoyah, then called Moi telling him: “The work is completed”. [WW123, Sunday Times, ‘Moi Watched Cabinet Minister’s Execution’, 26 April 1992]

The Wajackoyah story is often repeated in Kenya’s newspaper and was largely accepted by the 2005 Parliamentary Select Committee hearings. It is a colourful story made more believable by the addition of little details. And it is demonstrably, entirely untrue.

The ‘Washington row’ story has already been shown to be with out any evidential basis and without question there is overwhelming evidence, including press photographs and eye witness testimony that Ouko returned with President Moi on the same flights and landed with him at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on the 4th February 1990.

As has been seen, witness testimony from the herdsboy Paul Shikuku and others that has never been challenged showed Dr Ouko’s burning body to have originally been found by about 1pm at Got Alila Hill on 13th February 1990. Ouko had last been seen alive at the around 3am. There was therefore a maximum of eleven hours for the events as Wajakoyah described to have taken place and probably no time at all (forensic evidence suggesting he had been dead for several hours when Shikuku found the body and 3am being the very earliest Ouko left his Koru home).

So there was no time for the Wajakoyah story to have taken place whether it was over three days, or even three hours.

The forensic evidence from 1990 also shows that Dr Ouko was almost certainly not ‘beaten senseless’, or thrown in the back of a van and his body kept for two days (although variations of this story too has run and run over the years). [TFR para 52]

And Dr Iain West gave testimony during the trial of Jonah Anguka that:

“… though there was no sign of dragging of the body and the act of dumping the body at the scene where it was later found was neat and professional, the dry blood observed from the upper lip to the lower eye lid horizontally indicated that the deceased body was moved after being shot to death but before it (the blood) clotted and before being set on fire”. [WW124, extract from Judgement in the criminal case of Republic versus Jona Orao Anguka page 24]

In short, Ouko’s body was moved very shortly after he was shot and his body set on fire before the blood dried. He was not moved far, a few feet, and he was not left for two days after being shot.

Troon’s ‘Final Report’ stated there was no evidence other than that Dr Ouko was killed where his body was found.

Dr Ouko could not have been killed at State House or anywhere other than Got Alila Hill where his body was found.

And he was murdered on the morning of the 13th February 1990, probably between 3am and 6.30am, so all three-day, taken away and shot and then body dumped theories fall.


There are several problems with the ‘Moi had Ouko shot’ theories.

First, there is no evidence of motive. As we have seen the ‘Washington Trip’ theory, that there was a ‘row’, Ouko was banished, sacked and exiled, appears to have no basis in fact and can be proved to incorrect at just about every level.

There would also appear to be no other reason for Moi to want order Dr Ouko’s killing. He had consistently promoted Ouko, finally giving him one of the great offices of state – Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Leaving aside motive, President Moi was many things, some of them not savoury or pleasant but he wasn’t stupid. He knew the Byzantine politics of Kenya better than most. It is all but inconceivable that he would have been so foolish to have killed one of the leading Luo politicians in his regime and one of his most popular ministers. Both internally and externally at a time when momentum was growing for multi-party democracy in Kenya and international pressure was growing in its support, he would have known that it could have resulted in disaster for his rule.

And even if by some leap of imagination Moi is still in the frame for Ouko’s murder, would he have been so stupid as to be at or near the scene of the murder himself?

Which brings us back to the litmus test for all theories regarding Dr Ouko’s murder – we know that he was killed on the 13th February 1990 at the Got Alila Hill site. Moi could not have been there, Ouko could not have been at State house or anywhere else for that matter.

That Moi was involved in trying to direct in some ways the investigations into Dr Ouko’s murder there seems little doubt but the accusation that he was directly involved in the killing falls on the basis of a total ‘absence of evidence’.

Next Chapter: Nicholas Biwott