If the term ‘Executive killing’ is used in a wider way to mean killing by someone in high authority or on their orders but not by the President himself, then other suspects could be, and were, considered.
Troon’s favourite prime suspect was the then Energy Minister, Nicholas Biwott.
Troon’s case against Biwott was entirely based on ascribing a motive to him for the killing of Ouko. And the motives that Troon came up with were all based on the testimonies of four people – Ouko’s brother and sister, Barrack Mbajah and Dorothy Randiak in respect of the ‘Washington Trip’ row theory, and Domenico Airaghi and Marianne Briner-Mattern regarding the Kisumu Molasses Project and corruption report theory. [see “The Washington trip theory falls”]
As we have seen, the Washington Trip theory doesn’t stand up against the evidence. President Bush and Ouko did not meet secretly in Washington, the supposed cause of the row, and Ouko flew back to Nairobi with the delegation and continued his duties as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Troon’s second theory, that bribes had been sought by Biwott and others over the tendering for the Kisumu Molasses Plant and that Ouko was writing a corruption report for which he was killed to ensure that the report wasn’t sent to President Moi, is also shot to pieces by both the available evidence and the absence of evidence to support the theory.[see: The Molasses Theory comes unstuck]
Again, as we have seen, the two companies ultimately introduced to Dalmas Otieno, the Minister of Industry, to tender for the Molasses Project were both introduced by Airaghi and they were part of the same multi-national company. There could have been no bribe asked for or paid for one to win the contract over the other.
Dalmas Otieno had Airaghi expelled from Kenya and it was Otieno who brought the BAK company’s involvement (Airaghi and Briner-Mattern’s company) to an end.
The problem for Biwott was that Detective Superintendent Troon was totally sold on the Briner-Mattern allegations, although he accepted that they were based largely on ‘hearsay’ and ‘somewhat tenuous’ evidence.
Troon accepted their testimony because in his judgement Airaghi and Briner-Mattern were ‘honest’ and they ran a ‘reputable’ company. It turned out however, that Airaghi was criminal on bail from a Milan Court where he had been found guilt of fraud and deception. His accomplice was Briner-Mattern. And the BAK company was little more than a charade, not finally incorporated until the 13th February 1990, the day of Dr Ouko’s murder.[see: Airaghi convicted, Briner Mattern ‘unreliable’ BAK a chimera]
Troon had even based his ‘corruption report’ theory on a misreading of Briner-Mattern’s letter that she said she sent to Ouko just before his death. The letter was clearly threatening Dr Ouko and the corruption it referred to was the corruption involved in hiring campaign workers at the Kisumu Molasses Plant during the 1988 election.[see: The Corruption report]
As it was, only Briner-Mattern claimed that a ‘corruption report’ was being written by Ouko at the time of his murder. No one else knew of it or saw it at the time. No evidence of its existence has been found since. Briner-Mattern claimed she had documents to prove it but they had been carried out to sea by Tanzanian fishermen.
Even Troon admitted that in the absence of evidence from Airaghi or Briner-Mattern, there was no evidence against Biwott.
It may be that Kenyan’s wanted the culprit to be Biwott. Briner-Mattern and Troon needed it to be Biwott. However, although it may be hard for many Kenyans to accept, all the evidence says Biwott wasn’t involved in the murder of Dr Ouko. There is no evidence that he was.
Justice must be blind. We may not think we like Biwott but that doesn’t make him the murderer of Dr Robert Ouko. On all the available evidence, he had nothing to do with it.
Next Chapter: Hezakiah Oyugi