The Dr Robert Ouko Factfiles:

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THE WASHINGTON TRIP


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


SUNDAY 4th

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.


MONDAY 5th

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.


TUESDAY 6th

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.


WEDNESDAY 7th

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.


THURSDAY 8th

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.


FRIDAY 9th

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.


SATURDAY 10th

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.


MONDAY 12th

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.


THE NIGHT OF MONDAY 12th  AND TUESDAY 13th


Dr Ouko was now alone at his Koru home other than his domestic staff. What happened thereafter is not known for certain.


Ogutu the store man said he locked both gates leading from the house by 10.30pm after Dorothy Randiak and her friends had left; the lower gate at the entry to driveway, and the upper gate that was some 150 metres up the driveway towards the house.


He later maintained that he kept the keys to the gates until about 11pm when Selina Were asked for the keys to the pedestrian gates saying that Dr Ouko wanted them. Ogutu stated after that he handed over the keys to Salina Were, he did not see them again until the next morning (Tuesday 13) at about 7am, lying on the ground beside the lower gate. Both pedestrian gates were still open.


According to Troon’s ‘Final Report’ Ogutu’s night was further disturbed at about 2am when he was woken by Erasto Olang, the ‘chicken man’ who told him that Dr Ouko wanted the key to the store. Together they went to the poultry shed where they gave the keys to Dr Ouko.


The Kenya Police ‘Further Investigations’ Report however said that ‘At about 12 midnight the minister went to the chicken house and found Erasto Olang Otiende looking after the young chicks’. [KPFI 2:9 p11]


Ouko was apparently concerned that the 500 chicks delivered on the Saturday might be at risk on a cold night and wanted to find some more heat bulbs to keep them warm. Dr Ouko went into the store but was unable to find more bulbs.


The farm workers testified that Dr Ouko seemed reluctant for them to join him in the store.


Oguto said he then returned to bed and was given the store key by Olang at approximately 7am the next morning. He checked the store room and found that although it had been closed the padlock had not been locked.


Here again the Kenya Police ‘Further Investigations’ Report tells a slightly different story, having Ouko tending to the chickens at 3am. [KPFI 2:9 page 12]


Salina Were, the maid, lived adjacent to the kitchen. It was usual practice that she kept keys to the house and looked after the home when the Ouko’s were away.


Salina Were confirmed in her testimony that she had locked the minister’s study door and the main front door before going to bed at about 11pm. Before doing so she noticed that Dr Ouko had changed his clothes and was wearing a Kitenge with a red zig zag pattern, trousers, black shoes and a dark brown leather jacket. (The shirt and jeans found at the site where Dr Ouko’s body was found appeared to be the clothing he was wearing during the evening before changing. [TFR para 31]


According to Troon’s ‘Final Report’, Salina Were said ‘she was awakened at about 3am by a noise similar to a door being slammed shut but sufficiently loud enough to startle her awake’ (Troon’s underlining) and that ‘she checked her wristwatch and waited for some minutes, thinking that the Minister would call her to make him tea’. [TFR para 32]


It should be noted however, that Troon interviewed Salina Were with a Kenyan police officer and Jonah Anguka acting as a translator as Salina could only speak Luo. Mrs Esther Molly Mbajah, Dr Ouko’s sister-in-law married to his brother Barrack, testified in a written statement that Herine Ogembo, Dr Ouko’s mistress told her in Luo that he had been picked up in the early morning and used the Luo word ‘Kogwuen’ meaning between 3am and 6am or ‘before cock crow’. [Statement of Esther Molly Mbajah, 29 March 1990]


Both the problem of translation and the varying witness testimony covering the early hours to dawn on the 13th February make it possible, indeed quite likely, that Dr Ouko disappeared from his Koru home not at 3am but later, perhaps as late as 6am that morning.


[On 22 February, Troon and other police officers conducted an experiment at the Koru farm residence in the company of Salina Were to try and ascertain what the sound was that said she heard. Troon reported that, “Suffice to say she associated the most likely sound to the discharge of a firearm, but could not discount the closing of the study door as also being similar”.] [TFR para 33]


After a few minutes she heard an engine. Leaving her room she walked about 15 yards to the Grass Hut that overlooked the lower gate to the main road, which she could see quite clearly because of the security lighting, and saw a white car with its lights on turning round at the end of the driveway, just outside the lower gate. She did not see who was in the car. The car drove to the end of the access road to where it joined the Koru-Muhoroni road and turned left towards Muhoroni and she watched until the car’s lights went out of site. Troon noted that at that point there was ‘an unmade road leading to Got Alila Hill where Ouko’s body was subsequently found’. [TFR para 33]


She returned to bed and awoke at about 6.30am and found that the minister’s study door (that she had closed the night before) was open and his private bedroom door which directly accessed the study from across the corridor was unlocked even though Dr Ouko normally locked his bedroom door at night.


The covers on Dr Ouko’s bed had been drawn back and the sheets looked as if he had either lain on the bed or gone to sleep in it. His pyjamas had been worn. Selina Were also saw two briefcases on the floor and she noticed that the telephone on his bedside table, his direct STD line, was off the hook and placed upside down on the table.


Had Dr Ouko made or received a call just before leaving home? Or did he justt want to stop the telephone ringing?


Concerned at what she saw, Salina Were called Dr Ouko’s Loresho home in Nairobi and the Bata shop in Kisumu but there was no news of him.


GOT ALILA HILL AND A BURNING BODY


‘At about 1pm on Tuesday 13th February Paul Shikuku a herdsboy was in the area of Got Alila Hill when he saw smoke. On closer examination the boy discovered that the smoke was coming from a human body with “flames around the chest and stomach area”. Shikuku ‘told another herdsboy called Harsi what he had seen. He showed him the smoke but refused to take him to the site’ [KPFI 3:2 page 13]. The boys took fright and ran towards his village. On the way Shikuku met a Richard Rotich and Joshua Ngeney at the River Nyando. One of them, it is unclear which, said ‘that it may be a body of a madman who resides in the bush within that area’.  Shikuku also reported the sight to several villagers.’ But unfortunately they did not report the find to the authorities. Paul Shikuku’s testimony was supported by the testimony of six villagers. [Troon’s Final Report, Para 38]


And so we arrive at one of the crucial pieces of evidence in the murder of Dr Robert Ouko. Witness testimony places the time of death in the morning of Tuesday 13th February, 1990.


ALARM RAISED AND THE SEARCH BEGINS


Dr Ouko had been expected to land back in Nairobi at Jomo Kenyatta Airport on 13th February but of course he did not arrive and his bodyguards that were waiting at the airport for him began to enquire about his whereabouts. [KPFI 3:1 page 12]


Mrs Ouko was informed and called Selina Were at the Koru farm. She told Mrs Ouko that her husband had ‘been collected in a white car early in the morning at about 3.00am’.


In the initial hours that Dr Ouko was missing no great concern was shown about his disappearance. Everyone expected him to have been delayed and that eventually he would show up [See KPFI 3:1 page 12]. But by the end of the 13th anxiety began to grow.


At about 3pm a Kisumu Councillor, Mr George Lazarus Owino, together with a Mr Joel Owila Odera, Mr Peter Odeny Kungu, Mr John Ologi and a Mr Alex Ndege arrived at the Koru house apparently to express their sympathy to Dr Ouko for the motor accident he had been involved with the previous week.


The visit had been arranged the previous day by Owino and Dr Ouko but of course the latter was not at home  [paras 65 to 69, Troon’s FP]


On the Wednesday 14th February at about 6.00pm Dr Ouko’s bodyguard AP Cpl. Gordon Okoth contacted the Divisional Security Intelligence Officer in Kisumu, Mr Omwenga, who in turn informed the District Security Committee and the Provincial Security Committee. [KPFI 3:3 page 13]


‘A Police Inspector was dispatched to Koru to investigate what had happened to the minister. He returned, reporting that Dr Ouko had left his Koru home in the early hours of the morning’. [KPFI 3:3 page 13]


The decision was taken to mount a search for Dr Ouko ‘within Koru’ but as by then it was approaching darkness the search did not begin until the next day, Thursday 15th. [KPFI 3:3 page 13]


The initial search by the Kenyan police began and at Dr Ouko’s Koru home, where he had been last sighted, and spread out from there into the surrounding countryside but by the darkness on the 15th he had not been found and there was no further news as to his whereabouts.


The first government statement on Ouko was issued on Thursday 15 February through Voice of Kenya radio and Television:


“The family of the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Dr. Robert Ouko, has reported that the minister left his Koru home last Tuesday, February 13, in the morning, and has been seen since. Could Dr. Ouko please contact his family or the nearest police station. Any member of the public who might have any information as to the minister’s whereabouts should report to the nearest police station.”


On Thursday 15 February at about 5pm, Christabel Ouko arrived at the Koru where later she was joined by other family members. One of these was her sister-in-law, Mrs Esther Molly Mbajah, Dr Ouko’s brother Barrack’s wife who arrived at or before 6pm. Others were also there, including Dr Ouko’s mother Susana, James K’Oyoo and Kisumu’s Mayor Olilo. [Esther Molly Mbajah statement]


Esther Molly Mbajah, Dr Ouko’s sister-in-law and wife of his brother Barrack noted in her written testimony that, ‘During the course of my time with Christabel she asked me to speak with Barrack and try and stop him speaking badly about the family. [Esther Molly Mbajah statement]


February 16, 1990, 12:53 P.M.: President Moi issued a statement of concern through the Kenya News Agency:


“I wish to express my sadness and grave concern on the sudden disappearance of my Minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, the Hon. Dr. Robert Ouko.


As soon as I received this information on Wednesday, February 14, 1990, I directed the government machinery to be deployed to trace his whereabouts. I wish to assure the members of the public that at the moment my own security personnel are applying maximum effort to achieve this intention.


Meanwhile, every member of the public who has any information which might help in tracing his whereabouts is requested to report to the nearest police station.


The government is committed to protecting the life of each and every Kenyan and no effort will be spared achieving this intention. The public will be informed as soon as further progress is made on investigation.”


At about 10.30am on Friday 16th February, Police Constable 48774 Jerphither Ndambiri attached to Kisumu Police Station found the charred remains of the dead body of Dr Robert Ouko in a thicket near to the Nyando River at the foot of Got Alila Hill approximately 2.8 kilometres from the Koru farm. The body was later formally identified by Dr Ouko’s brother Barrack Mbajah and Professor Joseph Oliech. A report of the body’s discovery was made and senior Government officials went to the scene and the Kenyan police investigation began led by the Deputy Director of C.I.D. Mr Cleophas Okoko.


Okoko and ‘senior police officers’ decided that Dr Ouko’s body should be left at the scene until a post mortem could be carried out the next day. A guard was placed on it overnight. [KPFI 4:1 page 14]


NEWS BROKEN TO MRS OUKO


Mrs Esther Molly Mbajah stated that she was attending to Mrs Ouko at the Koru home on 16 February when Cleophas Okoko requested that he speak with Mrs Ouko alone. This he did but whilst doing so the District Commissioner from Nakuru, Mr John Anguka ‘burst into the room and informed Mrs Ouko that the body of her husband had been found’.  At this, Mrs Ouko ‘collapsed screaming in grief’. [Troon FR para 116].


Esther Molly Mbajah’s written evidence stated that ‘I heard Anguka and the Deputy Mr Too talking, I heard the Deputy say “How could you come and break the news just like that,” he seemed really furious’ [Esther Molly Mbajah statement]


KENYA IS TOLD


Later on February 16th, President Moi issued an additional statement through Voice of Kenya, adding Dr. Robert Ouko’s death:


“It is with profound sorrow that I have to announce the death of the Honourable Robert Ouko, minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation and Member of Parliament for Kisumu town.

On learning of the report of his disappearance on Wednesday, the government mounted an intensive search for Dr. Ouko using all means at its disposal.

Dr. Ouko’s partly burnt body was discovered today six kilometers away from his Koru home in circumstances which at the suggest foul play.

Further investigations are being conducted into the death of the Hon. Dr.Ouko but I would like to assure the public that anyone who may be associated with this horrible event will most certainly be apprehended and brought to justice.

Let me repeat my assurance to the nation that the government is committed to the protection of the lives of all citizens of this country, and no stone will be left unturned in the discharge of that duty. The government will make further information known to the public about the circumstances pertaining to the death of Hon. Dr. Robert Ouko as this information becomes available.

I wish to extend to the family and relatives of the late Dr. Robert Ouko my sincerest condolences. It is not only their loss but that of the whole nation, for the late Dr. Robert Ouko was a brilliant leader, an articulate and a courageous spokesman of this country and a loyal servant of his people. I have personally lost a loyal dedicated friend-Dr. Ouko is the best foreign minister Kenya has had. I will greatly miss him.


May the Almighty rest his soul in eternal peace.”


The front page of The Daily Nation on the next day (17th) carried Moi’s statement and a declaration from Saitoti that Ouko’s death was ‘murder’.


INITIAL POST-MORTEM


On 17th February at 11.30am the Kenyan State Pathologist, Dr. J. N. Kaviti arrived, examined the body and began the first stage of the post-mortem. Photographs were also taken of Dr Ouko’s body and the surrounding area.


The following items were found at the scene:


A revolver

A holster

A white plastic jerrycan

A red plastic lid

A torch

A box of matches

A leather jacket

A pair of gumboots

A walking stick

A green polythene paper containing clothes

A sock


[KPFI 4:1 pages 14-15]


Dr Ouko’s jacket pocket contained Sh400 and four rounds of ammunition from his revolver.


Dr. Kaviti noted that Dr Ouko had been shot in the head with an entry wound 8cm above the right ear, exiting 6cm above the left ear.


Dr Kaviti also recorded that the minister’s right tibia and fibula (i.e. the bones below the knee) were broken at the ankle. Although he initially attributed the cause of the break to have been the heat of the fire he later agreed that they could have been caused by ‘a blunt or sharp force’.


The body was then sealed in a body sheet and taken by air [helicopter?] to the Lee Mortuary in Nairobi where a post mortem examination was conducted by Dr Kaviti in the company of Professor Oliech, the Director of Medical Services, Dr Joab Bodo, Chief Orthopaedic Specialist and the Ouko’s family doctor, Dr Joseph Oluoch.


The post mortem revealed lead bullet fragments embedded inside the skull and more intense burning on the back of the body than the front.


Dr Kaviti concluded that the cause of death was ‘severe brain damage following a bullet wound to the head and subsequent burning.’


Okoko continued with the investigation until he handed to Detective Superintendent John Troon of New Scotland Yard, London. It must have seemed a good idea at the time.


TROON OF ‘THE YARD’


On February 19 the government announced that three detectives from Scotland Yard, Detective Superintendent John Troon together with Detective Inspector Graham Dennis and Detective Sergeant David Sanderson from ‘the Yard’s’ International and Organised Crime Branch, would take over the investigation. They were accompanied by Dr Iain West, a Forensic Pathologist from Guys and St Thomas Hospitals, London.


The Scotland Yard team arrived on 21 February.


FORENSIC EVIDENCE [Troon’s Final Report paras 41 – 52 inclusive]


On the same day that they arrived in Nairobi, Dr Iain West, accompanied by Superintendent John Troon, carried out a second post mortem at the Lee Mortuary.


The body of Dr Ouko lay on its back. The trunk had been largely destroyed by fire his face and head had not been badly burnt and he was easily identifiable.


Beside his left leg was the torch he had borrowed from his driver, Joseph Otieno.


Behind and to the right of his head lay his .38 five chambered revolver, with, it transpired, one spent round at the twelve o’clock position.


Some 3-4 feet to the right of his body stood an open 6 litre white plastic jerrycan and a matchbox with some matches still inside lay nearby.


Further away, approximately 15 feet from the body, lay jerrycan top and the minister’s walking stick, his holster and Wellington boots. There was also a plastic bag containing a pair of jeans, a shirt and a pair of socks, and a leather jacket in the pockets of which were found four live rounds of .38 ammunition, a pair of glasses and Sh400 cash.


All of the items except for the jerrycan, matches and the torch, were later identified as belonging to Ouko and were usually kept in his bedroom.


Evenly spaced out between the leather jacket and the minister’s body were four burn marks approximately 12 inches round.


Dr West, too, concluded that the cause of death was ‘a firearm wound to the head which occurred in life’ but there was no contact wound.


Dr West, however, went further in his analysis and conclusions than Dr Kaviti had done.


West stated that Dr Ouko’s body had been burnt by a slow but intense fire after he had been killed, that there was no evidence that his body had been on fire whilst he was alive and that fire had taken place once the body was laid down.


The broken ankle was caused while Dr Ouko was still alive, not by the heat of the fire, probably by a heavy fall or blow.


Dr West also found bruising on Dr Ouko’s right upper arm which was ‘consistent with a blow at the time of death or shortly before.’ 


The bullet wound was also not in a position that would have been usual if death had been the result of suicide and that the damage to Dr Ouko’s skull was more severe than would be expected if it had been caused by standard .38 special round, i.e., by Dr Ouko’s own gun.


Dr Ouko would have lost consciousness and all muscular activity immediately he was shot.


The shot to Dr Ouko’s head had of course resulted in severe blood loss but West noted that the blood flow across his face (as witnessed by photographs taken at the scene) suggested that the head had been moved after the fatal injury had occurred within six hours of death.


Dr West concluded that the injuries suffered by Dr Ouko were not consistent with suicide but rather he had been shot by someone else after breaking his right leg and the body had subsequently been set on fire.


Finally, West concluded, Dr Ouko’s ‘death should be investigated as one of homicide’. He had been murdered.


As the days and weeks of the Scotland Yard investigation went on further detailed examination of the murder scene and examination of the physical evidence was undertaken.


On 22 February, Dr West and Troon visited the site where Dr Ouko’s body had been found. Their search revealed ‘a bullet mark that had removed a small portion of branch from a bush 7 feet north of the body’.


A Detective Sergeant David Sanderson, a specialist in forensic examination of crime scenes from London’s Metropolitan Police Laboratory assisted Dr West with an examination of the trajectory of the bullet and its relation to the position of Dr Ouko at the time he was shot.


Dr West deduced that if the bullet mark had been caused by the fatal shot to Dr Ouko’s head then its trajectory would indicate that he had been shot when standing up. [Troon, Interim, Para 56].


West concluded that if Dr Ouko had been shot whilst he was seated in the position where his head was found then the bullet could have hit the branch nearby but if he had been seated in the same position as where his body was found then the branch would not have been hit. For Dr West this evidence suggested that Dr Ouko’s body had been moved after death.


Together with the evidence of the blood flow on Dr Ouko’s face Troon concluded on the basis of Dr West’s findings that if the bullet mark on the branch had resulted from the fatal shot then the body had been moved by ‘at least two or three feet and within six hours of death’ but that there was ‘no evidence to suggest that Dr Ouko had died at any other venue than the scene’. The injury to his arm and leg however, could have occurred elsewhere.


Despite a search supervised by Detective Sergeant David Sanderson and weeks of searching by Kenyan police officers however, the bullet was never found. Without the bullet there could be no certainty whether the fatal shot had come from Ouko’s own gun or another weapon.


It is important to note that… the correlation of witness testimony from the maid Salina Were and the herdsboy Paul Shikuku (supported by testimony from local villagers) with the post mortem examinations and analysis of photographs taken of the body at the scene, particularly the blood flow on the deceased’s face, and the nature of the evidence that a shot had been fired at the place where the body was found led to an inescapable and critical conclusion: Dr Robert Ouko had been shot at or within a few feet of where his body was found.


Troon’s ‘Interim Report’ and ‘Final Report’ mention that ‘exhibits’ from the case were sent to  the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory in London through British Airways. [Troon Interim Report para 59 & Final report 252]. However, in his book Dr Iain West’s Casebook, Chester Stern claimed that ‘John Troon had helped Dr West to take the skull vault through the airport by persuading the authorities that the usual X-rays might damage vital samples being taken back to England. When it came to the state funeral, an imaginative and innovative mortuary assistant had simply covered the discrepancy by creating a convincing death-mask to attach to the top of the body for the benefit of those wishing to view the body’. [Dr Iain West’s Casebook by Chester Stern pages 98-99]


Aside from the fact that part of Dr Ouko’s skull was arrogantly and improperly removed to London, it leaves the question, is it still there?


The Senior Scientific Officer (Firearms Section), Scotland Yard, Mr Kevin O’Callaghan also reviewed the evidence.


O’Callaghan concluded that there was no evidence of a contact wound (i.e. the shot that killed Dr Ouko was fired from several inches away). He also noted that he was unable to ascertain whether the bullet fragments found in the skull were ‘from a plain bullet or fragments from a jacketed bullet’ but that they were ‘not consistent with any of the four remaining rounds of .38 ammunition’ found in the pocket of Dr Ouko’s leather jacket.


He also concluded that the lead mark found on a tree branch nearby was, in his opinion, a bullet mark and that ‘there strong indications that the cartridge case found in the chamber of the Minister’s weapon had been fired from the exhibit’.


Forensic Scientist Mr Phillip Toates reported to Troon that no blood was found on Ouko’s gun, or on the inside of his Wellington boots suggesting that the latter were not being worn at the time Dr Ouko’s ankle was broken. He was also of the opinion that the shirt and jeans found near the body had been worn since the last time they had been washed which in turn suggested Ouko had changed his clothing on the night he disappeared.


Intriguingly Toates reported that ‘a single Caucasian hair was found loosely associated with a partially burnt handkerchief found at the scene’. The origin of the hair was not known but Troon concluded that ‘it could only come from light skinned or Asian population’ and its presence could have resulted from site contamination.


Mr Andrew James Douglas, a specialist in fire investigations examined the exhibits sent to London and photographs from the post mortem and of the scene where Dr Ouko’s body was found. He confirmed that the jerrycan had contained diesel (with a tiny percentage of cattle dip) and that Dr Ouko was wearing clothes at the time of his death.


Douglas’s opinion was that, ‘Dr Ouko was lying on his back for either all or most of the fire and his clothing and the immediate area surrounding the body was soaked in diesel fuel. Diesel had also been detected in a sample of soil obtained from where the Minister’s jacket was found’. [Troon FR para 260]


He also undertook various tests to see how a fire might have developed. He concluded that from the moment the body, soaked in diesel, was ignited it would have taken perhaps 10 seconds for the flames to reach the face area (depending on atmospheric and weather conditions).


Forensic Scientist Geoffrey Warman Bsc, PhD, examined swabs taken from Dr Ouko’s palms and the .38 spent cartridge case found at the scene. Warmen noted that the swabs taken by the Kenyan police were ‘heavily covered in debris and were not ideal for the process’. However, he conclude that although there was evidence of ‘a very small particle of firearm discharge residue’ found on a sample labelled ‘right palm’, this could have come from handling the spent cartridge or from ‘the frequent handling of a weapon’ and that there was ‘insufficient evidence to support any view that Dr Ouko had recently fired a weapon’. [Troon FR 264-266]


Troon summarised the (later) forensic evidence that it was only possible to say with certainty ‘that the firearm wound was not a contact wound, the particles found inside Dr Ouko’s head are not consistent with the ammunition found at the scene.’ And that, ‘The evidence of the bullet mark on the branch confirms that a firearm had been discharged at the scene. Diesel fuel has been identified as the burning agent and for most of the burning Dr Ouko was lying on his back’. [Troon FR para 267]


He added, ‘There are no indications that the rubber boots found at the scene were recently worn. No blood or fingerprint was found in or around these exhibits’. [Troon FR 269]


The crucial part of Scotland Yard’s forensic evidence was that Dr Ouko had been killed where his body was found, or a few feet from the spot.


This evidence, together with the eye-witness testimony of the herdsboy Paul Shikuku and others, evidence and testimony that has never been disputed, is absolutely central to an understanding (and refutation) of many of the theories that have grown up around the murder of Dr Robert Ouko.


The evidence and testimony in this respect is clear: Dr Ouko was killed on the morning of the 13th February, 1990, and killed at the spot where his body was found.


In the absence of any new evidence to the contrary all other theories have to be set against these facts.


INVESTIGATIONS, INQUIRIES & THEORIES


The murder of Dr Robert Ouko was the subject of investigations by two police forces, a judicial inquiry, two murder trials (both of the same man, Jonah Anguka), a parliamentary commission, libel actions and at least eight published books, including:


  1. Initial investigations by the Kenyan police, February 1990

  2. Investigation by New Scotland Yard, February 21 to June 30, 1990

  3. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry, October 1990 – November 1991

  4. ‘Further Investigations’ by the Kenya Police, 1991

  5. The trials of Jonah Anguka, 1992-94

  6. The Parliamentary Select Committee Investigation 2004/5


THE TEN THEORIES


From these investigations and inquiries arose ten areas of investigation that either had to be investigated (however far-fetched they seemed) or became the bases for believable motives for the murder of Dr. Ouko. The ten theories were based on:


  1. Suicide

  2. General crime

  3. The ‘Washington trip’

  4. The Kisumu Molasses Project and corruption

  5. An ‘Executive order’ killing

  6. An un-attributed allegation against Domenico Airaghi and Marianne Briner-Matten

  7. Local politics and local government corruption

  8. A family row

  9. A domestic dispute

  10. Specific charges against Jonah Anguka


THE THEORIES:


SUICIDE:


Both the Kenya and Scotland Yard police investigations did have to consider the possibility that Dr Ouko had committed suicide, however implausible that would seem, on the basis that a professional empirically-based investigation would have to consider all possibilities, however remote.


Troon’s ‘Final Report’ stated that ‘In the early stages of the investigation there were many who held the view that Dr Ouko had committed suicide, some still maintain that view’ [TFR para 271]. Troon also conceded ‘Dr Ouko’s attitude and demeanour and some of his actions during the last few days of his life may have given some people the impression that he was in a state of mind, which with the benefit of hindsight, is suggestive of suicide’ [TFR para 275].


Even in the ‘Conclusions’ of his ‘Final Report’ Troon stated that even though he thought it highly unlikely, ‘I cannot completely rule out the possibility that Dr Ouko committed suicide’ [TFR para 279].


The Kenyan police ‘Further Investigations’ Report  noted that ‘quite a good number of people including professionals held the view that Dr.Ouko might have committed suicide’ but that, ‘It was possible that that was a mere speculation based on ones impression after looking at the scene’.


Ultimately, however, the conclusions of the Kenyan police as summarised in their ‘Further Investigations’ Report and those of the Scotland Yard team as set out in Troon’s ‘Final Report’, were the same.


The Kenya police stated that Dr Ouko had not committed suicide and that he ‘must have been murdered’ [KPFI p57 8:3 (vi)] and that ‘nobody offered evidence to support that [suicide] theory’ [KPFI 8:3], whilst Troon concluded that ‘the evidence so far obtained in relation to Dr West’s findings, events leading up to his death and motives suggests in all probability Dr Ouko was murdered’.


The Kenyan police noted that Dr Ouko’s gumboots were ‘placed neatly on top of each other’ which would seem odd for someone intending to commit suicide. They noted too that his revolver appeared to have been placed near the body by another individual; that four rounds of ammunition were found in his pocket not in the chamber of his revolver, again an odd thing to have done if he had committed suicide; and that his fingerprints were not on the gun found at the scene (although… rough wood handle…). The entry and exit point for the shot to his head also ‘indicated that the gun had been fired by another person’ [KPFI page 55, 8:3 (ii)]. These observations, together with the presence of Dr Ouko’s clothes at the scene and the manner in which they were laid led the Kenya police to conclude that ‘After taking the above points into consideration, we see nothing in favour of suicide. We therefore exclude suicide from our findings. We concur with experts that Dr. Ouko must have been murdered’ [KPFI page 57, 8:3 (vi)].


Troon too ruled out on the grounds that there was no evidence of sufficient cause, whether it was the ‘longstanding dispute between the brothers’ or the alleged dispute on the Washington trip. Troon also considered highly unlikely that Dr Ouko ‘would venture by foot 2.8km over rocky terrain in the dark carrying five litres of fluid in a can, a torch, spare clothing and a walking stick before finally burning and shooting himself’ [TFR para 276].


To an extent the idea that the suicide theory for Dr Ouko’s death was [pushed] has reached near mythical proportions. There is no doubt that local police officials and even Dr Kaviti maintained the theory as a possibility for some time but there is little or no evidence of a concerted attempt among higher authorities to do so.


As has been noted, the police, be they Kenyan or British, had to consider suicide as a theory. Both rejected the idea and if anything the Kenyan police ‘Further Investigations’ Report did so more emphatically than the Troon ‘Final Report’.


Similarly, statements made by President Moi and others at the time of Dr Ouko’s death, including Professor Saitoti, were clear that they regarded it as an act of ‘murder’ or ‘foul play’. The Nation newspaper’s front page on the 17th February carried statements and headlines to this effect from Moi and Saitoti.


GENERAL CRIME:


Just as the police forces investigating Dr Ouko’s murder had to consider suicide as a cause they also had to rule in or out whether his death had arisen as a result of some ‘general crime’, a robbery that had gone wrong for example.


The fact that nothing appeared to have been stolen from Dr Ouko’s house, that his jacket found at the murder site still contained 400 shillings in cash [check amount] and that his revolver was also found at the scene, the Kenyan police concluded that ‘in the general commission of crime, these could not have been left behind. For this reason, we do not believe that a general crime could have been the motive for the murder of Dr. Ouko’ [KPFI page 57, 8:4].




TROON’S THEORIES:


For the first five or six weeks of his investigations, Scotland Yard’s Detective Superintendent John Troon was confronted with witness testimony that directed him toward a long-running and often vitriolic row in Dr Ouko's family, allegations of a vicious local political campaign going back to before the 1988 election, and allegations of corruption in the Kisumu Town Council, as possible motives for Dr Ouko’s murder.


Dorothy Randiak, Dr Ouko’s sister, made three statements to Troon, on March 2, 27 and April 11, the first two of which were entirely about the family row and its possible link with local politics, and his involvement with another woman.


Mrs Christabel Ouko, Dr Ouko's wife, made four statements to Troon on March 2 and 13 and April 5 and 8. Her second statement (March 13) was a purely administrative (but highly significant) action recording the handing of her passport and that of her late husband, to Troon. The first and third statements, however, were also entirely about the family row and her husband’s private life.


Troon’s 'Interim Report' submitted in July however, points to a major shift in his investigation some time in the middle of March, 1990.


In paragraphs 101 and 102 of the ‘Interim Report’ Troon stated that, 'On Saturday 17 March my colleague Detective Sergeant Lindsay received a telephone call to meet a person in the Imperial Hotel, Kisumu. Lindsay attended the venue and there met a person who identified himself as Professor Thomas A. Ogada, the Kenyan Ambassador to Switzerland', and that, 'Prof. Ogada informed Lindsay that he had been directed by His Excellency the President to hand over to the Scotland Yard Officers a sealed envelope which he had brought with him from Switzerland. In addition to the envelope, Prof. Ogada supplied details of two contacts in relation to the contents, one being Mrs Briner Mattern, the other being her advocate in Kenya Mr Frank Addly of Kaplan and Stratton Advocates, Nairobi.’ [Troon, Interim report, paras 101 & 102]


Perhaps interestingly, no record of President Moi's involvement was made in Troon's 'Final Report' submitted in August, 1990.


Troon's investigation from this time seems to have concentrated on proving motives for Dr Ouko’s murder based on the theories gained that there had been an argument between Dr Ouko and Nicholas Biwott, then Kenya's Minister of Energy, during the trip to Washington following a supposed meeting between Ouko and the U.S. President, George H.W. Bush (although Troon did accept that the "factual basis" for the alleged row on the Washington trip was "somewhat tenuous" ['Final Report', paragraph 142] and based on "hearsay" ['Final Report', paragraph 217]; that Biwott had battled with Ouko to bring about the cancellation of a project to build a molasses plant at Kisumu (in Ouko’s constituency); and that Dr Ouko was preparing a report on high level political corruption in relation to the Kisumu Molasses Project (which by implication named Biwott).


The basis of Troon’s theory about a ‘row’ on the trip to Washington was the testimony of Dr Ouko’s brother, Barrak Mbajah, and the later testimony of his sister Dorothy Randiak (in her third statement made on April 11th) together with her alleged conversations with Troon.


Troon’s theory that the ‘Kisumu Molasses Project’ and a possible ‘Corruption Report’ linked to it, might have provided a motive for murder, was based on a file of allegations handed to Scotland Yard apparently at the direction of President Daniel arap Moi, allegations made by a Domenico Airaghi and to a greater extent a Marianne Briner-Mattern, who said they were directors of BAK International, a company based in Switzerland that had tendered to Ouko when he was Minister for Industry to re-start the Molasses Project in Kisumu.


Troon's took a witness statement from Briner-Mattern on the 22nd March, some five days after his team had received the file from the Kenyan ambassador to Switzerland, as ‘directed by His Excellency’, on the 17th March.



THE WASHINGTON TRIP… BANISHED?


Troon’s first theory as to the motives for Dr Ouko’s murder was that a dispute had occurred on the ‘Washington Trip’, the private presidential visit to the United States of America between the 27th January and 4th February 1990.


In Troon’s ‘Final Report’ he surmised that, ‘Throughout the enquiry strong indications have been given of some form of serious disagreement between Dr Ouko and Mr Biwott during the Washington Trip. Whilst factual allegation is somewhat tenuous, there is on the other hand, strong evidence from many witnesses, including family, of Dr Ouko’s concern, worry and pensive attitude directly on his return from Washington’ [TFR para 142].


Troon also gave the source of the allegations as not just Dr Ouko’s brother and sister. He stated, ‘ The allegations are hearsay and have come mainly from Barrak Mbajah [Dr Ouko’s brother] and Mrs Randiak [Dr Ouko’s sister] during the course of conversations with two independent officials, one of which was present on the visit’ [TFR para 217].


The ‘independent officials’ Troon was referring to were Bethuel Kiplagat and Mr Oddenyo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Troon added that the allegations was supported ‘by alleged conversations Dr Ouko had with his sister Dorothy [Randiak] and his solicitor Mr Oraro’ [TFR para 217].


Troon reiterated later in his report that, ‘There is tenuous evidence both factual and circumstantial that some form of dispute or disagreement took place in Washington’ [TFR para 274].


The testimony that gave rise to the ‘Washington Trip’ allegations were made by Eston Barrack Mbajah and Dorothy Randiak on the basis of their recollections of conversations they said they had with Bethuel Kiplagat and Malaki Oddenyo, respectively Permanent Secretary and Director of Information in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Dr Ouko’s Ministry).


Barrack Mbajah made a lengthy witness statement on 31 March 1990. In July 1991 he fled to the United States just before he was due to give evidence to the Judicial Inquiry and subsequently released an affidavit 23rd September 1991.


In his witness statement of 31 March Barrack Mbajah claimed that just before Dr Ouko’s funeral President Moi, Hezekiah Oyugi and Malacki Oddenyo, called at Ouko’s Loresho home in Nairobi. Mbajah alleged that Oddenyo told him that during the Washington trip ‘the US President, Mr Bush, did not want to meet President Moi because the nature of the Kenya Delegation was not a state visit’. Barrack also stated that at some stage Dr Ouko did appear on US television at a press conference.


He then alleged that Oddenyo told him that ‘Dr Ouko did have a private meeting with President Bush with the knowledge of President Moi. This action apparently so infuriated Mr Biwott that there had been exchanges between the two ministers, which on their return to Kenya caused Dr Ouko to have a meeting with President Moi, the latter giving Dr Ouko some time off to rest’ [TFR paras 78-80].


In his affidavit of 23rd September 1991 Dr Ouko’s brother Barrack further alleged that on his return from America Dr Ouko was suspended as a Minister by Moi, his security removed, his passport had been taken from him and he had been banished to his Koru farm.


BARRACK’S NOTE


Barrack Mbajah went so far in his affidavit as to name those he alleged had collected Dr Ouko from Koru on the morning or 13th February, 1990 and then, presumably, murdered him.


“The house girl, who is related to, known as Selina, had given me a small note written by my late brother which he left for her to give me personally. In this note my brother informed me that he had been called by Mr Oyugi and told that Oyugi would help him escape from Kenya because the President was not ready to forgive him. My late brother told me he was suspicious in the manner that these people wanted him to leave the house. The people who went to collect him were Jonah Anguka, District Commissioner of Nakuru, George Oraro, Advocate, and Paul Gondi a banker assisted by Eric Onyango [who..]. They collected my brother in the morning of 13 February 1990 with instructions that they were going to hand him over to Oyugi who was waiting for him and Minister Biwott”.


Barrack Mbajah added, “It is also Oyugi’s responsibility as the one in charge of the Kenya Internal Security to state where they withdrew all the security officers guarding my late brother on the day before he was collected from the house and taken to the murder chambers”.


So Barrack Mbajah’s allegations were that whilst on the ‘Prayer breakfast’ trip to Washington in late January, early February 1990, Dr Ouko had met with President Bush when President Moi had been denied a meeting; that Ouko had discussed corruption in Kenya with US officials; and that he had in effect outshone Moi at a press conference. These incidents, according to Barrack Mbaja, so infuriated Biwott that it led to a row between him and Ouko.


Dorothy Randiak, Dr Ouko’s sister, made three statements on 2 March, 27 March and 11 April 1990.


It is of interest that in his ‘Final Report’ Troon says Dorothy Randiak only made two statements [Troon FR para 90] and the basis for her allegations to Troon also seems to be conversations Troon said he had with her that were not recorded in the three written statements.


At paragraph 91 of his ‘Final Report’ Troon reports that Dorothy Randiak maintained that during a conversation with Dr Ouko on 6 February, when he visited her at work, he told her of the USA visit and mentioned that the corruption allegation and the US press interviews would kill him’.


At paragraph 97 Troon went on to say, ‘She also alleges that at a meeting with Mr Kiplagat the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, after the Minister’s death, but before the funeral, the latter said that since the Washington trip Dr Ouko had “looked very disturbed” and when “Dr Ouko had taken the Canadian Ambassador to State House he was very uneasy and left early”. Mr Kiplagat further said that Dr Ouko was very uneasy which was unusual, and that at the same meeting Mr Kiplagat had told her that there was a serious disagreement on the Washington Trip between Dr Ouko and Mr Biwott and that all was not well between the two’.


For Troon the alleged row on the ‘Washington Trip’ raised by the testimonies of Barrack Mbaja and Dorothy Randiak, although he accepted they were based on ‘somewhat tenuous’ facts and ‘hearsay’, provided sufficient motive for murder.


THE ‘WASHINGTON TRIP’ THEORY FALLS


Troon’s ‘Washington Trip’ theory and particularly Barrack Mbajah’s later embellishment that Dr Ouko had been sacked and banished by President Moi, has for 21 years or more provided one of the mainstays of the ‘Executive order’ theory that Ouko was murdered on orders made by high level government figures. The ‘Washington Trip – Executive Order’ theory makes for intriguing and beguiling reading and over the last 21 years the story has grown in the telling – who was there at the murder scene, where it happened and who pulled the trigger – a story that has been repeated in parliament, books, on websites and particularly in the nation’s newspapers time and again almost without challenge.


The problem with the Washington Trip – Executive Order theory is that when the facts are considered, most of which have been publicly available for 20 years, the theory collapses. There was indeed only ‘hearsay’ testimony to support it based on ‘tenuous’ facts. The evidence is all against it.


The theory is based in the first instance on what Barrack Mbajah says Malacki Oddenyo said to him when they met at Dr Ouko’s Loresho home during the period of mourning prior to the funeral. It was thus a theory partly based on an alleged conversation between a man who was not on the ‘Washington Trip’, Barrack Mbajah, with a man who was also not on the trip, Malacki Oddenyo. And, Oddenyo denied the substance of the conversation.


At paragraph 82 of his ‘Final Report’, Troon stated that, ‘The alleged conversation has been put to Mr Oddenyo at interview on 14th May 1990. Mr Oddenyo admits visiting the Loresho home between the finding of the Minister’s body, and the funeral, as part of the funeral committee. He states he did converse with Barrack Mbajah on these visits but denies that he discussed the Washington trip or the relationship between Dr Ouko and Mr Biwott’.


Troon took the view that Barrack Mbajah’s testimony supported that of Dorothy Randiak’s later, mainly verbal testimony, gave sufficient to give the theory substance but it does so only in part.


In her first two written statements (made on the 2nd and 27th of March, 1990) Dorothy Randiak did not mention the trip to Washington. Her first two statements were entirely about a row in Dr Ouko’s family, particularly regarding a long-running dispute with his brother Barrack.


In her first two statements Randiak did refer to meetings with her brother Robert on February 6th and 9th but stated that their conversations revolved around his concerns at his brother’s actions at the first meeting and accident he had been involved at the second meeting.


It was only during Dorothy Randiak’s third witness statement made on 11th April that she mentioned the Washington trip. In that statement she said, “On the 6 February 1990 when he came to see me at the College it was around 12 o’clock. I asked him if he could have lunch, he said he did not have an appetite for lunch, he looked worried and not cheerful as he used to be. I asked him about his trip to the US he said it was good, he said our President was invited to address the Prayer Breakfast and he said there was a lot of business and Government people, he said the President talked to them about the word of God, he actually preached the Bible, people appeared to be very happy. Robert told me that our President totally converted the minds of people who thought that Anti Christ was being preached in Kenya.’ [DR statement, 11 April, 1990].


It was only at this point, some 50 days after the Scotland Yard investigations had begun, on the penultimate page of her third witness statement that Dorothy Randiak, on being asked, referred in any way to the Washington trip ‘row’.  At this point she stated, ‘I commended Robert for the Press Conference he held in the US and I also drew notice to letters of commendation which had been written by Kenyans about the conference. He made the following comment in Luo language, “MAGI EGIK MANEGA” which translated to English means “THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT WILL KILL ME”. He was referring to the Press Conference in America and the number of letters he had received in the media.’


Troon also failed to point out that Dorothy Randiak’s alleged assertion that she spoke with Bethuel Kiplagat and that they had a conversation that supported the row theory, does not appear in any of Randiak’s three written statements. And again, the supposed source, Kiplagat, denied the substance of the conversation [TFR para 98].


Bethuel Kiplagat gave a very different account of the Washington trip (that he had been on) to that reported by Dorothy Randiak.


In Kiplagat’s witness statement made to Troon on 11th May 1990, he stated that ‘I did not see Mrs Ouko but I did see his sister Dorothy. I had a general conversation with her but I did not mention to her that Dr Ouko was worried or concerned about anything.’ [Bethuel Kiplagat Witness Statement]


As to a meeting with President Bush and any row on the Washington trip, Kiplagat had this to say: ‘There was one press conference held in Washington on the day of our departure. This conference was given by Dr Ouko and I and other members of the delegation were present but not all… There was no formal meeting of the delegation as to who should appear on the press conference but our PR people in the US advised us that this should be Dr Ouko. As far as I am aware there was no member of the delegation who objected to Dr Ouko giving the press conference… I can say that Dr Ouko did not meet any other US Government official privately or officially. All the time I was with Dr Ouko, I never found anything unusual in his character or behaviour in the USA or his return. He was contented and happy and said how pleased he was that the visit turned out well. As far as I could see and understand there was no friction or misunderstanding between Dr Ouko or any other member of the delegation in the USA.  His relationship with Mr Biwott was normal and there was no interference and they supported one another…’


Kiplagat added, ‘The last time I saw Dr Ouko was on Monday the 5th of February when we met at State House with the President and the Canadian Ambassador and Dr Ouko was his usual self and did not appear worried’.  [Behuel Kiplagat Statement 11 May 1990].


Troon obviously accepted the word of Barrack Mbajah and Dorothy Randiak and not that of Bethuel Kiplagat (not that he remembered even interviewing Kiplagat) and conspiracy theorists have done like wise ever since. The “he would say that” sentiment has led people, including Troon, to all but dismiss Kiplagat’s testimony but he was only one of many who testified along the same lines.


‘Mr Onyango had known the Minister for some 25 years and was also very close friend of the family’, according to Troon (para 134). He visited Dr Ouko at his Koru farm on Saturday 10th February, some three days before he was murdered. Troon recorded that when Onyango and Ouko met that day they had a ‘general discussion’ and that, ‘They spoke about the Washington Trip which according to Mr Onyango, Dr Ouko had said went well with President Moi gaining popularity’.


Moses Njuguna Mahuga was the Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a member of the delegation that flew to Washington said that ‘Dr. Ouko seemed his normal self throughout and gave no visible indication that he was worried or concerned about anything’. In a witness statement on 24 May, 1990, he stated:


‘I travelled from London to Washington by concorde and accompanied the President and a number of ministers including Dr Robert Ouko, Mr Oyugi and Mr Biwott. During this visit which was a Prayer Breakfast and therefore looked upon as private visit, I accompanied the President throughout the programme. The late Dr Ouko was also accompanying His Excellency. To my knowledge I am not aware that Dr Ouko met politicians or congressmen in his official capacity. The only time I am aware that he would have come into contact with such persons would be when we met collectively at various functions’.


Mr. Baker, the U.S. Secretary of State met the President at our hotel and Dr. Ouko was also present and other cabinet ministers including Mr. Biwott, President Bush and President Moi met with other Heads of State only. I am not aware of any incident of friction or disagreement between any member of the delegation throughout the trip to Washington. The return trip to Kenya was without incident. Dr. Ouko travelled on concorde to London with the President and then by Kenya Airways to Nairobi. On arrival in Nairobi Dr. Ouko seemed his normal self and had travelled in his normal position on the aircraft which is a double seat next to the President’s double seat. Dr. Ouko would be seated next to Mr. Biwott… the President and Dr. Ouko were in conversation in the normal manner. In fact, on arrival at Nairobi, Dr. Ouko passed a note to me for Mr. Kiplagat indicating that His Excellency wished to see the Canadian High Commissioner the following morning at State House at 9am. On that morning, Dr. Ouko was also present. That is the last time I saw the late minister. As Chief of Protocol, it was my own responsibility to plan the programme for the trip to Washington. Should there have been any open incident which had occurred during this visit, I am sure that I would have some knowledge of it’. [114 Witness statement Moses Njuguna Mahugu]


Kenya’s Ambassador to the United States at the time of the ‘Washington Trip’, Mr. Denis D. Afande, C.B.S., was moved some eight years later (30 October, 1998) to issue a lengthy statement in the ‘hope that those who read it will ignore some of the malicious rumours which have appeared in the media, books and other publications on the death of the late Minister for Foreign Affairs and attempting to connect it with the [Washington] visit’.


In his statement… he stated that Dr Ouko and Nicholas Biwott had travelled together in the  official car ‘to all common destinations of events of the programme for the visit’, and that, ‘As I had the opportunity of being with them, I can verify that they were both very happy and enjoyed travelling together. I did not see any incident of “bad blood” between them as has been alleged”. [119 letter to Mr Kathuirima from Denis Afande, 30 October, 1998].


Denis Afande said he was present at ‘all meetings which H.E. the President held with some U.S. Congressmen, the Secretary of State, James Baker, The Assistant Secretary for Africa, Howard Cohen and other groups… I also attended the meetings which the Minister of Foreign Affairs the late Dr Robert Ouko held at the [Willard Intercontinental] hotel’, and, ‘I was also present during most of the briefings by the Minister [Ouko] to His Excellency the President on those he (the Minister) met. H.E the President was happy with the discussions the Minister was holding and expressed his appreciation to that effect’.


Significantly, Denis Afande declared, ‘Having been involved in making the appointments for the meetings the late Dr Ouko attended, I am not aware of any meetings he held with other U.S. Government officials not indicated in the programme’, and, ‘I am surprised to hear rumours that there was a secret meeting between President Bush and the late Minister. There was no meeting between the two’ [our underlining]. 


The Kenya police ‘Further Investigations’ Report stated that, ‘The security officials and other Government officials who were with the Kenyan delegation were interviewed and all denied any knowledge of the alleged quarrel or conflict between Hon. Biwott and Dr. Ouko’, and concluded that, ‘There is no evidence to confirm that Dr. Ouko while in Washington met President Bush, an action which is alleged to have infuriated Hon. Biwott and caused the conflict’. [KPFI p43, 7:4 (ii)]


So the testimony of those on the ‘Washington Trip’, the view of the Kenya police, and even it seems the words of Dr Ouko at the time strongly suggest that there was no ‘row’ and that the alleged cause of the ‘row’, a meeting between Dr Ouko and President Bush, did not take place. But was there any independent evidence to back this up? The answer is yes there was and the evidence for it seems to be reliably based.


In 2003 President Bush’s diary from the relevant period, giving a minute-by-minute account of Bush’s activities and meetings, was made public by the Bush Presidential Library at the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The Library, which is U.S. Government funded and administered, keeps documentary and photographic archives of President Bush’s period in office.


The entries for the three days that the Kenyan delegation was in Washington make no mention of any private meeting between President Bush, Dr Ouko, or President Moi. [120]


The archivist at the Bush Library, Warren Finch, searched the library’s files and stated that there were no photographs of Bush meeting Ouko.


And 31 August 2000, President Bush’s lawyer (Andrew & Kurth LLP) confirmed that ‘Mr Finch’s statement and the accompanying archival materials… constitute the most accurate record of the events described’. [121]


It would appear that the alleged meeting during the ‘Washington Trip’ between Dr. Robert Ouko and President George Bush never took place.


For the sake of investigating the ‘row – sacked – banished’ theory however, let us look for any evidence that might support or undermine it from the time Dr Ouko returns to Nairobi.


The theory ran that Dr Ouko had been sacked, not flown back on the same flight as the rest of the delegation, had his passport removed when he did get back to Jomo Kenyatta Airport, was sacked by President Moi and banished to his Koru farm, and had his official body bodyguard and driver removed.


Eston Barrack Mbajah, Dr Ouko’s brother, stated in his affidavit or 13 September, 1991 that’ ‘I was informed by my late brother that, after arriving from America, my brother’s passport was seized at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by security officials’. [110]


The evidence to destroy this theory is if anything even more solid than those that undermine the ‘meeting with Bush led to row’ theory.


One of the most conclusive pieces of proof that is and has been readily available for 21 years, and should have been used by investigating authorities and the media to discredit the ‘banished theory’ is the photographic evidence that proves he landed with Moi and the delegation on 4th February, 1990.


The departure and return of Moi’s delegation to Washington were public and newsworthy events. Not only were hundreds of people at Jomo Kenyatta Airport there to see the delegation depart and return, so were the mass media in Kenya at the time.


Photographs available in archives in Nairobi, dated 4th February 1990, clearly show President Moi coming off the Kenya Airways flight, meeting assembled dignitaries and crowd, walking amongst the crowd and being welcomed by dancers.


A few steps behind Moi, in clear view, is the figure of Dr. Robert Ouko. There are photographs too of Moi and Ouko together greeting the people and walking among the crowd. Ouko was on that flight.


The evidence is also overwhelming that Dr Ouko continued to act in his official capacity after returning from the ‘Washington Trip’, continued to give instructions to his staff and was planning to fly to the Gambia in his official capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs on the 14th February.


On Monday 5th February, the day after returning from Washington, Dr Ouko was at State House at a meeting between President Moi and the Canadian Ambassador. [1, TFR para 9, 97 and 220]


Later that day Ouko travelled to Koru, driven by his official driver Joseph Yogo Otieno and accompanied by his bodyguard Gordon Ondu.


On Thursday 8 February at 8.30am Ouko telephoned his Permanent Secretary, Bethuel Kiplagat, to cancel a press conference due for that evening. [1 TFR para 14]


On the same day at about 11am, Dr Ouko gave instructions to his bodyguard Gordon Ondu to take time off and report back to him on 12th February. [1 TFR para 16]


On Saturday 10 February 1990, Dr Ouko opened the first Inter-Country Conference of Rotary District 920 in Kisumu. [1 TFR para 17 and 112 photo of DRO plus article at event]


On Monday 12th February Dr Ouko called Mr Susan Ngeso Anguka, his Personal Assistant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and told her he would be back in the office on the following morning. [1 para 21]


At about 4pm on the 12th February Dr Ouko called his bodyguard Gordon Ondu and told him to be at the Bata Shoe Shop in Kisumu at 8am the next morning (February 13th) and that they would then proceed to Kisumu Airport to board the morning flight to Nairobi. [1 TFR para 22]


Throughout the entire period from Ouko return from Washington until the day before his was killed, his wife Mrs Christabel Ouko continued to use his official driver, Joseph Yogo Otieno. [TFR para 108] 


The evidence of Dr Ouko’s Chief of Protocol, Moses Njuguna Mahuga, was that he was expecting Dr Ouko to travel to the Gambia on 14th February to represent President Moi at the 25th anniversary of Gambia’s independence. Ouko was booked on flight KQ 164 and government officials were waiting for him to arrive at Nairobi airport for the flight.


As for Dr Ouko’s passport, which according to his brother Barrack over a year later, had been confiscated on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta Airport on 4th February, 1990, there is all but conclusive evidence that no such event took place.


On 13th March, 1990, Mrs Christabel Ouko signed the following short statement to Superintendent John Troon of Scotland Yard. ‘I would wish to state further to the statement that I have given to Superintendent John Troon that today on the request of the C.I.D Nairobi I have handed over my passport No D0002818 and that of my late husband passport No D002700’. [Christabel Ouko’s statement, 13 March 1990]


If Dr Ouko’s passport had been ‘seized’ how did Mrs Ouko happen to have it to hand to Troon? And if it had been seized, why did Mrs Ouko never mention it in any of her testimony?


So Dr Ouko wasn’t sacked, his passport was not removed, he was not banished and his bodyguard and driver were not ‘removed’.


That Dr Ouko was planning to fly to Gambia as Kenya’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, there can be little or no doubt. Ouko told the same to his ministry staff, his bodyguard, his wife, his daughter Lillian, his sister Dorothy, and, if they are to believed, Marianne Briner Mattern and Hezekiah Oyugi. And the alert that Dr Ouko was missing was raised because he did not turn up, as he was expected to do, at Nairobi Airport on 14th February to board Kenya Airways flight KQ 164 to The Gambia.


Of course Barrack Mbajah’s testimony, and Troon’s theory from which it arose, was that there was not just a row in Washington between Biwott and Ouko over a meeting the latter was alleged to have had with President Bush but that it was sufficiently vehement for it to be a motive for murder. But there is also substantial evidence that Nicholas Biwott and Dr Ouko, far from being at each others throats were at least working together amicably.


Biwott and Ouko shared a car together in Washington and London. They stayed on the same floor in the same hotel together in Washington and London. And as we have seen they seem to have been on the same flight together, a fact further confirmed by the release in 2003 of the seating plan British Airways Flight BA 189 (Concorde) for Monday 29 January, 1990. [115, 116, 117]


There is also evidence in Dr Ouko’s own handwriting relating to an offer of employment for his son Ken that goes against the Biwott-Ouko row theory.


Dr Ouko’s diary entry for 2nd February 1990 (so when he would have been on the way back from Washington), reads, ‘Hon. Biwott told me Ken is to be recruited to the Ministry of Energy, even as a student’. A witness, James K’Oyoo, who was in all other respects very much an adverse witness as far as Biwott was concerned, confirmed that the entry was in Dr Ouko’s own hand [118]. It seems unlikely that Biwott, then the Minister for Energy, would have offered Dr Ouko’s son a job if his was a deadly enemy of his father at the time.


But if the ‘Washington Trip’ was not the scene of a ‘row’ what would account for Troon’s assertions that Dr Ouko was ‘pensive’ and worried on his return?


In so much that there is testimony and evidence that something was deeply concerning Dr Ouko at this time there appear to be several other well attested reasons as to possible causes, as we shall see.


And even Troon was eventually to admit that the basis for the ‘Washington Trip’ allegation, Dr Ouko’s Brother Barrack Mbajah, was not necessarily ‘a witness of truth’.


BARRACK & THE NOTE


Barrack Mbajah’s claim that Dr. Ouko had left a note with the maid Salina Were to be passed to his brother naming those who were abducting him and who they were going to take him to seems odd in the extreme.


Barrack, in a lengthy 30 page written testimony to Scotland Yard on 31 March 1990, made no mention of the note. Nor it seems did he mention it to the Kenya police. He made the claim regarding the note in his affidavit 20 months after the murder. And the note was never produced or found.


As we shall see there was without question a serious long-running dispute between Barrack and his brother Robert that lasted until the time of the latter’s murder. Such was the nature of the disagreement that it seems highly unlikely Dr. Ouko, in his time of greatest trouble, would have left a note for Barrack rather than, say, for his wife.


It would also seem unlikely that with a team of abductors at hand Dr. Ouko would have had time, or indeed have been given time, to return to his house to leave a note. It would be equally unlikely that the abductors would tell him to whom he was to be taken.


Critically, Salina Were denied ever having received such a note from Dr. Ouko.


As we have seen, Barrack Mbajah’s claim in his affidavit that Dr. Ouko had been sacked and banished after the return from Washington and his passport taken away, has been proved to be false. Equally, his claim that all was well between him and his brother was at odds with the testimony of many witnesses, not least that of his own wife (but also of Mrs Ouko, Dorothy Randiak and several others). Esther Molly Mbajah, Barrack’s wife, stated in her written testimony that ‘Up until the time of Robert’s death the relationship between Robert and Barrak remained the same, they had not settled their differences’. [112, statement by Esther Molly Mbajah, 29 March 1990]


Even Troon, who had originally regarded Barrack Mbajah as a truthful witness, had to agree that this was not so. During the Judicial Inquiry Troon was finally forced to admit, having been asked by Mr Justice Gicheru, “is your position that there was no truth in what Barrack Mbajah told you?” [that the brothers had resolved their differences amicably] Troon replied, “It would appear so since there is a conflict between Barrack and several other persons”.


Troon had admitted that Barrack Mbajah had been lying.


TROON’s SECOND THEORY


THE ‘KISUMU MOLASSES PROJECT’ AND THE ‘CORRUPTION REPORT’


Troon’s second theory that he came to believe was that there had been a dispute between Robert Ouko and Nicholas Biwott over the cancellation of a project to build a Molasses plant at Kisumu in Dr Ouko’s constituency; that Biwott and others, through an intermediary, had sort to extract ‘kickbacks’ from the project; and that Dr Ouko, at the time of his murder, was writing a ‘corruption report’ to go to President Moi exposing the scandal. It could have been in an attempt to stop this exposure, according to Troon, that Dr Ouko was murdered.


The basis for this Troon theory were allegations of corruption made by a Mr Domenic Airaghi and a Ms Marianne Briner-Mattern, directors of BAK International, a company based in Switzerland that had tendered to Dr Ouko when he was Minister for Industry to re-start the ‘Molasses Project’. [1 TFR]


It is again important to note at this stage that Troon’s ‘Molasses Project-Corruption Report’ theory was based almost entirely on the allegations of Airaghi and Briner-Mattern (the ‘BAK Directors’) and documents produced by them.


During the Judicial Inquiry, on November 18th 1991, Troon was pressed by Mr Bernard Chunga to give the basis for his theory. “But by and large, your principal witnesses on the allegations of corruption would be the BAK Directors?” he finally asked Troon, who replied “Yes they are, my Lords”. [2 Judicial Inquiry Transcript, 18 Nov 1991, pages 24-25]


Domenic Airaghi’s and Marianne Briner-Mattern’s alleged that intermediaries on behalf of the Hon. Nicholas Biwott (for himself and for President Moi), the Hon. Prof. George Saitoti, the Hon. Elijah Mwangale and Mr Abraham Kiptanui, asked for bribes in order to facilitate the ‘progress’ of the Molasses Project; that Nicholas Biwott favoured a rival tender for the project from whom he hoped to get a “kickback”; and that when these bribes were not paid, Nicholas Biwott stood in the way of the Project and had Domenico Airaghi expelled from Kenya.


Troon concluded that when, approximately two years after the material events Robert Ouko determined to write a report to President Moi to inform him of these facts based substantially on the ‘evidence’ provided by Marianne Briner-Matter, Nicholas Biwott learned of this fact. This, according to Troon, provided the motive for murder.


Later, it was alleged, Nicholas Biwott tried to replace the ‘BAK Group’ with his own nominated Canadian firm who conducted the study and, it is to be inferred, paid the Nicholas Biwott bribes. This variation on the allegation was made by a James K’Oyoo.


THE KISUMU MOLASSES PROJECT


Originally proposed in 1977 by the Madhvani Group as a joint venture with the Kenyan government to create jobs and generate revenue in a poor area, the Molasses Project looked to build a plant near Kisumu to produce alcohol and other products from raw molasses. Work on the project began in 1981 but by 1983 the Kenyan Chemical and Food Corporation, the government’s special purpose vehicle set up to partner the Madhvani Group was insolvent and the Kenyan government was forced to stand by loan guarantees made. By then the cost of the project had reached $119 million against the original total project projected cost of $61.4 million.


Over the next four years various proposals were put forward to revive the project but all required funding from the Kenyan government which had adopted the firm policy that no funds were to be made available and any future revival of the project would have to obtain external financial support.


In 1986 President Moi at a rally in the Moi Stadium, Kisumu, that the Kisumu ‘Molasses Project’ was going to be revived and Dr Ouko, in whose constituency the plant was sited, would be placed in charge of its revival. [13, third witness statement of John Erik Reru]


In 1987 Ouko was appointed Minister of Industry, the Ministry that would take the lead role in managing the plants revival. Troon stated that ‘Dr Ouko was primarily concerned in the revitalisation of the project for two reasons. 1. The enhancement of his political career and 2. The increase of approximately 2000 in employment for an area with very high unemployment figures’. [1 TFR para 147]


Under Dr Ouko’s leadership the Kisumu Molasses Project moved on apace.


ENTER DOMENICO AIRAGHI, MARIANNE BRINER-MATTERN AND ‘THE BAK GROUP’


In early June 1987 Dr Robert Ouko was introduced in Nairobi to a Domenico Airaghi who told him that he was a director of ‘BAK Group’ a company that acted as consultants for private and government projects in Africa. It would seem that the two men discussed the Molasses Project resulting in Dr Ouko asking Airaghi to provide a list of “suitable international companies to carry out the required work at the Molasses plant in Kisumu”.


On 11th June 1987 Airaghi met with Dr Robert Ouko at his office and three days later, together with District Commissioner Mr Ali Sheike visited the Molasses project.


On 29th July 1987Airaghi and Ouko met again, this time with the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Industry, Prof. Gacii, Dr Dangami, Director Ministry of Industry and Mr King representing the Attorney General. By the end of the meeting Airaghi had agreed to search for the funding for the Molasses Project, find a reputable international contractor to undertake its completion, and obtain a grant from the Italian Government to fund a study into the status of the plant and assess what needed to be done to complete it.


On 6th August 1987 in a ‘Letter of Intent’ to Domenico Airaghi, Dr Ouko authorised the BAK group, an Italian company, to look for and obtain funding for the project and to nominate companies to undertake its completion. [25]


On 23rd September, 1987, an Inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Dr Ouko agreed to issue a letter of intent to BAK and that “the Italian Company has offered to complete the project and has undertaken to mobilize funds for this purpose.”


On the 3rd November, 1987, the Kenyan Cabinet accepted the recommendation of a sub-committee chaired by Dr Ouko and agreed that the BAK group should complete the Kisumu Molasses complex and BAK’s nominated company Technit be awarded a contract for the study and rehabilitation of the Molasses Project.


It is important to note that the Cabinet meeting of the 3rd November, 1987, having made the final decision to award contracts to BAK and Technit, assigned specific duties to the Ministries of Industry (Ouko), Finance (Saitoti) and the Attorney General. The Cabinet did not assign any further duties in the project to the Ministry of Energy, Planning and Agriculture, Nicholas Biwott in this project. In November 1987 his formal role in the Molasses project effectively came to an end.


Bilateral talks took place in Italy on the 5th and 6th of November attended by Kenya’s Minister of Finance, George Saitoti. The minutes of these talks and the list of delegates show that Biwott did not attend.


On the 15th December, 1987, a letter from the Minister for Industry to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Finance confirmed that Dr Ouko, in the presence of Domenico Airaghi, BAK’s Managing Director, had countersigned an offer from Techint regarding a study of the agro-chemical complex at Kisumu for which a grant of US $ 1M was to be made available by the Italian Government, and the contract for the rehabilitation and completion of the agro-chemical complex at Kisumu for an indicative figure of 25M ECU in respect of which the Italian Government had expressed an interest in providing a soft loan.


The Kisumu Molasses Project seemed set well on course and it would not have escaped the notice of many local people that in February 1988 workers appeared at the site and began to clear the drains, water pump site and mend the factory’s fence. Earlier that month a bank account was opened in the Kenya Commercial Bank, Kisumu, by Domenico Airaghi with the intention to pay workers in Kisumu to clear up the Molasses plant site. At the same time BAK took possession of the Molasses Plant site, employed workers to clear the site and announced that the rehabilitation process had commenced.


Dr Ouko was without question keen that the Kisumu Molasses Project should be revived to bring much needed employment for his constituents and revenue into the area but he was also a politician facing an election in two months time and he was by no means unaware of the electoral benefit to him personally of the announcement of the revival of the Molasses project, the employment of up to 2,000 local people and the prospect of yet more employment to come, would have. And he was not just facing an election with a guaranteed result, he was facing an election in which his victory was by no means certain and against stiff, even vicious, opposition.


In the event, Dr. Ouko was re-elected but the margin of victory was tight, a majority of little more than 2,000 votes.


THE COLLAPSE OF THE KISUMU MOLASSES PROJECT 1988-1991


The Kenyan Cabinet had awarded the contract for carrying out the study and rehabilitation of the project to Techint and not to BAK.  According to this contract the study was to establish the viability of the project before any rehabilitation work could begin. Neither BAK nor Techint had procured a grant from the Italian Government to finance the feasibility study and Techint had not come to the site to commence the feasibility study.


A letter dated 9th February, 1988, from Techint to the Minister for Industry, Dr Ouko, Techint stated that it had been informed by the Italian Government that the procedure to obtain a grant to finance the study would take several months and that therefore due to the urgency of the project, Techint proposed that the Kenya Government should meet the cost of the first part of the study and requested the sum of US $ 500,000 to be paid by way Letter of Credit.


Following the general election in March 1988, Dalmas Otieno replaced Dr Ouko as Minister for Industry on 19th March, and thus took over responsibility for the Molasses Project.


In June 1988 Technit withdrew from the contract and BAK selected an Italian company, Tecnomasio Italiano/Brown Boveri (TIBB), to replace them.


In a Telex dated 12th July, 1988, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry asked the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform BAK that a contract made with Techint was not transferable.


On 20th July, 1988, the Italian firm ABB Tecnomasio SpA (ABB) confirmed in a letter addressed to Dalmas Otieno, Minister of Industry and copied to the relevant ministries, that ABB had been visited by Airaghi of BAK Group who presented to them several projects foreseen in Kenya by BAK. ABB confirmed their acceptance of the nomination by BAK as project leader in the rehabilitation of the Molasses Project Complex in Kisumu.


ABB also informed the Kenya Government that the existing regulations in Italy did not allow the award of the contract for the study and rehabilitation to the same company if both activities were to be funded by a grant from Italian Government.


On 26th July, 1988 BAK wrote to the Ministry of Industry confirming that the existing regulations in Italy for co-operation projects, which were financed by a soft loan, would not allow the same company to undertake the study and the implementation; that BAK had nominated TIBB to undertake the study; that TIBB had calculated the cost of the study at US$200,000.00 and had agreed to meet two thirds of this costs and that the Kenya Government would be required to meet the remaining on third of the cost.


BAK made a further request to the Minister for Industry by Telex on the 18th August, 1988, requesting for payment of the deposit of US$50,000.00 (Kshs.900,000.00).


In a letter to the US Ambassador in Kenya from Ministry of Industry on the 27th September, 1988, it was confirmed that there had been a meeting between the Minister for Industry, Dalmas Otieno, and the Director of Trade and Development (USAID), and representative of the US Embassy, and that the Kenya Government had selected a US company known as F C Schaffer & Associates to undertake a study of the Kisumu Molasses Project.


On the 17th October, 1988, BAK stated in a letter to the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Cabinet, copied to the Minister for Industry that it had decided to carry out the feasibility study for free, (notwithstanding that it had already spent Ksh.1M).


A month later on November 17th, 1988, TIBB wrote to Minister for Industry declaring that it was willing to advance to the Kenya Government the cost of the study. The condition of the advance was to be that if either the Kenya Government decided not to implement the project after study or if there is delay in receiving from the Italian Government the grant or the soft loan, the Kenya Government would refund to TIBB US$200,000.00


TIBB’s letter of the 17th also stated that TIBB and BAK had nominated another Italian company known as Societa Montagi Industriali (S.M.I) to carry out the study.


On the 23rd November, 1988, the Minister for Industry, Dalmas Otieno, told Parliament that BAK was of doubtful integrity.


In his witness statement dated 21st May 1990, Dalmas Otieno succinctly gave one of his reasons for removing BAK and its ‘directors’ from the Molasses Project. He stated ‘I personally interviewed Mr Airaghi and I considered he was not competent to handle the project and knew nothing about molasses. He initially asked for one million US dollars for the feasibility study, he then halved this sum, and eventually settled for 300,000 dollars’. [39, Dalmas Otieno witness statement 21 May 1990]


On the 15th March 1989, Domenico Airaghi was arrested at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi by immigration officers whilst on a business trip to Kenya and expelled from the country for alleged ‘interference with Government matters’.


One of the many myths arising from the investigations and the subsequent the re-telling of the story is that Domenico Airaghi was thrown out of Kenya by Nicholas Biwott, the Energy Minister. There appears to be no evidence for this.


Troon stated the allegation at paragraph 175 of his ‘Final Report’: ‘He [Airaghi] alleges that Mr Biwott was instrumental in authorising his expulsion’. But in a long letter to Dalmas Otieno dated 15th March 1989, Domenico Airaghi did not mention Biwott and he was clear who he blamed for his expulsion. He wrote, ‘I have been informed that upon your request [Airaghi’s underlining] on March 15th, I have been asked to leave Kenya, for “Interference in Government matters, regarding the Kisumu Molasses Rehabilitiation”…’. [76 Letter to Dalmas Otieno from Domenico Airaghi]. Airaghi’s ten page witness statement made on the 9th may 1990 also does not name Biwott in connection with his expulsion and nor does the witness statement of Marianne Briner-Mattern made on the 22 March. Troon’s summary of the evidence, by no means for first time, was wrong.


In its interim report dated 17th October, 1989, on the Kisumu Molasses Project and delivered to Minister for Industry, Dalmas Otieno, FC Schaffer stated that they did not find the project viable.  The revival efforts by which had commenced in June 1987 by the Government of Kenya finally ended there.


[The Kisumu Molasses plant was subsequently purchased from the Kenyan state in 2001 (1996?) by Spectre International Ltd, a company owned by the family of Raila Odinga, currently Prime Minister of Kenya.]


THE MOLASSES THEORY COMES UNSTUCK


Ultimately, the evidence suggests, the ‘BAK Group’, its ‘directors’ Airaghi and Briner-Mattern and their nominee companies were ejected from the ‘Molasses Project’ by the Minister of Industry, Dalmas Otieno, because they had not raised the money from Italy for the rehabilitation of the Kisumu site; they asked for various levels of substantial payments that were not in the original agreement; and they were not ‘competent’.


It is difficult to see how the ‘Molasses Project-Corruption’ theory gained the currency it did and continues to do so to this day. Again the information and evidence that disproves has been available for at least 20 years and even some of those who ascribed to the theory and in their investigations or through testimony helped to propagate came to admit that it had little or no basis in fact. It is difficult as result to see how it could have provided a motive for Dr. Ouko’s murder in February 1990.


The timing of the key events in the end game of the Molasses Project makes it extremely unlikely that it was a factor in Ouko’s murder.


The project was effectively put on hold by Dalmas Otieno in March 1988, nearly two years before the murder and Biwott’s official involvement ended at the Cabinet meeting of the 3rd November, 1987 when specific duties for the project were handed to the Ministries of Industry, Finance, and the Attorney General and not to Biwott’s Ministry of Energy, Planning and Agriculture.


A multitude of official papers and correspondence also go against the theory.


The Cabinet papers, Dr Ouko’s own correspondence and other evidence prove that all decisions relating to the Kisumu Molasses Project were ultimately taken by the Cabinet. These were contained in the Kenya Government’s ‘Molasses File’ that were available in 1990. The British detective John Troon, however, did not ask to see the file, nor it seems did he ask Dalmas Otieno any questions about the Kisumu Molasses Project as the British detective John Troon accepted at the Judicial Inquiry, where the following exchange with lawyer Ishan Kapila took place:


Kapila:    “Mr Troon… you took a statement from Mr Dalmas Otieno, did you not? The Minister of   Industry?


Troon:    “I did my Lords”


Kapila:    “Did you ascertain any of these facts from him? [about the Molasses Project].


Troon:    “I could have done it in conversation, but I don’t think it is included in his statement. It is possible I did ask whether there was a file in existence and he said there was but not readily available, and that is my recollection my Lords.”


Kapila:    “Did you make arrangements for the provision of this file to you after that meeting?”


Troon:    “Not that I am aware of my Lords, no.”


[4 Judicial Inquiry transcript, 21 November 1991, pages 7-8]


Troon, in effect, rejected Dalmas Otieno’s evidence without ever asking for or looking at the Government Molasses File.


If Troon had have read the file, or even have asked those in a position to know about the Molasses Project, it is hard to believe that he would ever have put forward his theory. 


The critical piece of evidence overlooked by Troon was that the two Italian firms involved with the Molasses Project, Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) Tecnomassio SpA and Tecnomasio Italiano/Brown Boveri, were both introduced by Domenico Airgahi to Minister Dalmas Otieno [14 Domenico Airaghi’s witness  statement, 9 May 1990] and were part of the same multinational group. So there was no ‘rival tender’ and logically no bribe would have been asked of, or paid by a company to win a tender against itself.


The allegation by Marianne Briner-Mattern and to a certain extent Domenico Airaghi, which had been fully accepted by Troon and later given credence by Dorothy Randiak’s testimony (but not mentioned in her first two witness statements), had been that Biwott, Saitoti and others, working through an intermediary, had sought to get a ‘kickback’ for one company to get the contract over the other.


Dorothy Randiak, Dr Ouko’s sister, however accepted under cross examination at the Judicial Inquiry on 12th August, 1990 that there could have been no rivalry between the two companies. Her exchanges with lawyer Kaplia are revealing.


Kapila:        “Can you tell us, to the best of your knowledge, can you identify the rival group supported by Mr Biwott?”


Randiak:    “My Lords, as I was told by the late Minister, the other group was Asea Brown Boveri.”


Kapila:        “And your evidence is that at some stage Mr Biwott received a bribe from the Brown Boveri Group?”


Randiak:    “That was what I was told My Lords…”


Kapila:        “Did Mr Airaghi have anything to do with the Brown Boveri Group?”


Randiak:    “he did not tell me anything about that my Lords.”


Kapila:    “But your evidence is that the Brown Boveri Group came into the picture after the rejection of Airaghi’s group of companies, is that correct?”


Randiak:    “That’s what I was told My Lords”.


Kapila:        “And it is also your evidence that because of the pressure exerted by Mr Biwott, the contract was given to Brown Boveri as opposed to the Airaghi Group?”


Randiak:    “Yes my Lords”


Later in the cross-examination Dorothy Randiak stated, “As a result of rejection of that group, Airaghi

was deported from the country. As a result of the pressure put by Biwott and the rejection of that group,

Airaghi was deported from the country in the course of that year”.


However, after being shown a letter from Asea Brown Boveri Group addressed to Dalmas Otieno, the

Minister of Industry that showed  Domenico Airaghi had introduced Technomasio (which fully belonged

to the multinational, Asea Brown Boveri Group) to the Kenyan Government, Dorothy Randiak was

asked, “How can they be rival groups?” She replied:


“My Lords my piece of information is based on the conversation and discussions between me and my brother and not on the documents tabled. But on the strength of the documents that you have read, that I have followed, it would appear that there was no rivalry.” [96 Judicial Inquiry transcript, pages 31-33 and 39]


And finally, Domenico Airaghi’s documentation proves beyond doubt that he introduced Asea Brown Boveri. In a letter dated 30th August 1988, , Airaghi and Briner-Mattern wrote to an Italian company, stating: ‘To answer all your questions regarding BAK’s position in Kenya, we can inform you that ASEA-BROWN BOVERI/TECNOMASIO has signed with us an irrevocable cooperation agreement on an exclusive basis for Kenya for government and private projects…’ [97 letter to Fiera di Trieste from BAK]


The evidence to date provides no credible support for Troon’s theory based on Briner-Mattern’s and Airaghi’s testimony that the primary motive for the murder of Dr Robert Ouko was the Molasses Project. All of the available evidence is against it.


THE ‘CORRUPTION REPORT’


The second strand to Troon’s ‘Molasses Theory’ was that at  the time of his murder,  Dr. Ouko was writing a ‘corruption report’ to go to President Moi exposing the Molasses Project fraud scandal and that it could have been in an attempt to stop this exposure, according to Troon, that Dr Ouko was murdered.


Troon stated in his ‘Final Report’ that, ‘The evidence put forward by Briner-Mattern and Airaghi suggests quite clearly a motive to murder Dr Ouko, who according to them was about to prepare a report to be handed to the President outlining the allegations of corruption against Kenyan Ministers and officials.’ [TFR para 180]


Despite Troon’s assertion, the source for the ‘Corruption Report’ theory was only and entirely Marianne Briner-Mattern. In his witness statement, Domenico Airaghi’s testimony was, ‘The last time I spoke to Dr Ouko was either in late 1989 or early 1990. He never discussed with me any particular incident indicating any immediate danger to himself. I have not personally sent or received any letters from Dr Ouko in the last year’. [14 Airaghi’s statement, 9 May 1990].


This was not the only mistake Troon was to make regarding the ‘corruption report’ allegations of Briner-Mattern.


According to Troon, Briner-Mattern made ‘very serious allegations against certain Kenyan officials of corruption in respect of the Molasses Project… She states that in March 1989 she wrote personally to President Moi outling her allegation and grievances.’


In Briner-Mattern’s witness statement however, she stated that, ‘In March 1989, immediately after my Director’s expulsion, I decided to write a confidential letter to His Excellency the President of Kenya outlining the expulsion of My Director and the various projects we had been involved in and generally expressing the situation to him. I still wanted to complete the projects in a business like manner and asked for his support and fair judgement’. She did not mention ‘allegations’.


The other problem with Troon’s acceptance of this part of Briner-Mattern’s allegations is that there is no evidence that such a letter was either sent by her in March 1989, or received by President Moi.


The basis for Briner-Mattern’s ‘evidence’ for the corruption report theory was that she wrote and spoke to Dr Ouko shortly before his death. The communications allegedly took the form of two letters from Briner-Mattern and two telephone calls she claimed to have received from Dr Ouko. These were alleged to have taken place between 29th January and the 10th February, 1990.


According to Troon, during the course of those communications Dr Ouko indicated to Briner-Mattern that he was about to write a report to President Moi, ‘outlining allegations of corruption against Kenyan Ministers and officials.’ [TFR para 180]


In his ‘Final Report’ Troon reported that, ‘She [Briner-Mattern] states that on 29th January 1990 she wrote and posted a letter to Dr Ouko at his PO Box No 48955 Nairobi outlining the allegations and urging Dr Ouko to assist, and tell the truth. She produces a copy of this letter which according to her, was sent by Air Mail’. [TFR paras 167-172]


In paragraph 168 Troon continued:


‘Mrs Briner-Mattern maintains that on Monday 5th February 1990 at around lunch time she received a telephone call from Dr Ouko. She says the call was timed around lunch time (Swiss time) and believes he was making it from his own office. According to Briner-Mattern Dr Ouko told her that he had received her letter and requested her to send copies of additional correspondence in relation to her allegations to his Kisumu box number. This she says she did and posted it on the same day. There is no independent evidence that Dr Ouko received this correspondence. But the mail was collected on Thursday 8th and Saturday 10th February from the Kisumu box number.’


And in paragraph 169:


She alleges that on Saturday 10th February 1990 during the afternoon she received another telephone call from Ouko allegedly being made from his Koru address. Dr Ouko according to her, said that he had received the letter and was preparing a report in relation to her allegations for the President, to be handed to the latter before Dr Ouko’s visit to Gambia.’


At paragraph 171:


‘Papers in relation to the BAK allegations which may have been in the possession of Dr Ouko have not been found by the British investigators.’



Troon accepted in paragraph 167 of his ‘Final Report’ that ‘I have found no independent evidence that Dr Ouko actually received the letter [of the 29th January]; in paragraph 168 that ‘There is no independent evidence that Dr Ouko received this letter [5th February]; that there was no evidence to ‘corroborate these phone calls’ [from Ouko to Briner-Mattern]; and at paragraph 172 that ‘the only supportive evidence is circumstantial’. But he concluded, ‘I can only rely on what she says’.


Yet from this, Troon concluded in paragraph 180 of his report that the motive for Dr Ouko’s murder could have been the report to the President outlining allegations of corruption by Kenyan Ministers and official, and at the Judicial Inquiry in 1991 he agreed with lawyer Oraro’s statement that, ‘the main reason why he [Ouko] disappeared according to those findings, your findings, the main motive was to get hold of those documents’ [the BAK letters].


From this was born the theory of the ‘corruption report’ and it is in his assessment of this section of the Briner-Mattern allegations that Troon made his most significant error, for he either did not read her alleged letters, or if he did, he did not understand their implication.


Troon’s error was that the two letters supposedly sent by Briner-Mattern, particularly the first letter allegedly sent to Dr Ouko on 29th January 1990, do not concentrate on bribes asked for by Kenyan Ministers and officials but rather all but threaten Dr Ouko about the misuse of 50 workers at the Molasses Plant used for unlawful canvassing for Ouko in the lection of 1988.


In the letter of 29th January, Briner-Mattern informs Dr Ouko that she has hired a leading Kenyan law firm, was seeking a meeting with President Moi, and that an election fraud had been committed by using workers tidying up the Molasses Plant to campaign on behalf of Dr Ouko. She suggests that President Moi will be asking Dr Ouko for an explanation, that he should prepare his defence and admit he had made a mistake. [Transcript, Briner Mattern letter to Dr Ouko, 29th January 1990]


Briner-Mattern’s threat was made to Dr. Ouko.


On page two at paragraph two of the letter allegedly sent by Briner-Mattern on the 29th January,  she states, ‘… we believe that the reason for your non-involvement in our defence could be found when checking on the employment of the 50 workers, since we found out that they had been used also to “campaign” for you during the election and that part of the money was also used to pay the youth wingers. You remember that your cousin Ouko Reru had the signature in the Commercial Bank of Kenya account and that at the end of the originally agreed period had asked us for an additional amount that we gave.”


She continues in the next paragraph, “Since it is possible that H.E. the President will approach you after it seems he finally received the letter sent to him by me originally in March 1988, I herewith enclose a copy for your knowledge and enabling you to prepare your defence…”


The express reference to letters to the President, the information on the fifty workers and the suggestion that Dr Ouko “get his defence in order” is without doubt a threat.


In her witness statement to Troon, Briner-Mattern said:


During my conversation with Dr Ouko he said he was going to Kisumu and he asked me to send him a list of the workers as the allegations against us concerned the so called illegal employing of the workers. He said he had given the complete Molasses file to Mr Otieno and that I should send him copies of the workers’ details and other correspondence including a letter to Saitoti dated 24.02.88. He said he was going to Kisumu and talk to the people involved in the employment and get their support because he was going to make a report to the President’.


Based on Briner-Mattern’s testimony, if Dr Ouko was writing a corruption report to go to the President just before he was murdered he was doing so to defend allegations of corruption made against him, not Saitoti, Otieno, Biwott or other ‘officials’.


The basis for the ‘Corruption Report’ theory was therefore a misunderstanding by Troon of the uncorroborated testimony of Marianne Briner-Mattern, and based on documents that have never been found.


Troon speculated that documents relating to the ‘Corruption report’ had been taken from Dr Ouko’s but there is no evidence to support this.


That there were documents at Ouko’s Koru farm is not in doubt. That they disappeared is not in doubt. But they could have contained Ministry of Foreign Affairs papers; they could have contained minutes of a meeting; they could have been Dr.Ouko’s Phd thesis that he was apparently working on at the time; or they could have been private correspondence. And they could have been documents relating to a report into corruption at Kisumu Council which he was known to be working on and a draft of which was found in the safe at Koru and another handed to Scotland Yard by Mrs Ouko. 


And what Troon did not know but which became public in 2003, was that Domenico Airaghi and Briner-Mattern had a record of using forged, back-dated documentation to support their cause, that they were not ‘honest’ and the company ‘BAK’ was not ‘reputable’.


AIRAGHI CONVICTED, BRINER-MATTERN ‘UNRELIABLE, BAK A ‘CHIMERA’


Detective Superintendent John Troon based his all but total acceptance of the Briner-Mattern and Airaghi allegations on his assessment that they were ‘honest’ and ran a ‘reputable’ company.


He stated so to the Judicial Inquiry in 1991:


In my view I interviewed one of the witnesses, and one of my colleagues interviewed the other one. That is the advantage I have over you and as far as I assessed those witnesses, they were truthful and honest witnesses, and having talked to them my Lords, it was conveyed to me that they were under a reputable company…”


His assessment was wrong… badly wrong.


For all of the time that Dominic Airaghi was negotiating with the Kenyan Government regarding the Molasses Project he was in fact out on a bail having been convicted and sentence by a court in Milan after been found to have committed offences of corruption and presenting false evidence.


On the 14th March 1987, Dominico Airaghi and an accomplice were convicted (Civil and Criminal Court of Milan) on charges of corruption. The Court found that Airaghi had presented false evidence and false documents in an attempt to establish his defence. The Justice described Airaghi as having displayed "the attributes of an International Fortune Hunter. [71 Milan Judges remarks]


Marianne Briner-Matter, or Marianne Briner as she termed herself at the time, who described herself as a “secretary” of “International Escort” an “employment agency”, gave evidence in Airaghi’s defence. The court found her evidence in support of Airaghi to be false. The judge said of Marianne Briner, “who lived with Airgahi”, that it would better to draw a “compassionate veil” over her testimony and commented on her “unreliability” as a witness. [71 Milan Judges remarks]


Airaghi appealed against his conviction, the final appeal ending in the conviction being upheld on the 4th April, 1991. [72]


Nor was BAK a bona fide company as Troon assumed and as the Kenyan government had been led to believe.


Various BAK entities were found to have used four different names and two addresses in just three years. The addresses given for each entity were low rent offices in Baden, Switzerland.


Coincidently or not, 'BAK Group Marianne Briner + Partner' was only finally registered as a joint partnership on 13th February 1990, the day that Robert Ouko was murdered.


Liquidation proceedings against this BAK company began in Switzerland on 25th February 1992 and in June 1992 it was struck off the Register of Companies. At the same time as the insolvency proceedings in Switzerland, Airaghi and Briner-Mattern established PTA BAK Group International Consultants in Spain. It was also subsequently to be struck off the corporate register.


After Dr Ouko's murder, Domenico Airgahi and Marianne Briner-Mattern's claim for losses in relation to the 'Molasses Project' increased from $150,000 to $5.975 million.


Had Troon known of the backgrounds of Domenico Airaghi and Marianne Briner-Mattern it is unlikely that he would have included their evidence in his report but he did not undertake fundamentally important basic investigative steps before accepting them as ‘truthful and honest witnesses’ or arriving at his conclusions.


Troon’s theories, based on the testimony of Domenico Airaghi and Marianne Briner-Mattern, of corruption linked to the Molasses Project and the writing of a ‘Corruption Report’ by Dr Ouko, have been proven to be without any evidential basis.


“WHO KILLED DR. R. J. OUKO AND WHY?” –

COULD IT HAVE BEEN AIRAGHI AND BRINER-MATTERN?


During the Kenya police’s ‘Further Investigations’ they ‘came across’ a document (the report does not say how) entitled, “Who Killed Dr. Ouko and Why?” It was signed but the signature was unreadable and underneath the signature was typed, ‘Dated this 4th December, 1991 at Rome’. [Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]


The document of unknown origin alleged that ‘Mrs. Marianne’ and ‘Mr. Airaghi’ were the master minds behind the murder of the late Dr. Ouko’. [KPFI page 71, 9:1]


It claimed that Briner-Mattern, a woman the document describes as ‘of questionable morality,’ had ‘enticed, lured and consorted with several Kenyans in the 1970s notable among her victims and/or beneficiaries those days include cabinet ministers especially Dr. Njoroge Mungai’. [Page 1 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]


It also claimed that Briner-Mattern was ‘on espionage assignments in Kenya, but she combined a number [of] questionable roles with business and holidaying as cover-ups’.


‘In 1979, the then Kenya’s Principal Immigration officer Mr. James Mutua personally deported her’ the document stated but ‘She came back in the mid 8o’s this time diquised [sic] as a married, respectable and resourceful business executive…[Page 2 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]


‘It is in the course of Marriane’s operations in Kenya in late 1986 that she identified the Kisumu Molasses plant as a possible project for realizing part of her grand plan to swindle Kenya’s and Italian governments money’. [Page 2 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]


The “Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?” document claimed that Briner-Mattern and Airaghi won over Dr Ouko to believe that they could help arrange funding for the rehabilitation of the Molasses Plant and that they helped fund Ouko’s 1988 election campaign as he was ‘crucial for the success of Marriane’s plans’:


…Dr. Airaghi provided money to finance Dr. Ouko’s election campaign and Harambee funds drives. The staggering amounts used to campaign for Dr. Ouko was banked in two accounts in two State banks in Kisumu: KCB and National Bank of Kenya. These arrangements were approved by Dr. Ouko and executed by Mr. Reru who was Dr. Ouko’s cousin and campaign manager. Reru and Dr. Airaghi were the two signatories to the accounts with Charles Owino of NBK Kisumu, close associate of Oyugi’s, overseeing the money laundering operations. Casual labour was hired to provide a cover to the real activities of Dr. Airaghi and group. In actual fact, bush clearing within the molasses plant was done for a few days.’


The central allegations were that after Dr Ouko became Minister of Foreign Affairs in March 1989 and the Molasses Project ground to a halt, Briner-Mattern and Airaghi pressured and threatened him to get the money-making project underway but he failed to do so. Bitter at the waste of their time and money, Brinner-Mattern and Airaghi ‘orchestrated’ a conflict ‘between Dr. Ouko and some of his colleagues – notably the Industry and Energy Ministers’ (Dalmas Otieno and Nicholas Biwott respectively).


Far from Dr. Ouko writing a report on corruption among other Ministers at the time of his murder the “Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?” document stated that he was writing one on the corrupt dealings of the BAK group and PEC (a consortium of companies from Italy and Switzerland that had been involved with the initial building of the Molasses Plant). It was for this reason that Briner-Mattern and Airaghi planned to kill Dr Ouko, the document alleged.


In preparation for the murder, it was claimed, ‘several fictitious letters allegedly written by a consortium of firms in Italy and Switzerland were churned out to various people and institutions. Detailed corrupt practices in Kenya, some true and some not true were weaved and dispatched. Some of these went to Dr. Ouko.’


They then recruited, so the story went, at least six people to carry out the murder. These, allegedly, were:


‘Oyugi – because he feared exposure by Dr. Ouko


Mbajah – Ouko’s brother whose wife had an affair with Dr. Ouko


Omino    - a long time political opponent of Dr. Ouko


Gondi    - financial adviser to Oyugi and had got sacked from Thabiti Finance on Ouko’s instigation


Anguka    - Whos [sic] wife was Dr. Ouko’s PA and with whom Dr. Ouko had sired her two last children


Oraro    - Oyugi’s lawyer’


Later, it claimed, James K’oyoo, Ouko’s campaign manager, was brought in on the act. He together with Oraro, ‘called on Dr. Ouko on the night of the murder. Earlier he had been telephoned that K’oyoo would bring a lady to Dr. Ouko for the night. Then Oraro comes and says he has some useful information to discuss with Dr. Ouko. Oraro told Ouko the discussion would be better done in Kisumu since he suspected Ouko’s house was bugged.’


‘And out Dr. Ouko went unguarded since Oyugi had withdrawn the security personnel attached to him. Before being shot, Dr. Ouko was tortured to reveal who else knew about the corruption details he had been compiling. After being killed Dr. Ouko was burnt to hide the torture marks. Oraro later came to Dr. Ouko’s house, bribed the AP guard (Agalo) to keep quiet and collected all the papers relating to corruption and took them to Oyugi for onward transmission to Dr. Airgaghi’s group. The series of documents that were given to the Ouko inquiry and stole the limelight during the proceedings were manufactured and dispatched to Kenya to divert attention from Marrianne and Airaghis role’. [Page 8 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]


The “Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?” document contained an intriguing postscript. Written by hand, it said:


‘P.S. I am friend of Kenya and an acquaintance of Marianne. I first met with Marrianne in 1988 at Palermo, my home town. The mayor of Palermo is a close friend of mine and am a member of Social Democrat Party. That is all about me  - Do not look for me, because Mafia might find you before you find me. Bye – cheerio’  [Page 9 Who Killed Dr. R. J. Ouko and Why?]


In their ‘Further Investigations’ Report the Kenya police Stated they ‘found no evidence to support the allegations’. [KPFI 9:1 page 72]


THE OUKO FAMILY ROW


That there was a severe disagreement in the Ouko family at this time there is no doubt.


Dorothy Randiak, Dr Ouko’s sister, in her first witness statement cited the cause of the row: "In 1985 the following happened. Barrack was working as Deputy PC in Nakuru in the Rift Valley Province. From there he was transferred to Deputy Secretary at the Attorney generals office. He did not want this move and he blamed it on Robert [Dr Ouko] because he had ambition to become Provincial Commissioner. Barrack discussed the move to try and prevent it but Robert done nothing about it because of reasons of which they both knew. This caused a lot of bitterness on Barracks part against Robert but Robert had no bad feeling towards Barrack. The situation still exists. Barrack also influenced Collins which in turn caused him to show bitterness against Robert also. The bitterness of both these brothers was maintained throughout and remained until the time Robert disappeared". [pages 1-2 Dorothy Randiak’s witness statement 2 March, 1990]


Mrs Christabel Ouko confirmed Dorothy Randiak’s assertions: “It has been common knowledge that my husband and his brothers Barrack and Collins were not speaking to each other and there was a serious situation between them and that conflict existed between them. This goes back several years.” [page Mrs Christabel Ouko, statement 2 March, 1990]


Mrs Ouko continued [a couple of lines later], “It all started really because Barrack and Collins were not in an important position like my husband and it was really jealousy. In the beginning it was Barrack who was the worst and at the time of my husband disappearing the conflict still existed. My husband was always discussing with me these problems and was always baffled why his brothers were against him and scandalised him in public. In the last elections which were in 1988 Barrack openly canvassed against my husband during the campaign.” [page Mrs Christabel Ouko, statement 2 March, 1990]


In Dorothy Randiak’s second statement made to Troon on 27th March, 1990, she provided further details of the alleged dispute between Dr Ouko and his brothers: “I do remember that in December 1989 a photograph was found in my mother’s house. It was a photograph of a family group including my mother, my father and Collins. The picture of my mother had been cut out of the group.” [pages 1 Dorothy Randiak’s witness statement 27 March, 1990]


Later in the same statement she said, “Soon after this we had a clan meeting and Robert addressed them and said that this cutting of the picture had been the work of Collins.” [pages 1 Dorothy Randiak’s witness statement 27 March, 1990]


Dorothy Randiak also went on to state what she alleged her mother had said to her. “Some time last year [1989] before the incident with the photograph, Collins had returned from Nairobi. It was always my mother’s custom to go and greet the members of the family when they return to Nyahera. On this occasion, Collins told mother never to come to his house again and that if she did he would cut her to pieces”. [pages 2 Dorothy Randiak’s witness statement 27 March, 1990]


And a few lines later in her second statement Dorothy Randiak gave what she claimed was the reason for her brother Collins dispute with their mother. “The reason behind all this I think is because Collins and Barrack are friendly with a man named Richard Oland. Now this man is bad and is a bad influence on Barrack and Collins. The rest of the family have never liked this man and it is for this reason that Collins has turned against his mother. It is Richard that persuades the young girls of the village to go to Barrack’s house when he comes from Nairobi and it is then that Barrack, Collins and Richard indulge in improper behaviour. As a result there has been allegations made by these young women against all three of these men.” [pages 2 Dorothy Randiak’s witness statement 27 March, 1990]


Dr. Joseph Oluoch, the Ouko family’s general practitioner and a family friend told Troon that he had a telephone conversation with Dr Ouko on Monday 12th February 1990. He said that Dr Ouko was ‘very concerned over the disruptive influence of his brothers Barrack and Collins and the effect it was having on the stability of the SEDA family’. He also told Troon that ‘there were other people behind the brothers using them to harass the Minister’. [TFR para 129]


Mr Erik James Onyango was described in Troon’s ‘Final Report’ as one of Dr Ouko’s ‘closest friends’ who had known the Minister for 25 years ‘and was also a very close friend of the family’. He confirmed to Troon that ‘the relationship between the Minister and his brother Barrack and emphasised the point that the situation was occasionally fuelled by political opponents of Dr Ouko.’ [TFR para 134]


Troon however, all but dismissed any link between the Ouko family row and the murder of Dr Ouko. Remarkably, given the weight of testimony to the contrary, Troon declared in only the sixth paragraph of his ‘Final Report’ that, ‘I have found nothing to indicate that the Minister’s immediate family circumstances were other than normal, happy and stable’. [TFR para 6]


However, Troon concluded:


‘To summarise the immediate family of Dr Ouko, I am not satisfied that they have told me everything they know [Troon’s underlining]. There appears to be a shroud of fear surrounding the whole family which prevents them from fully disclosing what I believe some of them must know.’ [TFR para 119]


It should be stressed that Troon was not suggesting by this that the family were necessarily involved in the murder of Dr Ouko but rather frightened of some sort of reprisal.


The Kenya police’s ‘Further Investigations’ Report however, was not dissimilar in its conclusions. It stated, ‘We have not been able to penetrate deeply into the alleged squabbles within the family. This was because of the unco-operative attitude adopted by the members of the family of the late minister, particularly his sister Mrs. Randiak and his brother Barrack Mbajah’. [KPFI 8:5 p57]


The conclusion of the Parliamentary Select Committee Investigation published in March 2005 raised similar concerns, this time about Mrs Ouko: ‘Arising from her evidence before the Committee, it is observed that, even at this late stage, she did not tell everything she knew about her late husband’s death for reasons best known to her. She appeared reluctant to give evidence before the Committee and only attended when summoned severally. The Committee observed that deeper investigations be carried out on her evidence’. [Select Committee Investigations, march 2005, Vol I, page 97, para 211].


The Kenya police were not able to question Barrack Mbajah further as he had fled the country to the USA. The Kenya police reported that they did not know how he had left the country – he did appear to have used the ‘official entry’ – or why he had left and why he was granted asylum by the United States Government.


There is no direct evidence of family involvement in the murder of Dr Robert Ouko but each investigation conducted into his murder suggested that some knew more than they were saying.


What is worthy or note was Troon’s reaction to and assessment of the undoubted long-running row in the Ouko family. He either seems to ignore it or dismiss it without really saying why. One cannot but help get the feeling that ‘family row’ theory got in the way of theories Troon had come to believe, those arising from Marianne Briner-Mattern’s allegations.


Dr Ouko’s brother Barrack was also facing accusations from a member of the late Minister’s domestic staff.


THE SALINA WERE TAPES - ALLEGATIONS AGAINST BARRACK MBAJAH


Suspecting that Dr Ouko’s maid, Salina Were, was not telling everything that she knew, the Kenya police decided to tape record telephone conversations with her.


The Kenya police’s ‘Further Investigations’ Report told how this was done:


‘It was, therefore, decided that someone whom she could trust should be looked for so that he could talk to her while we monitor the discussion and without her knowledge. An informer was found and a discussion took place on a number of occasions. The discussion was taped on each occasion’. [KPFI 9:3 p73]


And then the Report set out what had been recorded:


‘In a tape recorded discussion, Salina Were alleged that on 11th February, 199o, Mr. Barrack Mbajah held a meeting at Bulma Bar, Muhoroni where the murder of the late minister was hatched. She claimed that Amos Agalo (now deceased) conspired with Barrack Mbajah to murder the late minister. She went on to say that a lot of money was paid and a motor vehicle was given to the person who was the leader of the murder gang. She went on to say that Amos Agalo had said that he was going to kill Dr. Ouko because he had terminated his services there.’ [KPFI 9:3 pages 73-74]



Salina Were then listed the conspirators:


Barrack Mbajah

Amos Agalo

Ouma Agalo (brother to Amos)

Zablon Agalo Obonyo (father of Amos)

Samson Odoyo

Peter Obura Raila

Jonah Anguka

Hezekiah Oyugi


‘She also mentioned Anguka’s employees namely, Anthony, Odongo and Hassan as possible conspirators. She said that they were associates of Amos Agalo.’ [KPFI 9:3 p74]


Salina Were claimed that Ouma Agalo, his brother Amos Agalo and other conspirators were paid Shs. 400,000/- for the murder and even named the bank, Barclays Bank, Kisumu, where the money was allegedly paid to the conspirators by an Administrative Police Inspector, Samuel Owino of Kamagabo. [KPFI 9:3 p74]


She went on to add more detail to her story. She alleged that Barrack Mbajah ‘was seen near Onyango Jimbo’s home the day Dr. Ouko disappeared. The home of Onyango Jimbo is close to where the body of Dr. Ouko was found. When Mbajah was asked where he was going, he claimed that he missed his way to Dr. Ouko’s home. She said that she thought Mbajah was coming from the scene where the body of the late minister was found’. [KPFI 9:3 pages 74-75]


It all sounded explosive and damaging testimony, even there may have been an element of entrapment, but when confronted with the recordings, although she admitted that they were recordings of her conversations, she then claimed the allegations were not true.


Salina Were said that ‘she alleged that Barrack Mbajah killed his brother brutally because Mbajah had told a lie about her. She said that Mbajah had alleged that she had given a document containing the names of the people who collected Dr. Ouko, which was lie. She retracted all what she alleged in the tape.’ [[KPFI 9:3 p75]


The Kenya police conclude that Salina Were was ‘unreliable’ and had told a ‘deliberate lie’. They therefore ‘attached no value on her tape recorded discussion with the informer’.


A WOMAN SCORNED?


The row in the wider family was not the only domestic concern Dr Robert Ouko had just prior to his murder. In her first statement to Troon Mrs Christabel Ouko explained.


“About a month or two ago we were in Nairobi and had been out to dinner. We had a happy evening. When we got home my husband said that something had been bothering him for some time.  He then said that in a moment of weakness he had had an affair with another woman and there was a child as a result of this. He said he wanted to get it off his chest. I had no previous knowledge of this, this may have been two months ago [December, 1989]”. [Christabel Ouko’s first statement, 2nd March, 1990, p2]


She continued a few lines later, “I don’t know who this woman is even now. She has never been identified to me. I think some of the other members of the family know about this.”


The ‘other woman’ was a Miss Herine Violas Ogembo. Troon stated in his report that she was a “nursing officer of Golf Course, Phase 1, House 138, Nairobi” and that she stated that she met Dr Ouko in 1982 and that they had “an association which lasted up until the death of the Minister’ and that in May 1983 she gave birth to a daughter which Dr Ouko acknowledged was his and monthly payments were made by him to support the child”. [TFR para 121]


Troon continued, “It would appear that the relationship was close and the Minister would at times either take Miss Ogembo on official visits abroad or arrange her travel to meet him at selected venues. The relationship was apparently open and many of his close friends and colleagues knew of their association.” [TFR paras 122 & 123]


“Dr Ouko’s brothers and sisters also knew of the relationship but his wife Christabel stated at interview that she only discovered about the relationship during the latter part of 1989 when Dr Ouko confessed to her his association with Miss Ogembo”.


But in late 1989 and early 1990 there was evidence that Dr Ouko’s relationship with Violet Ogembo may not have been his only ‘moment of weakness’.


Mrs Christabel Ouko, in her first statement to Troon said that some time between Dr Ouko telling her of his relationship with Violet Ogembo (so between Nov/Dec and Feb) she had another telephone call one evening while her husband was out working late “from a woman who asked where my husband was as she was his wife”.


My husband came in soon after this call and I asked where he had been. He said why did I ask. I had not asked him ever before. I then told him about the call and he said it was a big joke. But when he realised I was not joking he telephoned the people he had been with to confirm where he had been.” Christabel Ouko’s first statement, 2nd March, 1990, p3]


Dr Ouko told his wife that he didn’t know who had telephoned but he would find out “however many years it might take him”


THE ‘CO-WIFE’?


Mrs Ouko received another call about 6 o’clock one evening in mid/late January. The caller said ‘“Is that Mrs Ouko?” and I think the person said a name which I didn’t hear. The person was a woman. I asked her to repeat the name but she said “Never mind, I am the co wife and I have two children of your husband, tell him to look up his children, I am going to make life very difficult for you!” I said “Why don’t you tell him yourself?” she said “I don’t see much of him”. She then put the phone down.’  Christabel Ouko’s first statement, 2nd March, 1990, p3]


Christabel Ouko continued:


“When my husband came home I told him about this call and he said that he was glad that this had happened as he could now tell me what he had found out. He told me that he had called the lady that he had the affair with and asked if she made the telephone calls to her home. He then told me he thought it was his brothers Barrack and Collins who had planted some ladies to make these telephone calls to harass me and he said that at that night he had been to the Inter Continental Hotel to a delegation meeting, and that the person who phoned must have been there to see him leave. The lady my husband had the affair with said Barrack had been to see her and had said to her “Why don’t you bring the child home because I (me) was a bad person”. It has been common knowledge that my husband and his brothers Barrack and Collins were not speaking to each other and there was a serious situation between them and that conflict existed between them.”


Violet Ogembo, Dr Ouko’s “mistress”, also confirmed to Troon that just before Dr Ouko died she had received anonymous telephone calls from an unknown female who claimed that Mrs Ouko knew of the affair with her husband and that Mrs Ouko wanted to kill her and her daughter. Ogembo stated she had told Dr Ouko of the phone calls and he in turn had said that Mrs Ouko was also receiving similar calls. [TFR para 127]


Dorothy Randiak also gave testimony that the allegations regarding Dr Ouko and relationships with other women might have been inter-connected with the row in the family.


In her first statement to Troon, Randiak stated:


I have been asked whether my brother had a mistress at any time. My answer to that is that I do not know, but I have since learned that Robert and his wife both received anonymous telephone calls and Robert told me it was a woman who was doing it and he thought that Barrack had fed the information in, Robert was not worried about the information, but was worried about Barrack’s actions and being scandalised by him to harm his good name.’ [Dorothy Randiak, witness statement, 2nd March]


The Kenya police’s investigation looked into Dr Ouko’s ‘Domestic situation’. They noted that: ‘The general talk in the area was that the late minister was a womanizer’. He used to have love affairs with married women who included Mrs. Anguka, who was his Personal Assistant [and married to Jonah Anguka]. But they also stated that, ‘We have found no evidence for this. [KPFI 8:6 pages 59-60]


The Kenya police said they had also been given the names of other women, within the Koru and Kisumu area, that Dr Ouko was alleged to have had relationships with but there was no ‘concrete evidence’ to back up the allegations and that as ‘they are married women, we have found it improper to include their names in this report’. [KPFI 8:6 p60]


Further allegations were received, namely that Dr Ouko had not stayed at his Koru farm between February 5th and 8th.


Whilst they said they could not rule out ‘women involvement’ or that there was a ‘possibility of women affairs having been one of the motive[s] for murder of Dr Ouko, the Kenya police conclude the evidence was lacking.


The Kenya police’s discretion was perhaps touching but it is surprising given the weight of testimony and that they were investigating not only a murder but a high profile murder of Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, that this line of inquiry was not more rigorously pursued. 


Similarly, it has already been noted that the British detective John Troon largely dismissed family and domestic issues as having played a part in Dr Ouko’s murder, and subsequent inquiries – the Judicial Inquiry in 1990-1 and the Parliamentary Committee investigation in 2004-5 – dealt very delicately with the subject if at all.


However, the question must be posed: how angry was Mrs Ouko? She had found out in the last five to six weeks before her husband was murdered that he had a mistress, a child by her, used to take her on holiday and to official functions, and that her family and friends knew all along but she did not. And having been told this she then started receiving calls for a woman, or other women, saying that they had his children or were his ‘co-wife’. The last of these calls appears to have been one week before Dr Ouko flew to Washington.


LOCAL POLITICS – LOCAL MOTIVES?


THE 1988 GENERAL ELECTION


Although in 1988 Kenya was a one-party state, the Kenya African National Union, or KANU, the party did allow members to challenge each other for election. In the general election of May 1988 Dr Robert Ouko faced a wealthy and determined opponent, Mr Joab Omino.


The campaign according to some was a bitter affair. Troon’s ‘Final Report’ explained that allegations had been made, ‘particularly [by] those engaged in politics of personal hatred levelled against Dr Ouko by his political opponent in the 1988 elections Mr Joab Omino.’ According to Troon, ‘This hatred became more apparent after the election when Dr Ouko was elected as Kisumu Town Member of Parliament. Allegations were made that Omino and his associates plotted to harm Dr Ouko, conspired to harm his property at Nyahera, spreading rumours to discredit Dr Ouko particularly concerning his family differences, and during the elections an attempt was made to injure Dr Ouko by throwing acid at him’. [TFR para 204]


One of the issues played in the campaign was the charge that Dr Ouko had not developed the Kisumu Molasses Plant. Another issue according to some, or a rumour maliciously spread by Dr Ouko’s opponents according to others, was that he was at odds with his brothers, particularly his brother Barrack, whom, the story went, he had failed to help when he needed it most. If Dr Ouko cannot even help his own brother, his opponents taunted, how can he help his own constituents?


The allegation that acid was thrown at Ouko was found to be untrue (‘fluid’ was thrown at a rally but Ouko was not there) but there was apparently some evidence that Omino’s supporters spread rumours about Dr Ouko’s relationship with his brother Barrack during the election.


Joab Omino denied any involvement in a bitter personal campaign against his opponent, or of any ‘serious rift between them’. His alibi as to his whereabouts on the night of 12th/13th February was supported by Mr Moses Wetangula, then an advocate of the High Court who said he was with Omino at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi between ‘approximately 6.15pm and 8.30pm on both 12th and 13th February’. [TFR para 211] This, of course, did not give Omino an alibi for 3am – 6.30am of the morning of the 13th February, the time during which Dr Ouko was murdered.


Omino also said he was at a meeting with Gor Malia Football Club at 5pm on the 12th but again that did not cover the time when Dr Ouko was murdered. Troon did state that Omino failed to make an appointment of the 13th February at 11.30am with the General Manager of the National Bank of Kenya, Nairobi, Mr Jason Wellington Oluga. [TFR para 213]


Troon was not satisfied with alibi witness statements on behalf of Joab Omino and could not satisfy himself as to his movements around the 12th and 13th of February. He suggested re-interviewing the witnesses. [TFR para 214]


The Kenya police followed up on his recommendation, re-interviewing Omino and Moses Wetangula but found ‘no evidence to associate Mr Omnio with the Murder of Dr. Ouko’. [KPFI 8:7, pages 61-62]


Dr Ouko went on to win the election but only by the slim margin of 2,000 votes in his constituency. The legacy of bitterness was to remain.


KISUMU COUNCIL CORRUPTION


There is ample evidence and corroborating testimony that Dr Ouko was concerned at allegations of corruption and mismanagement against Councillors and administrative officers in the Kisumu Municipal Town Council, in particular in relation to the misappropriation of Donor monies, the allocation of land plots and the redistribution of houses unlawfully repossessed by the council.


The most serious allegations were those of corruption against the former Mayor Mr George Okalo and some members of the then incumbent council’, Detective Superintendent John Troon stated in his ‘Final Report’ [Troon, Final Report para 199, page 74].


Troon continued, ‘The allegations were of misappropriation of millions of Kenya Shillings relevant to the distribution of land plots which culminated in the probe report being finalised in February 1990 just before the death of Dr Ouko. Dr Ouko was in possession of this report which was handed to me later by his wife where she had located it in his study at their Loresho home. A further copy was found in his bedroom safe at his Koru home as described elsewhere in this report. At a later stage a further part of this report was handed to me by the Commissioner of Police’.


The inquiry into corruption in Kisumu Town Council was chiefly concerned, according to Troon, with the unlawful allocation of houses that had been repossessed for supposed non-payment of rent or mortgage ‘and then re-allocated to Council members, their families or friends’ [Troon, para 203, p75].


Two of those that allegedly received property were Mr Timothy Maloba a local Assistant Commissioner of Police and his deputy Superintendent Omwenga. Troon noted that Omwenga was ‘one of the officers involved in the search of Dr Ouko’s farm on 16th February’.


After the 1988 general election a new Mayor and Council was elected and some of the officers, including the new Mayor Mr George Olilo, were relatives of Dr Ouko. Troon stated that during the next two years the council was split into two factions, those who supported Dr Robert Ouko and those who did not. ‘There was manipulation on the Mayor and Town Clerks part’, Troon wrote, ‘to conceive special meetings where only pro Ouko Councillors participated and, according to the probe findings, decisions were made in the absence of other opposing Councillors’.

[TFR para 202, page 75]


But Troon, although he noted that there was ill feelings towards Dr Ouko from local political opponents, found no evidence that any members of the local council were involved in his murder.


Of interest however, is that firm evidence was found that Dr Ouko, at the time of his death, ‘was in possession’ of a report into corruption into local Kisumu council corruption, a copy of which was handed to Troon by Mrs Ouko and another found at his Koru home [TFR para 200]. Was this, in reality, the ‘corruption report’ he was supposedly working on before he was murdered?


The Kenya police investigation stated that the reason Dr Ouko had gone to see Hezekiah Oyugi on the day he returned from Washington (February 4th) was to discuss the alleged Municipal Council scandal. The Council was indeed dissolved a few weeks after Dr Ouko’s death.


The Kenya police investigation, however, did not find ‘any evidence to associate anybody in the municipal council with the murder of Dr. Ouko’. [KPFI p62]



WAS DR. OUKO KILLED BY ‘EXECUTIVE ORDER’?


MOI WATCHED AS OUKO SHOT? – THE GEORGE WAJACKOYAH STORY


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.



WOULD MOI HAVE BEEN SO STUPID?


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’.


NICHOLAS BIWOTT


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.


HEZEKIAH OYUGI


Troon’s next prime suspects for further investigating into the murder of Dr Ouko was Hezekiah Oyugi


Troon interviewed Hezekiah Oyugi, the Permanent Secretary, Provincial and Internal Security, because Scotland Yard’s enquiries had found that he might have spent the night of Friday 9th and Saturday 10th of February at the Sunset Hotel in Kisumu. The hotel’s Assistant Manager, Mr Julius Essendi, had given evidence that a local Asian businessman, Mr Atool Shah, had paid Ksh700/- and booked the room in Oyugi’s name. [TFR para 230]


Essendi said that although he did not see Oyugi he was certain that the room was for him to the extent that he had it made up to VIP status, that the room was slept in and that the occupant did have breakfast on the morning of February 10th.


In support of his testimony Essendi produced copies of the receipt ledger and a receipt recording payment for the room in the name of Oyugi together with the hotel’s guest list and other documents, but no document was produced with Oyugi’s signature on it. Troon’s colleague Detective Sergeant Lindsay also said he found some evidence that Oyugi had been seen at the hotel at the time but was unable to trace the member of staff who originally testified that he had seen him. [TFR para 231]


Atool Shah confirmed that he had paid for the room at the direction of his nephew, Mrs Dipak Shah, and gave the receipt to him. Atool said he knew of Oyugi but had never met him. Troon however, did not believe him. He stated in his ‘Final Report’ that, ‘I have no doubt that Atool Shaah knows full well that he booked the room for Mr Oyugi, and had met Oyugi previous to making the booking’. [TFR para 232]


The nephew, Mr Dipak Panchard Shah essentially confirmed the story of the room booking. He said Oyugi had asked him to book a room at the Imperial Hotel Kisumu but there were no vacancies hence he booked a room at the Sunset Hotel. [TFR para 233]


Troon noted that enquiries had found that the Imperial Hotel was fully booked on the night of the 9th/10th February because of the International Rotary meeting that weekend. A room for Dr Ouko had been booked at the Imperial Hotel for that night as he was due to make a speech there on the 10th February but he had not used the room. [TFR 248]


Dipak Shah also said he gave the receipt for the room booking to Oyugi’s driver ‘whom he could not identify’ and also said he could not be sure if Oyugi or his driver slept at the Sunset Hotel that night. [TFR para 234]


Oyugi’s driver, an administrative police officer by the name of Mr James Njan Mbegua, confirmed Oyugi called on Shah on the evening of the 9th February and that the hotel room was booked but that Oyugi changed his mind and returned to his home in Rongo where Mbegua said they stayed for the weekend. [TFR para 235]


A Mr Francis Cheruyot, a telephonist at Rongo Office, near to the Koru Farm, alleged to Troon that on Tuesday 13 February 1990, at about 6am, he was on duty on the post office telephone switchboard when he saw Hezekiah Oyugi, ‘who was a passenger in a white car containing three other persons’, drive past the post office on two occasions but Cheruyot would not make a written statement to this effect, although Troon stated that Cheruyot was ‘absolutely sure of the date, time and what he had seen’. [TFR, para 236]


Oyugi was subsequently unable to produce the daily log of his official car. [TFR, para 246]


Oyugi was interviewed by a member of the Scotland Yard team on the 22nd May, 1990. He confirmed that Dr Ouko had visited him on the 5th February and that they had talked the Kisumu municipality and the dissolution of the council. Troon recorded that, ‘Mr Oyugi says that Dr Ouko had wanted some action taken on people who may have committed offences, and was adamant that they only discussed local Kisumu corruption’. [TFR para 239]


Other than that, according to Troon, Oyugi seemed to have little knowledge of anything. He knew of no row on the ‘Washington Trip’, didn’t know that Dr Ouko had seen the President on the morning of Monday 5th February and that he knew of no papers that were supposed to be missing from Ouko’s Koru home. Oyugi said he didn’t know Airaghi or Briner-Mattern, or that the latter had been interviewed by Scotland Yard in London.


Troon thought Oyugi was ‘evasive’ about his whereabouts between the 8th and 13th of February and would not let Troon look at his diary. He denied being near the Rongo Post Office on the morning of February 13th or of meeting Ouko over  the weekend before his murder but said that the Minister had telephoned him on the morning of Monday 12th checking whether Oyugi had informed the President of his road accident. [TFR para 243]


For Troon, at the time of writing his ‘Final Report’, Oyugi ‘could not be ruled out of any involvement into the death of Dr Ouko’. [TFR para 246]


Hezekiah Oyugi was arrested by the Kenya police on 26th November, 1991, immediately after the Commission of Inquiry was halted but released on 10th December ‘due to lack of sufficient evidence’. [KPFI 7:3 page 29]


The Kenya police confirmed Oyugi’s story of the room booking at the Sunset Hotel and stated that his claim to have spent the weekend at his Rongo home was supported by the Pastor of Dudu Church, his driver and his bodyguard.


The Kenya police’s ‘Further Investigations’ Report said that Oyugi was well known at the Sunset Hotel and that if he had stayed there one of the employees would have noticed. They also found that two people with the name Oyugi were booked into the Sunset Hotel for the night of the 9th/10th of February. [KPFI 7:3 page 32]


The Report concluded that, ‘Whilst there is evidence that Mr. Oyugi was booked in room 104 at Sunset Hotel, Kisumu, there is no evidence whatsoever to prove he slept there. His explanation seems logical and acceptable. We see nothing to suggest that the booking had anything to do with the disappearance and subsequent death of Dr. Ouko.’ [KPFI 7:3 (ii) page 32]


The Kenya police also traced Francis Cheruiyot, the telephone operator at Rongo Post Office who had told Scotland Yard he had seen Oyugi in a white car on the morning of the 13th February, the day Dr Ouko was murdered. However, Cheruiyot stated that on the 13th he was off-duty, his three days off-duty having started on the 11th February, 1990, so he could not have seen Oyugi. [KPFI 7:3 (iv) page 33]


The Kenya police also, by then, had Oyugi’s itinerary for the period [KPFI 7:3 (viii) pages 36-39] which claimed that on the 13th February, 1990, he had accompanied President Moi to a public rally at Murang’a and that the Presidential motorcade had left State House in Nairobi at 8.00am. [KPFI 7:3 (iv) page 33]


[At the time of this draft of the study into Dr Ouko’s murder by Kenya Unsolved, three photographs dated 13th February, 1990, had just been found in an archive in Nairobi which appear to show Oyugi at a rally with President Moi but the identity of Oyugi has yet to be established for certain.]


Hezekiah Oyugi had, of course, been on the trip to Washington that preceded Dr Ouko’s murder and the Kenya police investigated allegations of a ‘row’ taking place on the trip that might have constituted a motive for murder. ‘Most of the Government officials and security officers who accompanied H.E the President to Washington have been interviewed’, the Report stated.


The Kenya police found no evidence of a dispute occurring and noted that the allegation was based on ‘mere hearsay attributed to Mr. Bethuel Kiplagat and Mr. Oddenyo by Mr. Mbajah and his sister Mrs. Randiak’, and that Kiplagat and Oddenyo had denied that there was any disagreement.


The ‘Further Investigations’ Report concluded that the allegation that the visit to Washington by Kenyan delegation had some bearing on the cause of Dr. Ouko’s death is baseless and without any supporting evidence’. [KPFI 7:3 (vi) page 35]


Oyugi’s movements were carefully checked and confirmed by the Kenya police, the Report states, and it finally concluded that, ‘Our enquiries have found no evidence to connect Mr. Oyugi with the disappearance and subsequent death of Dr. Robert John Ouko’. [KPFI 7:3 (xi) page 35]


WHAT DID JONAH ANGUKA KNOW AND WHAT DID HE HIDE?’


Jonah Anguka, a District Commissioner at Nakuru, is the only person to date to have been tried for the murder of Dr Robert Ouko.


Anguka graduated from Nairobi University in 1977 with a degree in political science. Recruited into Kenya’s provincial administration he underwent paramilitary training at the Embakasi General Service Unit (GSU) Training Centre. After various postings as a district officer he became the District Commissioner (DC) to Nakuru in 1986. As DC at Nakuru, Jonah Anguka was not a minor state functionary but part of Kenya’s internal security and intelligence organisation and based at the centre of the country’s political power structure.


It was in giving evidence to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry in 1991 that, the by then former Detective Superintendent John Troon of Scotland Yard (Troon retired from the Metropolitan Police in August 1991) implicated Jonah Oraro Anguka, the District Commissioner for Nakuru and a ‘neighbour’ of Dr Ouko (Anguka owned and farmed land in Koru) in Ouko’s murder.


Troon had hardly mentioned Jonah Anguka in his ‘Final Report’. Troon’s only reference to Anguka was in paragraph 186 of his ‘Report’ when he was relating the search for documents that Dr Ouko was said to have with him just prior to his murder. Troon related:


On 22nd of February I personally searched the safe in the presence of Mr John Anguka [Troon’s spelling and underlining] and retrieved a green file containing papers relevant to the Misumu land plots corruption. It is not known how the file became located in the safe or when it was placed there. Mrs Ouko was unaware of its existence and in fact at a much later stage in the investigations produced to me another file on the same subject which she had found in Dr Ouko’s papers at their Loresho address located in his study’. [TFR para 186]


Troon was being questioned on November 18th, 1991 by Justice Akiwumi, Justice Gicheru and Bernard Chunga (State Prosecutor) during the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Dr Ouko’s death when he raised the case for further investigation of Anguka. The transcript of the relevant hearing explains Troon’s reasoning:


Troon:        There is a possibility that Mr Anguka may have some involvement or knowledge.


Akiwumi:    Why do you think Anguka might have been on the periphery?


Troon:        My Lords, his actions had been known to me. I thought his actions on my arrival in

         Kenya in the first 48 hours or so would appear to me to be there is a possibility that he

         may as well have been planted in to found out what I was up to.


Chunga:    Planted in by whom, Mr Troon?


Troon:        Well, it could be anyone but it is someone in very high authority, my lords, and someone

         that was aware of my coming here and probably part of that planning.


Chunga:    But do you know who that someone is?


Troon:        Yes, Mr Anguka introduced me to Mr Oyugi whom I was made to believe was the person

         in charge of this inquiry, where the Commissioner of Police was working to…


Gicheru:    Now, what are you saying, Mr Troon? Are you saying Mr Anguka was planted there by

         Mr Oyugi?


Troon:        Well, it is a possibility, my lords. I can only say that from reflection, on looking back to

         my arrival, it is obvious to me now that Mr Anguka was put there for a specific purpose.

         And the only person I think could probably have done that must have been Mr Oyugi.

         Because Mr Anguka, as I understand, is directly responsible through the PC to Mr Oyugi.


Anguka had been arrested by the Kenya police on the 26th November, 1991 but released two weeks later on the 3rd December. He was re-arrested on 10th December and charged with the murder of Dr Ouko.


At the time the Kenya police completed their ‘Further Investigations’ Report into the death of Dr Ouko, Anguka was awaiting the decision of committal proceedings as to whether he would be sent to trial in the High Court. Although restricted by the legal process of possible pending action, The Kenya’ police Report  set out fourteen points of its ‘evidence gathered against’ Anguka:  [KPFI 7:2 pages 23-29]


(i) Anguka’s official car had covered 270 kilometres on the 12th/13th February, 1990 ‘with excess fuel he was unable to account for’. Anguka’s claim that his driver ‘might have made a mistake when writing the workticket’ was not found convincing by the Kenya police as it would have required a mistake both in recording the number of kilometres covered and in the record of excess fuel.


(ii) Anguka’s driver had gone to collect him for duty at 7.30am on the morning of the 13th February but he was asleep and didn’t wake up until ‘around 9.00am’ when he went on duty. ‘It was abnormal for Mr. Anguka to go on duty late’, the report noted.


(iii) ‘On or about 13th February, 1990, the Administration Police Constables who were on duty’ stated that Anguka had ‘returned home at about 5.00am’. Anguka had said he had been at home all night.


(iv) On the 13th February, 1990, Anguka had asked a Mr Haji, the Provincial Commissioner, Rift Valley Province, for permission to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi to ‘sort out urgent matters with the Permanent Secretary [Bethuel Kiplagat]’. He was granted permission but did not say why the matter was urgent.


(v) Anguka went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 14th February, met Bethuel Kiplagat and requested that his wife Mrs Susan Ngeso Anguka, Dr Ouko’s Personal Assistant, be transferred to Kenya’s Foreign Office in Bonn, West Germany. Anguka claimed that he was suffering from a bad back and ‘wanted to take the opportunity of his wife’s stay in Germany so he could get free travel documents and accommodation’ (and whilst there seek treatment).


(vi) On the 14th February Anguka telephoned Oyugi and reported the disappearance of Dr Ouko. He claimed he had been told of the disappearance by his wife. The Kenya police noted, ‘Dr Ouko did not come from his [Anguka’s] District or from Provincial Administration to necessitate him to ring Mr Oyugi at that hour’.


(vii) Anguka was ‘said to have travelled from Nakuru to Nyanza’ on the 15th February but it was ‘not clear as to where he was going and for what purpose’.


(viii) On the 16th February, Anguka travelled to Koru before Dr Ouko’s body was found by the police. He appeared to have no permission to leave his District, ‘no business in going to Koru’, and according to the Kenya police, gave no ‘reasonable explanation as to why he went there’.


(ix) On the 16th February, Anguka was at Dr Ouko’s Koru home when his wife Susan telephoned him and told him that Ouko’s body had been found. ‘Mr. Anguka burst into the room where Mrs. Christabel Ouko was being interviewed by Mr. Okoko, DCP who was leading the investigation’. Anguka broke the news that the body had been found whereupon Mrs Ouko collapsed screaming. Okoko quarrelled with Anguka for the manner in which he had broken the news. Again the Kenya police asked, why had Anguka gone to Koru? They surmised, ‘It is possible that he came to find out how much the family of Dr. Ouko and their workers knew about the disappearance of Dr. Ouko’.


(x) When Troon and his Scotland Yard team arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 21st February, 1990, Anguka met them and accompanied them to Kisumu. Thereafter he assigned himself the task of acting as an interpreter when a Mr. Maggero, SP had been assigned to do it. The Kenya police said Anguka offered no explanation as to why he had done so. They speculated that he wanted to know how much Troon knew about the murder.


(xi) Troon was assisted by Provincial C.I.D. Officer (Nyanza) Mr. Timbwa of the S/ACP and CI Lutubula but they felt Anguka was interfering in their work. Timbwa quarrelled with Anguka, reported him to Okoko who in turn reported him to the Director of Criminal Investigation Department. Eventually Oyugi, as Provincial Commissioner, Nyanza Province, ordered Anguka to return to his station in Nakuru. Again the Kenya police asked, why was he involving himself in the investigation?


(xii) According to the Kenya police, whilst the Judicial Commission was sitting, Anguka ‘summoned the Administrative Police Officers who were guarding his residence in Nakuru’ and asked them to say that he had been home on all evenings of the week running up to the day Dr Ouko was murdered.


(xiii) The two Administrative Police Officers who were guarding Anguka’s residence gave statements that on the morning of the 13th February, 1990, he did not return until 5.00am. 


(xiv) Although the Kenya police stated that a motive for Dr Ouko’s murder involving Anguka had not been established they ‘speculated’ that Dr Ouko had had a relationship with Mrs Susan Anguka, Jonah Anguka’s wife and that he tried to ‘quickly’ to ‘get his wife out of site and out of mind by arranging for her transfer to Bonn in West Germany’. The Kenya police stated, however, that ‘We have not been able to secure evidence to support that proposition’.


Jonah Ankuka was arrested on the morning of 10th December, 1991, and formally charged with the murder of Dr Robert Ouko. He spent 1,000 days in detention (his first trial was aborted following the death of the judge) and acquitted of Ouko’s murder in 1994.


Mr Justice Aganyanya accepted Anguka’s alibi that at 12.30am on the 13th February, 1990, the day that Ouko was murdered, he was being massaged by his nephew Oddotte and therefore the judge was not convinced that Anguka could not have travelled to Koru, murdered Ouko and returned to his house in time to be collected for work at 7.15am.


After his release Anguka went into ‘exile’ in the United States. In 1998 he published Absolute Power: The Ouko Murder Mystery..


Absolute Power: The Ouko Murder Mystery


In 2004 Professor David William Cohen and Professor E. S. Atieno Odhiambo published The Risks of Knowledge – Investigations into the Death of the Hon. Minister John Robert Ouko in Kenya, 1990. The analysis of Jonah Anguka’s case in Absolute Power set out below is largely based on their study.


The Risks of Knowledge was written before the information that Domenico Airaghi was a convicted fraudster became public knowledge which did so much to undermine the ‘Molasses Project’ theory, and before documents were released from President George Bush Snr’s Library and other sources to show that there had been no meeting between him and Dr Ouko during the ‘Washington Trip, the reason cited for the alleged row with President Moi and Nicholas Biowott.


Cohen and Odhiambo therefore largely accepted the Troon theories without question but their treatment of Absolute Power was nonetheless interesting and raised many questions.


They observed that according to Absolute Power, ‘Anguka was virtually always close to the center of the flow of events, but he positioned himself just far enough away that he could be considered “free” of culpability yet close enough that his observations would bear the authority of a near eyewitness to the murder and cover-up’. [TROK p140]


Anguka set out in the opening chapter of Absolute Power his close relationship with Dr Ouko and his family and their support for the Anguka family in times of trouble and stated that ‘whenever the Minister was travelling to or from Kisumu, during the daytime, he never lost an opportunity to visit my residence in Nakuru or at the office’. [TROK p147]


Anguka based his defence on ‘technically sufficient alibi’ for the night of February 12-13 and his close friendship with Robert Ouko. ‘In the instance of his relations with Ouko, Anguka’s book leaves his readers with nothing but a positive glow’. [TROK p139]


Yet as Cohen and Odhiambo noted, according to Anguka’s reconstruction of the two weeks leading to Dr Ouko’s murder, when for one reason or another he may have been in search of help and support, he did not call on Anguka, nor did Anguka seek him out. Others went to visit the Minister, or called him, on hearing the news of the accident, for example, but not Anguka.


Just before Dr Ouko’s murder his old friend Jonah Anguka, according to his own narrative, is hardly to be seen in contact with the Minister but afterwards he ‘happened to be here, there, and everywhere from virtually the first hours of Ouko’s disappearance’. [TROK p150]


‘Finally’, Cohen and Odhiambo stated, ‘the import of Anguka’s Absolute Power and of its multiple silences and indirections is located most concretely through its author’s daily and hourly involvement in and observations of the Ouko events’. [TROK 149]


Cohen and Odhiambo noted that Anguka was at the scene where the Ouko’s body was found within two hours of its discovery by the police. He was at Ouko’s Koru home to answer the phone in Ouko’s sitting room when Susan Anguka, his wife, called from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to tell him that the body had been found. He was the first to break the news of her husband’s death to Mrs Ouko. He was at the airport to meet the Scotland Yard team and he introduced Troon to Oyugi and told him the latter would oversee the investigation.  He was with Troon when the safe was opened in Ouko’s bedroom. He interposed himself as a translator when the maid Salina described seeing a white car to Troon. He was with the Kenyan pathologist at Got Alila Hill when Ouko’s body was first examined and he was also in Nairobi when Scotland Yard’s Dr Iain West undertook an autopsy.


For Cohen and Odhiambo, ‘Anguka’s partial and selective presence in the book was itself revealing.’ [TROK p151] Cohen and Odhiambo pondered how Anguka, by his story, was present at so many of the key events during the search for Ouko and the investigation into his murder but silent about his presence at others.  For them, how Anguka chose to write the story he was hardly present at all, except and especially when he could cast himself as a victim of the state’. [TROK 151]


He did not mention in Absolute Power that he was at the airport to meet Troon’s team, writing only, ‘on 21st February New Scotland Yard detectives arrived’ [Absolute Power p70]. Anguka did not mention that it he who had introduced Troon to Oyugi. He did not mention that he was at the autopsies or that he was the translator when Troon interviewed Salina Were. Nor did Anguka mention in his book, even to deny the claim, the affidavit of Barrack Mbajah that alleged he was one of the men that picked Ouko up from the Koru farm in the early hours of the 13th February.


Similarly, Anguka largely airbrushed his relationship with Hezekiah Oyugi from his account: Cohen and Odhiambo noted that, ‘In his treatment of his relations with Oyugi, Anguka… produced a range of fertile silences’[TROK p139], and that ‘otherwise the book is silent on Anguka’s relationship, official and private, with Hezekiah Oyugi. His exceptional access to Oyugi had no reciprocal aspect in Anguka’s telling, and that silence certainly “tells” a stronger story than Jonah Anguka intended.’ [TROK p149]


Ultimately for Cohen and Odhiambo it was what Anguka did not say that was as important, if not more telling, than what he did say in Absolute Power, and the way in which in that book ‘Anguka was virtually always close to the center of the flow of events, but he positioned himself just far enough away that he could be considered “free” of culpability yet close enough that his observations would bear the authority of a near eyewitness to the murder and the cover-up’. [TROK 140]


Pulling together their conclusions about Absolute Power, Professor’s Cohen and Odhiambo kept just on the side of legal rectitude given that they were writing about a man who had been acquitted of Dr Ouko’s murder.


On the story portrayed in Absolute Power they noted that, ‘These may be the moves of an innocent person, laying a broader claim to innocence and standing against the injustice that he suffered at the hands of Kenya’s government. But they were not the moves of an innocent author [their italics].’ [TROK p151]


And, having pointed to Anguka’s use of the interrogative throughout Absolute Power, Cohen and Odhiambo themselves finished the chapter on him in The Risks of Knowledge with the question: ‘But what did Jonah Anguka know, and what did he hide’. [TROK p157].