Why these questions must be answered in solving mystery of Robert Ouko murder

By Martin Minns

Five years ago I started research for a book on how the telling of the story of the murder of Dr Robert Ouko, Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs whose body was found 24 years ago today, has been used to cover up the truth as to who really killed him and why. I believe that one or more of his killers, and others who know the truth of Ouko’s murder, are still alive.

There are also comparisons to be made with proceedings at the ICC and the TJRC: unidentified witnesses, shielded witnesses, western governments and their agencies attempting to influence events or effect ‘regime change’, and the shady role of some NGOs and ‘civil society’ groups.

There is certainly sufficient evidence to prove that the Ouko murder story as told to date cannot be true.

Eye witness testimony and forensic evidence proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Dr Ouko was killed on the morning of 13th February, 1990, shot dead where his body was found near his Koru farm: he was not, and could not therefore, have been killed in State House Nakuru.

Some of the theories as to possible motives for Dr Ouko’s murder set out in the Scotland Yard detective John Troon’s ‘Final Report’ have also been utterly disproved.

The theory that Ouko was murdered because he was investigating corruption surrounding the Kisumu Molasses project involving bribes supposedly sought from rival companies supported by Ouko and Nicholas Biwott, is without foundation. The US company F C Schaffer that got the Molasses contract was nominated and paid for by the US Embassy and USAID under the stewardship of Dalmas Otieno, the then Minister of Industry.

The sources of the Kisumu Molasses project theory have also been utterly discredited. They were Domenico Airaghi, who had been convicted of “attempted extortion” by a Milan Court on 17 March, 1987, and his mistress and accomplice, Marianne Briner-Mattern.

Airaghi and Briner-Mattern were supposedly ‘directors’ of a company called BAK, engaged by Dr Ouko to rehabilitate the Kisumu Molasses project but their ‘company’ was proven to be a sham, having never traded, or been properly incorporated until strangely, or coincidentally, BAK was registered on 13th February, 1990, the day that Ouko was murdered.

Troon’s second theory was that during a visit to Washington by ministers and officials led by President Moi, Ouko had met with President Bush, or embarrassed Moi, leading to a ‘conflict’ and a possible motive for Ouko’s murder, a story later embellished to run that Ouko had been ‘sacked’, returning on a separate flight.

There is however no evidence whatsoever to support the ‘Washington trip theory’ and a great deal of evidence that disproves it, including photographs in media files showing Dr Ouko returning with the Kenyan delegation to Nairobi.

Telexes from the US authorities released under the US Freedom of Information Act in 2011, state that the trip had gone well and there is also overwhelming evidence from multiple sources, not least from President Bush’s official’s, that he and Ouko did not meet during the Washington trip.

One telex sent from the US Embassy only a week after Dr Ouko’s body had been found, is particularly revealing. It reports that the embassy officials were told of the ‘Washington trip theory’, that Ouko had ‘upstaged’ Moi and met privately with President Bush, but it goes on to state: “We have flatly refuted the premises of both these ‘explanations’ in private conversations but find that our denials have little effect on our Kenyan interlocutors, who, having made up their minds, are adamant that this ‘must be’ the truth”.Thus, the ‘Washington trip theory’ was born.

The US Embassy telexes and other evidence suggest that from the outset of the investigation into Ouko’s murder, several people attempted to misdirect attention to certain theories and individuals and that ironically one or more of these “interlocutors” may indeed have been themselves responsible for his murder.

The telexes also disclose that a “deal” was struck between US officials and two suspects in the case, DC Jonah Anguka, Ouko’s Koru neighbour and husband to Ouko’s secretary, and Barrack Mbajah, Ouko’s estranged brother, both subsequently given ‘asylum’ in the US.

A telex from the British High Commission in Nairobi also refers to the fact that “before the formal inquest [Gicheru Commission of Inquiry] there will be a meeting at which senior judges will review the Scotland Yard investigation, presumably to make quite sure no surprises emerge at the inquest.”

What were the “surprises” the British had in mind? Who were the “senior judges”? Who were the “interlocutors” briefing the US Embassy? What was the “deal” struck with Anguka and Mbajah?

These questions and many others need to be answered if the true story of Dr Ouko’s murder is to be told.

Martin Minns is a freelance writer/communications consultant based in Nairobi [email protected]