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Ochuka’s family tells of tribulations

By | July 19th 2011

By Anderson Ojwang

The family of the suspected 1982 coup leader Hezekiah Ochuka told Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) that a lawyer given by the Government to represent him did not involve them in the proceedings and matters relating to the case.

Mr Robert Onyango Akuro, a nephew of the Late Private Hezekiah Ochuka leaves the Aga Khan Hall in Kisumu after testifying before the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission on Monday. Photo: James Keyi/Standard

Ochuka’s nephew Robert Onyango Akuro told the commission the lawyer Moses Wetang’ula who is now the Ford-Kenya chairman did not contact the family and never shared anything Ochuka told him. "Wetang’ula never contacted the family and has shared nothing with the family that Ochuka told him. We do not know why the lawyer never bothered to consult and inform us about Ochuka," he told the Commission.

Government choice

He claimed there was a letter Ochuka had written to the family giving the names of the lawyers he wanted to represent him but the family was poor and could not afford the legal fees.

Onyango said Ochuka was not given the opportunity to choose his lawyer and Wetang’ula was chosen by the Government.

He said attempts by the family to meet with former President Moi to plead for Ochuka were thwarted by security officers and the family became ostracised.

"Our family has been abandoned and nobody would associate with us for fear of arrest," he told the Commission.

Onyango said they have not received any official documents of Ochuka including his death certificate, and other personal records.

"Ochuka had a bank account with the Bank of Baroda and a house in Umoja in Nairobi, a tailoring business in Gikomba and a vehicle. We have not been told anything about these assets and others," he said. Onyango said the family would wish to know where the body of Ochuka was buried to undertake traditional Luo burial rites.

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