He will go down in history as Kenya’s most ham-fisted chief government pathologist.
Though he brought to the fore the role of forensics in criminal investigations, he puzzled many with assertions that bordered on extreme absurdity.
Dr Jason Kaviti was bright; very bright, considering he was an Alliance High School alumnus.
But that was debatable when he appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into the murder of Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Robert Ouko on February 12, 1990.
The man from Kisau Location, Makueni County, claimed that Ouko committed suicide. No problem. But Kaviti’s version of how the suicide took place was what made him infamous.
Ouko’s charred body was found mutilated, away from his Koru home in Got Alila, four days after he went missing.
The murder, which caused countrywide riots, had to be explained. And who better suited the role than the chief government pathologist?
This was his area.
Jason Ndaka Kaviti said that Ouko had shot himself in the head, before dousing his 59-year-old body with petrol and setting himself ablaze.
He also explained that Ouko had broken bones on his right ankle, broken by probably a “blunt or sharp force.” During his postmortem, Kaviti, who discovered bullet fragments in Ouko’s skull, concluded that the cause of death was “severe brain damage following a bullet wound to the head and subsequent burning.”
This went down as Kaviti’s ‘Suicide Theory’ when he appeared at the Gicheru Commission of Inquiry, and later a Parliamentary Select Committee probing Ouko’s murder.
But the theory had Scotland Yard Detective John Troon and forensic pathologist Dr Ian West disabusing Kaviti of such pathological posturing when they entered the scene in 1990.
It was not the first time Kaviti was making such far-fetched claims. In 1988, he said British photographer Julie Ward had been killed by wild animals or struck by lightning, yet she was murdered and her body dismembered to disguise the crime.
The man who later disowned his own ‘Suicide Theory’ 14 years later, claimed the reports were made under duress. He died in October 2011.