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Did President Moi Want Robert Ouko Dead?

The Lone Suspect

jonah anguka

Nakuru District Commissioner, Jonah Anguka, the only person charged with the murder of Ouko.

Some of the suspects like Biwott and Anguka were arrested for the murder of Dr. Ouko but were released after two weeks. Now this is where this story takes an even more bizarre twist. Let us focus on Jonah Anguka, the only individual who was eventually charged for the murder of Robert Ouko. Jonah Anguka can be best described as a patsy or a fall guy. This is someone who agrees to take the blame for someone who is more powerful. Still it backfired terribly on him. Jonah Anguka was dramatically arrested at the gates of statehouse. He was put under trial as the sole suspect for the murder of Robert Ouko.

Mr. Philip Rodi, the farm manager at Dr. Ouko’s home, who saw what transpired on the night the Minister was abducted, was recruited to implicate Mr. Anguka. The Special Branch coached him to do so and warned him against mentioning anyone else, especially, he was not to mention Nicholas Biwott. In his testimony before the Sunguh Committee, he explained that he feared Biwott would pounce on him if he mentioned his name. When the special branch took him to Nyati house, Mr. Kivuvani, Director of special branch, told him to implicate only DC. Anguka and they could give him money if he did so.

Philip Rodi was given Ksh. 50,000 (about 500,000 in today’s value) to leave out the name of Nicholas Biwott and implicate Jonah Anguka. He was further promised employment. He was employed as an office messenger at NSSF. He only worked for one month when he took an emergency leave when his child died and overstayed, consequently, he was sacked. He went back to Kivuvani and explained his predicament, and was promised another job. Soon, Kivuvani secured him an appointment letter at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), where he was employed as a security private. He found his appointment letter with Mr. Kivuvani in Nairobi. In both jobs, he did not apply. He never met Mr. Kivuvani again.

Jonah Anguka was put before Justice Fida Hussein Abdullah. The trial was technically a double trial because a few days to the end of the case, the judge complained of a stomach problem, in what he thought was a case of indigestion. The judge died two days later. If a new judge takes over a case, the trial has to start afresh. The case was handed over to justice Justice (Retired) Daniel Aganyanya, who acquitted Jonah Anguka. In his defense, Anguka presented his nephew in court who provided him with an alibi. On the night of February 12/13 when Ouko was abducted, the nephew testified that he was giving a massage to Anguka. Moreover, the judge found the nature of the crime so complex to be committed by one man. Evidently, this trial was sabotaged. First the initial judge died mysteriously and secondly, the prosecutor in this case was one Benard Chunga, who was a Moi favorite. At the time, Chunga was the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. In this position, he had led the crackdown on members of Mwakenya Movement. At the same time, Benard Chunga was the lead counsel for the Commission of inquiry formed to investigate the murder. It is the duty of the lead counsel to cross-examine witnesses. Chunga used this position to steer the witness into irrelevancies and made sure no meaningful evidence was tendered. In both positions, Chunga did well for his paymasters. As a result of his loyalty to Moi, he was appointed the Chief Justice in 1999. He was however kicked out when Kibaki assumed power in 2003. As for Anguka, as soon as he was acquitted, his masters began to fear that he could talk. He fled to USA, where he lives to this day in California, Texas.

The Disappearing Witnesses

daniel moi

Daniel Moi takes a salute. His government presided over the bloodiest cover up in Kenya’s history

Who were the three men that Michael Owiti, the driver to P.C Julius Kobia, ferried from Eldoret? Turns out, they were hired professional killers. They had been promised Ksh. 3 million to do the dirty work in the murder of the Minister but the amount was later raised to Ksh. 8 million when they complained. Afterwards, they disagreed over how to share their blood money. Two of them killed each other over this disagreement. The guy who remained was later killed by special branch officers so that he could not talk.

Hezekiah Oyugi was the other suspect. At the height of his power as the permanent secretary for internal security, Oyugi was a feared man. However, that came crushing down soon after he was implicated in the murder of Ouko. Oyugi was among the individuals initially arrested for the murder then released. By this time, he had been sacked. It is possible that his conscience ate him up and he changed his mind; against expectations, the former PS offered to testify before the commission inquiry. But he made one blunder that a man of his experience should not have made, he contacted the commission by phone. They were tapping his calls. One day in June 1992, Oyugi contacted the commission on a Thursday and was due to appear the next week. That Thursday evening, he fell ill and deteriorated fast. The family wanted to take him abroad, but the Government denied them permission to do so. By the time the Government allowed them to take him to Britain, it was too late. He died shortly thereafter. The Government forbid the family from conducting a post mortem. Neither the President, nor members of his cabinet attended Oyugi’s funeral in Rongo on August 8 1992.

Remember Peter Kuria Muhoro, the D.O from Kericho who discovered the body on February 13, well, it did not go well for him. After this incident Kuria, was transferred severally to areas considered dangerous – West Pokot, Marsabit, and Turkana among others. In West Pokot, he had problems with his Administration Police Officers and he suspected that some forces instigated the problems. Peter Kuria’s wife was teaching at Loreto Convent in Limuru. One day in 1991, uniformed officers who came in a GK Vehicle ransacked her house. In 1992, Kuria confided to his father that he wished to retire due to the frustrations he was being subjected to. Kuria told his father that his troubles were as a result of the discovery of the body of Dr. Ouko and that his biggest worry was that the Government was lying when it released a statement on February 15 that Dr. Ouko had disappeared yet the provincial administration and the local people had found the body on February 13. One month later after the talk between father and son, the father received news that he had been killed. Peter Kuria, was shot at close range by one Francis Mwabembe, a Special Branch officer he had worked with in Kitui. The officer claimed that he mistook Peter to be a thief. Mwabembe was charged for murder and later acquitted and promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police while still on trial. The promotion was like congratulation for a job well done.

Philip Kilonzo was the commissioner of police at the time of Dr. Ouko’s murder. In 1992, he retired to his rural home in Matuu. The dark forces followed him there. On 1 July 1997, he was drinking a cold one with a friend in his bar. In the middle of the drink, he stepped out to talk to a friend. When he came back to his drink, he said, “This beer tastes different, what have you done to it?” Probably at that time, it hit him what had happened. But those were the last words he ever said. He died later that day.

Mohammed Aslam was chairperson of the Pan African Bank, which was used by Moi and Biwott to conduct their businesses. By extension, Aslam was the agent for Moi and Biwott. Marriane Briner mentioned him as the person who collected the commissions for Nicholas Biwott. A few days after being mentioned by Briner, he developed fatigue and dizziness. He died shortly thereafter.

Nehemiah Shikuku Ombati was a senior assistant commissioner of police, who was assigned the doomed role of interrogating and investigating Nicholas Biwott. After Biwott was released, Ombati was immediately transferred to a junior position in Nakuru. In August 1992, he fell ill and died of liver failure in August 8 1992, the same day they were burying, Hezekiah Oyugi.

There are many more police officers and crucial witnesses who perished in questionable circumstances especially in 1992. Another notable mysterious death was that of Dorothy Randiak, Dr. Ouko’s sister, who was the closest family confidant of Dr. Ouko. Even when KANU left power, the KANU state was still active. When Marriane Briner came to testify in the Gor Sunguh committee in 2004, she was warned against mentioning Daniel Moi’s name. She did not heed the warning. She was staying with friends in Karen. Thereafter the German embassy (she is a German citizen) warned her that her phone was being tapped. The situation got so bad she had to seek residence in the German embassy. When it came time to leave Kenya, the embassy escorted her in an armored diplomatic vehicle to JKIA. On the way to JKIA, they met two heavily armed police roadblocks, unfortunately, police cannot arbitrarily search diplomatic vehicles. When they got to the airport, the deputy ambassador who was escorting her delivered her up to the doorsteps of the Swiss plane she was boarding and ensured the door was locked and the plane had leapt into the air before he left the airport. Remember this happened during a time when Kibaki’s Government was still relatively new and unsympathetic to KANU elements. Now what for Moi? Read the gripping conclusion in the next page.

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10 Comments on Did President Moi Want Robert Ouko Dead?

  1. 1

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    Justice has already been done, the good book say’s that the same yardstick you use for others it shall be used on you, the same measure you use on others the same shal be used on you, and even swahili saying say’s malipo ni hapa hapa duniani, probably the reason they( the killers) are alive for judgment to take effect on them. Poor souls.

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    Whenever i read a story abt dr.ouko,am left with a deep anger inside. esp knowing dat de killers were never brought to justice. I was jus 7 years old then,but i still rem the newspaper headline of friday,Feb 16,1990 abt de horror that was on ouko’s body. it was shocking,really shocking. Good work p.k. What did they gain from the killing esp people like Oyugi,who were killed as well.

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      Sorry, i meant the newspaper headline of sunday,feb 18th,1990.

    • 3

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      Thanks for that insight. Personally, I think this murder hurt a lot of people of people because Ouko was a good man. . . People like Hezekiah Oyugi and Jonah Anguka thought that by helping in the murder, they were securing their long-term stay in KANU government. Unfortunately, the same government turned against them viciously after the murder.

  3. 0

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    True,exclusive and reliable piece of information about the ministers death

  4. 1

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    wow! i was an 11 year boy when he died but i still recall being asked to leave school after riots rocked Nakuru town where i was schooling…nice work.

    • 2

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      Thanks for your feedback. In 1990, I was only a kid. I started to hear about Ouko in 2003 when Moi left. I was an avid reader of newspapers then. When doing research for the story, I could not believe that these things could happen and no one was ever held to account. The worst thing is that in the end, Justice is not done.

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