This is a list of some of the main characters discussed in this documentary. It is by no means exhaustive.
Dr John Robert Ouko, always known as Robert or Bob, was born in Nyahera village near Kisumu, on 31 March 1931. After schooling he trained as a primary school teacher
but went on to attend the Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduating with a degree in Public Administration, Economics and Political Science in 1962, and later gained a Diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy at Makere University in Uganda.
Ouko worked in public administration from 1963 and first entered politics as a ‘nominated MP’ in 1977. Two years later in 1979 he was elected as MP for the Kisumu Rural constituency.
He served as the Minister in the ministries of Economic Planning and Community Affair, Labour, and Industry but he is best known as Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, an office he held twice, first appointed by President Daniel arap Moi in 1981 until 1983 and again after the 1988 election until his death in February 1990.
Christabel Ouko is the wife of Robert Ouko. They married in October 1965 following Ouko’s divorce from his first wife. Christabel had been studying for a BA at university but left to get married before she finished her studies. The Ouko’s had seven children.
Selina Were was Dr Robert Ouko’s housemaid at his Koru farm at the time of his murder. In her testimony to the New Scotland Yard investigation
team she said that about 3am on the morning that Ouko disappeared (Tuesday February 13th, 1990) she was awoken by what she thought was a door slamming. Selina said that she then left her room and walked outside to see a white vehicle turning at the lower gate to Ouko’s Koru farm but she did not see anyone in the vehicle, or get into it.
Selina Were died aged 68 in 2012, over 22 years after Ouko’s murder.
Detective Superintendent John H B Troon from the Metropolitan Police International and Organised Crime Branch, headed the New Scotland
Yard team that was called in by President Moi in February 1990 to investigate the death of Dr Robert Ouko.
Troon joined the Metropolitan Police in 1960 and retired in 1990 after the Ouko investigation. His ‘Final Report’, delivered to Kenya’s the Attorney General Mr Justice Matthew Guy Muli in September 1990, has formed the basis for the subsequent inquiries and commissions that have since looked into Dr Ouko’s murder.
Hezekiah Oyugi was the Permanent Secretary in The Ministry of Internal Affairs at the time of Dr Ouko’s murder. Feared by many he was at the centre of Kenya’s intelligence and security system and was reputed to have developed his own parallel intelligence organisation.
For a time Oyugi was seemingly indispensible figure in President Moi’s administration but he was sacked in November 1990 and shortly thereafter arrested as part of the Kenya Police’s investigations into Ouko’s murder. He was however released two weeks later.
Hezekiah Oyugi died in a British hospital 2 ½ years after the Ouko murder whilst being treated for a motor neurone disease, a progressive disease of the nervous system.
Nicholas Biwott was Kenya’s Minister of Energy at the time of Dr Robert Ouko’s murder. Biwott, a close associate of President Daniel arap Moi, was one of the two main
targets of (the other being Hezekiah Oyugi) of New Scotland Yard’s detective John Troon’s ‘Final Report’.
Nicholas Biwott however is an odd figure in the Ouko story. His name was hardly mentioned in the first five weeks into Ouko’s murder. He was undoubtedly a ‘big beast’ of Moi’s Kanu regime but all the evidence is against Biwott’s involvement in the murder.
The possible motives given by Troon (who never interviewed Biwott) for Biwott’s possible involvement in Ouko’s murder – the ‘Washington trip theory’ and the ‘Kisumu Molasses theory’ – have been discredited.
Eston Barrack Mbajah is the eldest brother after Dr Robert Ouko in the (the others being Maurice, William and Collins (deceased), and a sister Dorothy (deceased).
Barrack Mbajah is the principle source of the ‘Washington trip theory’ that there was some sort of row on a ‘Prayer Breakfast’ trip to the Washington after Robert Ouko had supposedly met with President George W Bush, a meeting which Mbajah claimed had angered Energy Minister Nicholas Biwott.
Mbajah however, had not been on the Washington trip and his testimony was hearsay (he claimed to have heard the story from a Malachi Oddenyo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was also not on the Washington trip and denied telling Mbajah of any row), and evidence has since been uncovered that proves there was no meeting between Ouko and Bush during the Washington trip.
Dorothy Randiak was Robert Ouko’s sister and the secondary source of the Washington Trip theory as to the motive for his murder, the other being her and Ouko’s brother Barrak Mbajah. Randiak however was not on the Washington trip and her testimony was hearsay.
She claimed to have heard the story of some sort of row on the trip from Bethuel Kiplagat, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but Kiplagat denied ever telling her of a dispute. Randiak’s allegation however, only appears in her third statement to the British police and she did not mention it in her previous two statements.
Randiak also gave a different cause for the row to that given by Barrack. She claimed it arose from a press conference Ouko had given in Washington which she suggested had angered President Moi but the transcript and video footage of the event that have since become available do not support Randiak’s allegation.
Bethuel Kiplaget was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Affairs at the time of Dr Robert Ouko’s murder. A highly respected career diplomat he had been Kenya’s Ambassador to France (1978-81) and the United Kingdom (1981-83). He was appointed Chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (2012-13) although his tenure was interrupted by disputes with other Commissioners.
Domenico Airaghi was an Italian whose company BAK were appointed by Dr Robert Ouko to obtain funding and identify appropriate contractors for
the rehabilitation of the Kisumu Molasses Plant in Ouko’s constituency (1987-88).
Airaghi, together with his partner Marianne-Briner Mattern, become the source of the ‘Kisumu Molasses Project theory’ as to a motive for Dr Robert Ouko’s murder, that senior Kenyan Government ministers and officials had demanded bribes to allow the project to go forward.
The British New Scotland Yard detective John Troon accepted Aiarghi’s testimony because he said he and Briner-Mattern were honest people running a reputable company. It has since be proved however, that throughout the period that Ouko and Troon were dealing with Airaghi he was a convicted extortionist (Milan Court April 14 1987) out on bail (conviction upheld July 1991).
Airaghi and Briner-Mattern’s ‘company’ BAK was also proven not to have formally existed and had never traded. An entity of it was only finally incorporated under Swiss law on the 13th February 1990, the day that Dr Robert Ouko was murdered.
Airaghi was expelled from Kenya in March 1989 for ‘interference in Government matters’.
Domenico Airaghi was believed to be a minor Mafia figure, something he tacitly admitted in an interview for Europea magazine in December 1987 in which claimed to have attempted to handle money through an intermediary on behalf of Frank Sinatra.
Marriane Briner-Mattern was a Swiss-German woman, who together with her partner Domenico Airaghi were supposedly directors of a company BAK appointed by Dr Robert Ouko to obtain funding and identify appropriate contractors for the rehabilitation of the Kisumu Molasses Plant in Ouko’s constituency (1987-88).
Briner-Mattern was New Scotland Yard’s Detective Superintendent John Troon’s primary source for the ‘Kisumu Molasses Project theory’ as to a motive for Dr Robert Ouko’s murder, that senior Kenyan Government ministers and officials had demanded bribes to allow the project to go forward.
Troon accepted Briner-Mattern’s testimony because he said she was an honest person running a reputable company. It has since be proved however, that throughout the period that Ouko and Troon were dealing with Briner-Mattern’s partner Airaghi he was a convicted extortionist (Milan Court April 14 1987) out on bail from a Milan court. Briner-Mattern had been his accomplice.
Briner-Mattern’s and Airaghi’s ‘company’ BAK was also proven not to have formally existed and had never traded. An entity of it was only finally incorporated under Swiss law on the 13th February 1990, the day that Dr Robert Ouko was murdered.
At the Parliamentary Select Committee hearings (2004-05) Briner-Mattern changed her testimony to allege that Ouko was murdered because he knew that President Moi was being provided with Ugandan prostitutes. She also claimed to have had an ‘intimate’ relationship with Moi.
Joab Omino was a wealthy and determined opponent of Dr Robert Ouko’s who stood against him in his constituency in the elections of 1988. Omino was reputedly
supported by other wealthy local backers, according to some by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Hezekiah Oyugi and former Attorney General Charles Njonjo (because Dr Ouko had given testimony against him in 1982 during the Commission of Inquiry into the attempted coup against President Moi).
It was alleged that Dr Ouko had received threats from Omino and his associates that he would be killed if he won the election, and that Ouko was very frightened.
Omino denied any involvement in Ouko’s murder but New Scotland yard detective John Troon was not satisfied that he had a sufficient alibi for the morning that Ouko was murdered.
Jonah Anguka was the District Commissioner in Nakuru at the time of Dr Robert Ouko’s murder and his wife Susan was Ouko’s Personal Assistant. Anguka was a friend of the Minister’s and farmed land next to Ouko’s Koru farm.
Anguka is the only person to have been tried for Dr Robert Ouko’s murder. He was however acquitted of Ouko’s murder on 29th July 1994.
Anguka subsequently fled Kenya and gained asylum in the United States where he completed work on a book Absolute Power. His book was in turn the subject of a study by Professors Odhiambo and Cohen in their book The Risks of Knowledge.
Susan Anguka was District Commissioner Jonah Anguka’s wife and Dr Robert Ouko’s Personal Assistant at the time of his murder.
The day after Ouko’s murder (13th February 1990), Jonah Anguka travelled to Nairobi to meet with Permanent Secretary Bethuel Kiplagat to request that his wife be transferred to Kenya’s embassy in Bonn (then ‘West Germany’).
When Susan Anguka took up her post in Bonn is unclear, nor is it clear if she was ever interviewed by the British New Scotland Yard team led by Detective Troon.
Both the British and Kenyan Police received allegations that Susan Anguka had had an affair with Robert Ouko but both dismissed the allegation.
James Onyango K’Oyoo said he was a friend of Dr Robert Ouko (K’Oyoo’s father farmed land next to Ouko’s farm in Koru) and was his ‘Youth Campaigner’ at the time of the 1988 election.
In March and April 1990 K’Oyoo gave two written statements to the police. Neither made any mention of a possible motive for Ouko’s murder, or of who may have killed him.
But over a year later at the Public Inquiry suddenly K’Oyoo made a plea to the Commissioners for his protection. Thereafter his story changed completely. Now he alleged that Energy Minister Nicholas Biwott, a name he had never mentioned before, had opposed Dr Ouko over the revival of the Kisumu Molasses plant.
K’Oyoo’s testimony was essentially a variation of the allegations first made by Briner-Mattern and Domenico Airaghi that have since been discredited. The question is: why did K’Oyoo 1 ½ years after he made his original written statements change his story to provably false allegations that he’d never mentioned before?
K’Oyoo was later arrested by the Kenyan Police in November 1991 but released without charge.
In 2013 James Onyango K’Oyoo was elected Member of Parliament for Muhoroni.