African Press International (API)

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Speaking out on murder that rocked the nation

Posted by African Press International on September 7, 2007

kaiser21.jpgBy Lucianne Limo

<The accused and his wife, with friends in the US. The is a man under siege. Wanted over a murder, his protestations of innocence from distant land bespeak of a bitter man, ready to face his accusers. Police want him in connection with the death of Mill Hill Missionary, Fr John Anthony Kaiser. But Francis Kiisikirr Kantai, who lives in the US, is seething with rage over claims that he knows more than he told the court.

The court recommended that he should be investigated to establish whether he played a role in the priests death.

Although I highly welcome any investigation, I feel like I am being sacrificed, abandoned and betrayed by my country and church, Kantai says.

He believes that the people who were summoned to testify at the inquest in Nairobi and Naivasha Law Courts were selected to implicate him.

Kantai, who is married to Kaisers cousin, Camille, says he is not afraid to clear his name.

“Why would I kill the priest? I had a very good relationship with him. He was my friend, my mentor and pastor, and for the last several months before his death, I was like a son,” he said.

The Roman Catholic Priest died on August 23, 2000, at Morendat junction near Naivasha-Nakuru highway.

In charge of Lolgorian Parish in Ngong Diocese then, he had lived and worked in various local parishes for about 40 years.

The priest was not only fluent in English, but also Kiswahili, Ekegusii and Maa.

Church refused to bless their marriage

After an inquest, the court trashed evidence advanced by the Americas Federal Bureau of Investigations that Kaiser committed suicide.Nairobi Chief Magistrate, Mrs Maureen Odero, ruled that the priest was murdered.

She therefore recommended that four suspects, among them Kantai, be investigated over their possible role in his death.

But speaking via telephone from his Nebraska home, Kantai insisted that he had no reason to kill the Father.

“Fr Kaiser was my whole world and I knew without him, life could have been hard. I loved my job and I couldnt jeopardise it. Besides, I had met this girl who was Kaisers relative (Camille) and he was the only link I had to her,” he recalls.

kaiser1.jpgKantai said he married on May 25,2002, in Monz, Zambia, after the Kilgoris church failed to respond to their request to bless their marriage.

He claims the church was not reluctant to accommodate him due to his rosy association with the dead parish head.

The couple later had their union blessed in a Catholic Church in the US, and now has three children Nakuyo Margaret, four, Lepiro Kaiser, two, and 10-week-old Nyamalo Grace.

Kantais relationship with Kaiser soured when he moved to Lolgorian Parish.

He at first worked as a catechist for the priest, but he says Kaiser assigned him more responsibilities.

He told me to recommend another catechist for him so that I could assist him fulltime in his quest for justice and peace, he added.

Kantai recalls an incident he describes as “very disturbing”.

“I slept at Mtakatifu Wote Centre and Kaiser at Mill Hill. He told me to meet him the following day at Mill Hill so we could go to Lolgorian,” he said.

At Mill Hill, the caretaker informed him that Kaiser was in the living room and upon entering, he found him watching a movie about a priest who shot himself.

“I sat behind him and watched him rewind this clip three times. I thought he was doing this while he waited for me, so I called him as he rewound the clip a fourth time. Father then stood up and said, “Twende (Lets go).”

He then remove the cassette from the machine,” he recalls.

Kantai explains that he was at his home in Nkararo when Kaiser was reported dead. And he swears that he did not know that Kaiser had plans to go to Nairobi on the day he died.

“This can be proved if Kaisers 2000 calendar could be found; that is where he wrote his (daily) plans,” he says.

Kantai, who moved to the US on October 3,2003, says no day passes without the priests name being mentioned in his home. It was for the love of the Father that he named his son after him to keep his memory, he says. “I felt lost when I heard about his death.”

And even though he looks forward to the revelation of who killed Kaiser, Kantai does not see what will come from him being questioning by police since he said “everything” at the inquest.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN tel +4793299739 or +4763002525

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