Dr Ouko’s murder was my 1000 days in hell – Former Nakuru DC Jonah Anguka
Posted by African Press International on March 4, 2016
By Dennis Onsarigo Sunday, Feb 28th 2016 at 09:33
Kenyans were dying to know who the faceless killers of Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Robert Ouko were two years after his murder on February 12, 1990.
But for the first time in 26 years, one among the three people arrested, charged but later acquitted for the murder of the man he described as a ‘friend and village mate,’ has broken his silence.
Jonah Anguka, then the Nakuru DC (District Commissioner) at the time of the murder relocated to Los Angeles, USA, from where he spoke to Case Files. Anguka lives in posh San Bernardino, California, with his wife, Susan Anguka – then Dr Ouko’s personal assistant at Foreign Affairs before murder.
Both are now senior officials working with the local county government in California.
And while two other people were arrested in connection with the murder, Anguka was the sole suspect tried in court for the murder of the minister who had lobbied for his appointment as DC. “He was a man I knew, a man I respected,” says Anguka who later wrote Absolute Power: The Ouko Murder Mystery, published in 1998.
Anguka told Case Files that he didn’t know Dr Ouko had even disappeared until he travelled to Nairobi for a meeting with the then Foreign Affairs PS, Bethwel Kiplagat.
“As I sat in the PS’s office, I heard about the minister’s trip to Gambia. I was not aware of it before. I later travelled to Nakuru, which was my work station. At the time, there was nothing amiss about the minister’s whereabouts,” but later that evening, Anguka says, he received a disturbing phone call.
“Dr Ouko’s wife called me and asked if I was aware that the minister was missing. I told her I was not aware. I called State House Nairobi and I was informed the president was in Rumuruti. I called Rumuruti and spoke to the Permanent Secretary Hezekiah Oyugi. Oyugi told me he and Moi had told Mrs Ouko that they were aware that Ouko had gone missing.”
The government did not appear concerned that a Cabinet minister was missing, two days after his family had made a public appeal, and four days after he was reported missing.
Before Dr Ouko’s body was discovered, Anguka says; “I called my wife and told her I was traveling to Koru (Ouko’s rural home). My wife later called and told me about a meeting where Kiplagat had told them (at Foreign Affairs) that Dr Ouko had been found murdered.”
Anguka’s wife recalled her husband had said he was going to Koru. “I called him and he was really shocked. He was already at the minister’s home” where Mrs Ouko was being interrogated by senior police officers about her husband’s disappearance.
They had not been informed that the minister was indeed dead.
“I decided to go in and tell her pole. When I opened the door, I realised she was in the dark. She cried and fainted on learning of the death. The homestead was in chaos,” recalls Anguka.
Attention swiftly shifted to Got Alila where Anguka came face to face with the lifeless body of a man he had called a neighbour and friend. “Dr Ouko was lying on his back….the body was burnt beyond recognition. There were items around the body…chills went down my spine,” says Anguka who later became a murder suspect.
It was the beginning of 1000 days in hell.