In Summary
  • His wife Christabel Ouko died without witnessing any of the suspects convicted.
  • At Koru, about 50 km west of Kisumu City, stands the Dr Robert Ouko Memorial Community Library.

Who killed Dr Robert Ouko? This is a question that puzzles both family and friends of the former Foreign Affairs Minister, 28 years after his assassination.

Dr Ouko disappeared from his farm in Koru village, Muhoroni Constituency in Kisumu County, on the night of February 12, 1990.

On February 16, the government announced that his body had been found at Got Alila, a few kilometres from his home.

The body had been mutilated and burnt.

Twenty-eight years later, Kenyans are still waiting to see the minister’s killers brought to book.

Former Kisumu East MP Erick Gor Sunguh, who chaired a parliamentary select committee investigating the death, says: “His killers are well-known”.

“My committee was the first to carry out an investigation in London, where we engaged officials from the New Scotland Yard before we tabled our report in Parliament.

"But, unfortunately, it was never debated. It was not an easy task,” Mr Sunguh says.

He adds: “The evidence is well-documented in our report. It is upon MPs to revisit the matter. They can even conduct fresh investigations.”

Not all however are ready to discuss the murder.

At his native home in Nyahera, Kisumu West Constituency, villagers are cautious when talking about it.

“Many witnesses have lost their lives in mysterious circumstances. We would not want to be part of the statistics,” a villager in Nyahera says.

Luo Council of Elders chairman Ker Willis Opiyo Otondi, from Nyahera village, says:

“It has taken many years and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. But we won’t tire to call for justice.”

Mr Otondi however expresses fear that a probe and prosecution may not be concluded owing to lack of commitment “by the powers that be”.

“There is very little we can do as a community but we hope that one day justice shall prevail,” Mr Otondi says.

Mr Michael Otieno, quoting American social reformer Frederick Douglass, says:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

“It is for this reason that sobriety needs to prevail in any probe on Dr Ouko’s death and other assassinations,” Mr Otieno says.

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