Ouko’s brother takes secrets of minister’s murder to grave
The death of Barrack Mbajah has diminished hopes of ever unravelling the murder mystery of the late Foreign Affairs minister Dr Robert Ouko.
As the younger brother of the former minister, Mbaja, 79, was considered a key witness in revealing identities of people who may have been involved in Ouko’s kidnapping and gruesome murder.
He died in an American hospital on Monday where he had been undergoing treatment after suffering a stroke five years ago.
His younger brother, Maurice Seda, now reveals that Mbaja’s health deteriorated after he was also detained and tortured at Nyayo House for a week in 1990 soon after Ouko’s macabre murder.
“Since then, my brother’s health has never been the same again. We do not know what happened when he was detained,” Seda said.
Before he was flown to America, Mbajah had reportedly made unsuccessful attempts to reach out to President Uhuru Kenyatta to present to him what he termed as serious dossier that would help in closing the chapter of the late Ouko’s murder.
According to Seda, Mbajah had sworn affidavits with details of the perpetrators of the heinous act that had not yet been made public.
Seda stated: “He kept on insisting that he wanted to meet the President to present to him a secret document.
He often told us that unknown people snatched the first document from him, though he had another one with serious details that even us were not aware of”.
Mbaja’s death is a big blow to the larger Ouko family who has been seeking justice for 30 years.
“It is unfortunate that my brother has died with crucial evidence that would have probably helped in bringing the murderers of Ouko to book.
We have lost hope in this, and as a family, we are asking God to guide us,” said Seda.
Mbajah had testified in several commissions that were formed to unravel the death of his late brother and insisted that he knew his killers.
In his last interview with this writer at his Nyahera home last year before he was flown to America, Mbajah disclosed that some of those who killed his brother were still alive.
He said: “I know those who killed my brother. They have also been after me but I will give details when the right time comes”.
He went on to reveal that the late Ouko gave him a note that included names of persons who the former minister suspected were after his life before the late former President Daniel Moi announced that his body had been found at the foot of Got Alila in present day Muhoroni Constituency.
“It is true he mentioned such a thing but never gave us details. He kept on insisting that he would give the details at the right time. But now he is dead we don’t know where to start from”.
While testifying before the parliamentary commission that was chaired by former Kisumu East MP Gor Sunguh in 2004, Mbajah claimed he was offered a cabinet post and money by Moi to take part in the cover-up of his late brother.
He said that he and his wife were later tortured after they refused the offer and were kept under close surveillance.
He eventually went into exile in the United States in October, 1990 and returned to Kenya in 2003 after the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) took over government.
But even he came back to the country, the late Mbajah was still living in fear, and at one time wrote to the former Nyanza police boss Bakari Jambeni to request for security.
The police boss agreed to offer him security after he claimed that unknown people had been trailing him for two days from Kisumu to his Nyahera home.
He unsuccessfully vied for the then Kisumu West parliamentary seat after the demise of former MP Joab Omino in 2003.
Before the murder of the late Ouko, Mbajah served as deputy provincial commissioner for Nakuru in the now defunct Rift valley province in 1985 before being transferred as the Deputy Secretary at the Attorney General’s office.
A herdsman identified as Paul Shikuku, found the charred remains of the late Ouko near his farm.
Crucial witnesses including former cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott, Permanent secretary Hezikiah Oyugi, and former police commissioner Philip Kilonzo have since died.
Ouko’s widow, Christabel Ouko, also died two years ago in a road accident near Awasi on her way to Koru after attending the swearing-in ceremony of Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o in Kisumu.
Others who have also died include Ouko’s maid Selina Were, his driver Otieno Yogo and his close friend and special branch officer Hannington Ochwada.
Yesterday, Seda said that they were making plans to bring the body back home for burial.
“We are meeting as a family to see how we can transport his body from America for a send off.”