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Kenya’s longest serving spy chief James Kanyotu is dead. He died last night at Nairobi Hospital where he had been rushed for treatment. It has still not been revealed to the press what he was suffering from. He was 76.
Kanyotu led the infamously cruel Special Branch from 1965 to 1991. Interestingly circumstances surrounding his dismissal by Moi in 1991 are worth noting here. It is said that shortly after then Health Minister in the Moi government, Mwai Kibaki announced his resignation from government in Mombasa on Christmas day 1991, then president Moi called Kanyotu and angrily asked him why he had not been made aware that Kibaki was resigning from his cabinet to form a political party. Kanyotu replied politely that he was not aware. Moi asked him angrily what he would do if he fired him. Kanyotu politely replied that that was the prerogative of the president. And that’s how Kanyotu left.
It is widely believed that Moi thought at the time that Kanyotu had held back the information from him deliberately because he came from the same tribe as Kibaki. Those who know Kanyotu say that he was too professional for that and are still very surprised that the man ever got involved in Goldenberg.
Moi seems to have had a phobia concerning Kibaki’s perceived political clout and