The darkest and most dangerous secrets of Moi’s administrationThe truth is that Robert Ouko did not lose his life only because of the careless comment by the Americans. Actually the American incident triggered something that was already in the works. Ouko actually died because of a woman.
Moi did not live in State House with a wife. Indeed he had abandoned Lena Moi years before in the late sixties (this is another long story that I will tell towards the end of this post). For such a powerful man to have NO wife in State House is asking for trouble. Trouble of the woman kind. Wives protect their husbands from more dangers than men will ever admit or even realize in 100 years. And Moi was after all only human and not a demi-god (if you half-believed some of the songs that were being sang in his praise). What started as an exercise to boost Moi’s self confidence and help him settle into the presidency escalated dangerously and hopelessly out of control. In fact at one time one of his cabinet ministers Peter Oloo Aringo from Nyanza (then a minister of education) stood up in public and called Moi “The prince of peace”. Those who have read the good book are aware of the fact that Jesus Christ is referred to as the Prince of Peace.
And so you can be sure that Moi was vulnerable to all sorts of advances from women who came into contact with him. One such woman was a Swiss national who originally hailed from Germany by the name Marianne Brinner. Ms Brinner had actually had an affair for some years with Njoroge Mungai a member of Kenyatta’s deadly inner cabinet. Things went sour in the relationship when Mungai asked Ms Brinner to marry him in a traditional African ceremony (since Mungai was already married in church.) Brinner took counsel from the Germany embassy in Nairobi where she was told that it would be a deadly error to get married to Njoroge Mungai a man who was deeply involved in the politics locally. That was sound advice for somebody who understands Kenyan politics but Mr Mungai took it personally as some kind of rejection from Brinner. And so he never lost any opportunity to make her feel jealous by arriving at functions with all kinds of stunning looking young ladies at his side. Brinner decided that she needed to exact some long-lasting revenge and looked around for the person who would make Mungai feel most jealous if she started an affair with them. By the way all this information about Brinner’s motives is from her own confessions to this writer and she even once had a blog where she announced it all to the world. Ms Brinner’s eyes landed and rested on Daniel arap Moi who at the time was president of the republic of Kenya. They say that if a man wants a woman chances are high that he will fail, BUT if a woman wants a man, God help the man!!
And so a secret love affair between Moi and Brinner commenced. It is instructive to note that neither ended the affair. It was in fact Nicholas Biwott who organized for Brinner to be deported from the country without Moi’s knowledge. Moi was angry but later realized that Brinner would have been murdered if he insisted on her returning. Biwott’s motivation as you may have guessed was that he did not want any competition when it came to influencing the president and Brinner had already demonstrated that she was capable of getting a lot of donor help for Kenya which was corruption and kick-back free. The very opposite of what Biwott had in mind.
Before Brinner was deported, Biwott warned her several times. But the really unfortunate incident came when Biwott launched an illegal prostitute’s ring in Mombasa and Moi only later discovered what was going on. The scheming Biwott knew Moi was very angry and was going to end his highly lucrative operation in Mombasa and so he organized for one of his best Ugandan sex goddesses to visit State House and the president. And so by getting Moi involved, the crafty Biwott bought insurance to ensure that his illegal business in Mombasa that mainly targeted American sailors was safe. Biwott also made sure that Brinner heard about this little caper and that is how the unfortunate chain of events that led to the murder of Ouko was launched.
Brinner became very close to Robert Ouko and shared this information with Ouko and somehow Biwott became aware of the fact that Ouko knew the kind of secret that Moi did not want to get out at all costs. And so when clashes between Biwott and Ouko intensified, Ouko’s assassination was just a matter of time.
On the day Ouko died, Biwott had informed the president that Ouko was planning to leave the country and then tell the whole world the story of corruption in Moi’s government as well as the saga about Ugandan women visiting State house. Actually it was true that Ouko was planning to quietly slip out of the country through Uganda and trusted a fellow Luo Hezekiah Oyugi to help him in doing so. Moi was livid and ordered Ouko to be picked up. One of the people who picked up Ouko was Oyugi and the foreign minister though he was being assisted to flee. Instead he ended up in the hands of security personnel taking instructions from Biwott. Biwott ordered them to interrogate and beat him up. By the time Ouko was brought before Moi at State House, Nakuru, he was in very bad shape. Moi ordered Prof Sam “100 million education fund disappearance” Ongeri (who is a medical doctor) to examine him. Ongeri advised that unless he was taken to hospital pronto he could easily die. Clearly it was going to be a big embarrassment to have a foreign affairs minister in such a sorry state in hospital, but Moi would have preferred that to having the man’s life ended. That was when Biwott took a revolver from one of the policemen on the scene and shot Ouko in the presence of Moi. Moi was dumbfounded.
Political assassinations were not really Moi’s style (although a few happened in his watch they were nothing when you compare them to the ones that happened under Kenyatta). And that is why those who know Moi well have always found it difficult to believe that he had anything to do with the Ouko murder. But now you know exactly what happened. You be the judge of how responsible Moi was in the whole affair.
Let me wrap up this weekend’s post with the sad Lena Moi story. Lena was a simple Kalenjin woman who refused to change who she was. Let me elaborate that a little. When Mama Ngina was married to Kenyatta she had long and traditionally severed ears hanging beyond her shoulders. She actually had to go for a very expensive surgical procedure to restore her ears to normal. She took to her new role well and was trained to be a sophisticated wife of a president. Seeing Mama Ngina a few years into the Kenyatta presidency you would not have believed that she was the simple woman from the village that Kenyatta had married. Lena Moi on the other hand was a very different kettle of fish. She never fitted into public life and the result was that she embarrassed Moi many times during state functions.
Things came to a head one day during a dance at State House. Moi was still VP then and had been having an affair with a Kikuyu policewoman for sometime. She had been invited to the state function and since Lena did not dance, Moi unwittingly took to the floor with his [policewoman girlfriend. Now Lena had already been informed about the affair and when she saw her husband on the dance floor with the said woman, all hell broke loose. President Kenyatta quickly saw what was happening and tried to save the situation by asking Lena for a dance. Lena stubbornly refused. Now you don’t refuse a dance with the president of the republic of Kenya. You just don’t.
What irked Moi even more was the fact that the Kiambu mafia had a field day trading jokes about the whole affair and making great fun of the VP. It was too much for Moi. He took Lena to one of his farms and abandoned her there. He supported her financially but never went to see her again until shortly before her death around 2005 when he was no longer president.
Read more on Lena Moi plus rare picture
Get a Free copy of almost the entire book Dark Secrets of the Kenyan Presidency
Interview with Marianne Briner (Plus her pic) on information that cost Dr Ouko his life
(To be continued next weekend.
Don’t miss the shattering climax of this red hot series where we dig into Moi’s last years in power and the blundering Kibaki years that followed which caused unprecedented bloodshed in the country. We also reveal how and why Moi launched the tribal clashes that culminated in the 2008 blood bath in the Rift Valley. Do go upcountry for Christmas if you must but make sure you carry a phone that is web enabled. That way you will have much more hot politics to discuss over the holiday with your extended family.)