Affidavit of Eston Barak Mbajah (transcript)

State of Washington
County of king


ESTON BARAK MBAJAH being first plead under the oath, swears that the following facts are true and correct.

I am ESTON BARAK MBAJAH and I am from Kisumu, Kenya.

I submit this Affidavit to the Commission hearings currently taking place in Kisumu, Kenya.

I am the fifth born of a family of eight children. My late brother, Dr. Robert John Ouko, was the eldest of the children in the family followed by two deceased sisters, and one living sister. I have three younger brothers. Our parents are the late Erasto Seda Ayieko and Mama Susan Aloo Seda. We were brought up in a Christian home and all of the children went to Christian schools and were united as a family.

My late brother, Dr. Ouko, took care of the entire family since he was the first-born and following tradition, looked after the younger sisters and brothers. My father died in March 1986 which left my brother with a lot more responsibility. My late brother was first a teacher for many years, and joined the civil service in 1962, he helped me to come to America for my university degree in political science and sociology and minoring in public administration.

Upon my arrival in Kenya, I joined the civil service where I worked for twenty three (23) years before I fled the country after the brutal murder of my brother.

I was arrested, confined for five (5) days and nights, and severely beaten by Kenya Security after I refused to cooperate with them in covering up the assassination.

I was informed by my late brother, and believe that in February of 1990 the President of Kenya and a few other ministers and other civil servants visited America on a private visit. Included in the President’s team was my late brother Dr. Ouko who was the minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations. Prior to the visit Dr. Ouko had informed the President that the visit would not be pleasant and it should not take place because Kenya’s human rights violations were having a strong repercussions in other countries, especially in the United States. The advice was ignored and the trip took place.

I was informed by my brother and I believe that during their stay in America, there erupted a very strong dispute between my late brother and Minister Biwott over various issues. The main issue was the foreign accounts Biwott and other government ministers held in other countries. My brother was of the opinion that the millions of dollars in foreign banks should be brought back to Kenya to be circulated to help in the development of our country. Biwott was so enranged that he threatened my brother while they were in America, stating that he had had enough of him (my brother), and this time he would pay the price so heavily. The President, who is very close to Biwott , also told my late brother that it is not for him (my late brother) to decide on what was to be done with the foreign accounts the government ministers are holding outside the country. The President indicated that this amounted to interfering with Presidential responsibility. The relationship became so strained through out their visit, that on their way back to Kenya, they were not on speaking terms that is, my late brother with Biwott and the President.

I was informed by my late brother and I believe that after arriving from America, my brother’s passport was seized at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi by security officials. This is when my brother started realizing that he was in extreme danger.

My brother telephoned me that evening and told me all about their trip to America. He told me that now he was in serious danger because he did not know what the government would do next, after seizing his passport and after having been told that his movements would be strictly monitored from then on. He told me that he was so worried about his life, and especially the future of his children who are still far from finishing their education. He further told me that the President had called him to State House to talk to him, and the President had ordered him to go to State House with his Permanent Secretary.

I am informed, and believe that on the following day he went to State House as ordered by the President. The President told him that he was very unhappy with him for undercutting his powers and for having revealed in America that the government ministers are corrupt, and this the President took to mean that the President himself is also corrupt by having corrupt government ministers. My late brother told the President that “with all due respect, I respect you, I know you have done a good job, but we must address ourselves to the area of corruption, because if we don’t the Kenya economy will definitely collapse.”

I am informed and believe that at that point in time the President ordered my late brother to go to his home in Koru and stay there until further notice. The President told my brother that forthwith he had been suspended as Minister for the kind of statement he had made attacking his own cabinet colleagues.

Thus, as my brother left State House to go to Koru, he was no longer a government Minister but an ordinary Member of Parliament. Because he was no longer a government minister, the government security were removed by the government. He was left un guarded and unprotected on the day he was murdered.

I was informed by my brother and I believe that my brother, while on leave, tried often to contact the President and let the President know that he (my late brother) was not a man who wanted the government to collapse, but was only concerned about the future of Kenya and the future of the people of Kenya. His efforts became fruitless because each time he tried to see the President, Mr. Hezekiah Oyugi, the Permanent Secretary in the office of the President made sure that it did not happen.

I was informed by my brother and believe that my late brother’s last effort to try to speak with the President occurred just a week before he was murdered. He had gone to Kericho to see the District Commissioner, Mr. Lagat, who is a nephew of the President, to help him contact the President. He was in the District Commissioner’s house before 7.00 in the morning and found the District Commissioner, who, after giving him a cup of tea, asked him what he wanted. Dr. Ouko told the District Commissioner “I want to talk to the President, and since you are related to him, I want you to ring him and tell him that I am here and I would like to talk to him.”

I am informed by my brother and believe that the District Commissioner (D.C.) instead rang Oyugi who is also the one in charge of Internal Security. Oyugi told the D.C to inform my late brother that the President does not want to talk to him. My brother was very upset and decided to drive back to Kisumu.

I am informed and believe that a plan had already been hatched for him to have a mysterious road accident and indeed on his way back to Kisumu, a lorry came on his way and rammed his vehicle so hard until it went into the ditch. The driver drove away without stopping at all even though the law requires one to stop in this situation. He probably left him for dead.

I am informed and believe that my late brother was rescued later that day by a passer by who drove him to Kisumu Police Station to report the accident. The government took no action and started no investigation about the accident until after my brother was murdered. The issue of that accident arose during inquiry into the murder at Kisumu.

I was informed by my late brother and I believe that during the week in which the accident occurred there was a Presidential trip to Central Province. The late Ouko left his Koru home in the early morning to travel to Central Province and join the Presidential Team, only to be told that the President did not want him there. The petrol attendant who saw the deceased, testified to this effect.

On February 14, 1990 at midnight while still watching a football game on video at my house in Nairobi, I received a call from Herine Ogembo, who informed me that another person called Eric Onyango had informed her that night that my late brother was missing and probably kidnapped by unknown people.

My efforts to reach anybody to tell me what had happened to my late brother were not easy. I rang various police stations in Kisumu but each one of them told me that they had no idea that my brother was missing. My wife and I never slept that night and the following day, the 15th of February, I went to the Attoney General’s chamber where I worked and informed my immediate boss, who was the Solicitor General, Mr. Kube.

That morning after coming back from the house of the Attorney General, I received a message by my secretary telling me that Arap Leting, Permanent Secretary and head of Public Service, wanted to see me urgently. I received a similar message from Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Mr. Kiplagat.
I went first to see Leting, who officially informed me that my brother was missing. He further informed me that from the information he had received from Director of Criminal Investigation, Mr. Too, my brother had taken the key from his bodyguard and left very early that morning of 13th February 1990. Leting further directed me to ring him as soon as I arrived at Koru. This information was discusses during the Ouko Inquiry Commission.

When I went to see Kiplagat, he informed me that my brother was missing and there was conflicting information about his disappearance. He further told me that he saw him last when he joined him at State House to go see the President. He told me to go since he was also sending his officers to find out where the minister was. He further said that “ I hope he did not leave the country”. I left there and drove to Koru.

Later on that day my wife and I, with a government vehicle and a government driver, left for Kisumu and were there by 4.00 PM. We found a lot of security officers seated in the compound and others were searching the bushes around the home to look for my missing brother. Immediately I went in to house. I knew for sure that my brother was not missing but was dead.

Having been a very high ranking government officer, and having been chairman of various District security committees, I had worked with very many police officers in my capacity as their boss in various districts and provinces. Some of these police officers were involved in investigating the disappearance of my brother so I (illegible) In such matters to trail every movement of these officers who were involved in the investigation. I asked a few of those officers who had worked under me in the past, to tell me why they were searching the house, picking up all the books and checking in them and carrying away my brother’s files. Two of them told me that they were looking for a possible suicide note. Then I told them “if you are definitely looking for a suicide note, does that mean that my late brother has committed suicide?” And they said that’s what their bosses have told them to look for and if I want any more information the President will make an announcement the following day, which would be the 16th of February 1990.

As a senior government officer who knows the government inside and out, and who knows how the government operates, here my brother is missing and already they are looking for suicide notes before we are told what has happened to him, I knew there was something wrong.

I started interviewing my late brother’s workers. Most of them were willing to talk, and told me quite a few leads as to what took place, but others had already been warned that they had no authority talking to anybody, including me.

The house girl, who is related to me known as Selina, had given me a small note written by my late brother which he left for her to give to me personally. In this note my brother informed me that he had been called by Mr. Oyugi and told that Oyugi would help him escape from Kenya because the President was not ready to forgive him. My brother told me he was suspicious in the manner that those people wanted him to leave the house. The people who went to collect me were Johana Anguka, District Commissioner of Nakuru, George Oraro, advocate and Paul Condi a banker assisted by Eric Onyango. They collected my brother in the morning of the 13th February 1990 with instructions that they were going to hand him over to Oyugi who was waiting for him and Minister Biwott. That was the last time my brother was seen alive until the President announced that his body was discovered a few kilometers from his home shot and burnt beyond recognition.

It is therefore the duty of Hezekiah Oyugi, Minister Biwott, Johana Anguka, George Oraro and Paul Condi to tell Kenyans and the world where my brother went that morning. It is also Oyugi’s responsibility as the one in charge of the Kenya Internal Security to state why they withdrew all the security officers guarding my late brother on the day before he was collected from the house and taken to the murder chambers.

I am informed and believe that during the initial stages and after my late brothers body was discovered, it became known to Oyugi that I had a note which had been written by my late brother and given to me by Selina.

Oyugi called me into his office and asked me if I would like to help the government to go through the period of difficulty after the murder of my late brother. Then I asked him what he had in mind. He told me if I could cooperate with them to cover the murder of my late brother I would be given various illegible including paying for the school fees and any necessary allowance to my son who was then a student, studying outside Kenya. I was also promised that I would be elected as a Member of Parliament where my brother was and be made a Minister. I told Oyugi that this was impossible, that those who killed my brother must be put to book and taken to court and that I am not going to sell the blood of my brother at any cost.

I believed that I was then considered an enemy of the government and that the first thing the government wanted to do was to try to get this note which I had been given. I had taken this note and kept it in my office. I knew, it being a government office, no thorough search was going to be made. I had put the note under the carpet of my office and thought it was safe there.

At that stage, the government withdrew my foreign currency for paying my son’s school fees, so my son had a problem staying in the University because I could not send payment. I believe that my movements were now being monitored on a 24 hour basis. I was being followed everywhere.

On the 20th of March 1990, I was arrested soon after leaving the hospital and was taken straight to the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters where I was detained. I was asked about the note and why I was not able to help the government come out of this troubled moment following my brother’s murder. First I refused having any knowledge of the note. That is when they went to my house, arrested my wife and my house boy and thoroughly searched my house to look for this note. They did not find it. They went to Nyanhora home in Kisumu and searched it in our absence and did not get the note. Instead the police officer looted my house and took an unspecified number of items.

I was stripped naked and thoroughly beaten and received various inhuman treatment. They led me to my office at the Attorney General’s chambers. We were in my office at 3:00 PM and they searched my office from 3:00 to midnight, eventually getting the document which mentioned the names of the people who picked my brother up from the house. The note also talked about the seizure of my late brother’s passport and the suspension of being a Minister. So when my late brother was buried, the burial ceremony was not that of a Senior Cabinet Minister and that indicated very clearly that at the time my late brother died, he was no longer a Minister.

While in police detention I wrote two statements. The first statement I wrote was taken by the Criminal Investigation Department officer known as Kariuki. Kariuki was involved in the investigation initially and he was the one who came when the body of my late brother was to be moved from the scene of the murder. He was the one who was taking samples. I saw him personally taking grass from around my brother’s body and he took several samples from my brother’s body. I asked him while we were there why it was necessary for the police to light fire next to the body. He told me that the police who had been guarding the body were cold and wanted to warm up their bodies. The statement I gave Kariuki carried all the information I have given above. He immediately realized that I knew too much about this case. I was threatened by him that if I’m interviewed by Scotland Yard’s, Mr. Troon, I should not tell them what I have written in that statement, which he held because if I did my own security would not be guaranteed, the security of my wife who was still in detention would not be guaranteed and my children would suffer untold suffering.

So in the statement I gave Mr. Troon I refrained from being very specific for my own safety and the safety of my family. I dwelt mainly on the general corruption in Kenya, the general statement on the trip to America and back and the long standing dispute Biwott has had with my brother.

In my statement to Mr. Troon I mentioned to him about general corruption in Kenya and especially in Civil Service and how my late brother had been against it. Troon knew I was tortured because he asked me several times during the interview if I was tortured. although I denied it, he himself told me “you are denying it, but I know you have been tortured.” At the end of my interview with Troon he discovered that I could be of more assistance to him because he complained of the police not being cooperative with him and some senior government officers who had refused to be interviewed by him and that my late brother’s secretary had refused to talk to him. Although the same secretary had told me that on the 12th February 1990 a group of people came disguised as telephone repair men and had gone to my brother’s office to change the telephones which had never people requested in the first place. Along with them they took my brother’s diaries, files and other pens my brother used to use. She told me she was afraid herself because when those men were leaving is when they introduced themselves as police officers and

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The Attorney General was to do the coordination of setting up the Inquiry Commission in Kisumu. Since I was Deputy Secretary in the Attorney General’s chambers and the man in charge of administration, it was my duty to set up a committee to look into the opening of offices in Kisumu. During that period I had access to Troon’s report, Oyugi was so upset that I had come across such vital government secret information on my brother’s murder.

My late brother’s wife, Christabel, who decided to go along with the government in regard to her husband’s murder, decided to have her lawyer, a lawyer reffered to as the Ouko family lawyer. Ouko had brothers and sisters, Ouko had a clan. The clan wanted one lawyer to represent them in this commission but Mrs. Ouko said she would not go along with that, she would have her own lawyer who would agree with the government in all issues before the commission, because as she put it the government would have to educate her children and look after them. Therefore she was not in any way willing to be at odds with the government by raising questions on the murder of her husband. We, therefore agreed to disagree with her on this issue because my late brother was my blood brother. Therefore, I took it upon myself to take any risk possible to ensure that at the end of the day the culprit would be put to book and those who murdered my brother would be known worldwide. I made a comment to that effect when there was opposition to the lawyer the clan had appointed me to represent them in the commission. That statement which was actually in favour of the commission, was later made to be a statement which was taken to be In contempt of the commission and I was accordingly summoned to appear before the commission on the 29th of October 1990 to show cause why I should not be taken to jail.

The next day I heard about the contempt of court charges through a T.V. announcement. I was called by the Attorney General. He told me that I would definitely go to court and jail. What he could do was help me after I leave jail to see if I can get my government dues back. Oyugi’s brother-in-law who is also a senior government officer, and whom we had worked with for many years told me that I will be put in jail and I will be eliminated there so that what I know would not be known by anybody else. I told him since the government had taken the document I held, why do they want me out of the way, what have I done to deserve such treatment. He told me that’s Oyugi’s directive and since Oyugi is the one in charge of Internal Security, I will definitely find myself in big trouble unless I can go back and kneel before him and tell him that I am now ready to cover the murder of my late brother. I said this will never happen even if it means my death. Considering the torture, humiliation and the oppression I had gone through, I knew that if I went to jail again, I would not come out alive. Therefore I decided to escape.

I left Nairobi for Kisumu on October 27th having engaged a lawyer to represent me on the 29th of October 1991. it was only me who knew that I was not going to Kisumu to appear before the Commission, who were only waiting for me to put me in jail, especially having been assured that by the Attorney General. I had to walk over 200 miles to escape.

I urge my fellow Kenyans to be calm and watchful. Corruption in Kenya is so alarming; the power struggle in the country is on the increase that the only solution is to have more that political party. It is then that there will be democracy in Kenya. I am talking as one of the people who has been in charge of elections in Kenya. I was involved in all the elections Kenya has ever held since 1967 when I started working as a District Officer. The 1983 general elections, 1985 Kanu elections and 1988 general elections were the worst in Kenya’s history. Especially the 1988 elections where almost all the ministers with the exception of a few were selected, but not elected by the people. Therefore the only way Kenya can survive is to allow a two-party system, fair election with no rigging and eradication of government corruption. It is only then that Kenya will be a country one can be proud of.

Further your affiant bayeth naught***

Dated this_____ day of______________, 1991.

Eston Barak Mbajah

On this day personally appeared before me _____________________________________ to me known to be individual described in and who executed the within and forgoing instrument and acknowledge that he signed the same at his free and voluntary act and deed, for the uses and purpose therein mentioned. Witness my hand and official and
this ______ day of ________________ 1991.

Notary for public in and for the State of Washington
Residing at ________________________
My appointment expires :______________
My Commission expires: ______________

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