Dr. Robert Ouko Biography
Dr. Robert Ouko was born on 31st March 1931 and was murdered on 31st February 1990. He was born in Nyahera village in Kisumu county. He was a Kenyan politician.
He was a Kenyan politician who served as a Foreign Minister of Kenya from 1979 to 1983 and from 1988 to 1990. Robert Ouko served in the government of Kenya from the colonial period through the presidencies of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi. He was a member of the National Assembly for Kisumu and a cabinet minister, rising to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation by 1990.
Robert Ouko Early Life
He went to Ogada Primary School, Nyang’ori School. After schooling he studied at the Siriba Teachers Training College. He worked as a primary school teacher. In 1955 he landed a job as the revenue officer of Kisii District. In 1958 he joined the Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduating in 1962 with a degree in Public Administration, Economics and Political Science. He then went to Makerere University in Uganda for a diploma in International Relations and Diplomacy.
Dr. Robert Ouko Political Career
Dr Robert Ouko was the minister for East African Community who subsequently became one of Kenya’s most eloquent and key driver of foreign policy under President Moi.
Having joined the then nascent civil service at the advent of Kenya’s Independence in 1963, Dr Ouko, a political science graduate of the Haile Selassie University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, rose through the ranks to become one of the most polished and brilliant Foreign ministers Kenya has ever had until his death in very controversial and mysterious circumstances in 1990 at the peak of his career.
Dr Ouko was a consummate negotiator that both President Kenyatta and Moi found attractive. He lacked the internal ethniccum – political base and eschewed local political ambitions, but was a composed diplomat with a persuasive personal charm.
In his more than 28 years at the helm of Kenya’s nascent and ever- evolving Civil Service and growing diplomatic corps, Dr Ouko had cut his teeth in the development of the East African Community, the growth and development of a functional foreign ministry and diplomatic service and had nurtured very deep and mutually re-enforcing ties with the makers and shakers of the Kenyan political and economic scene.
Dr Robert Ouko was a perfect choice for a newly installed President Moi who was seeking to reassure old friends of Kenya, chart out a new footprint, and maintain some form of continuity while pursuing a different foreign policy posture and direction after President Kenyatta’s foreign policy in his 15 years at the helm.
Save for a few interludes, Dr Robert Ouko was the face, the voice and the chief functionary of President Moi’s foreign policy between 1978 until his mysterious and controversial death in 1990.
In his vantage position, Dr Robert Ouko had the President’s ear and few within the President’s inner circle would dare challenge or question his loyalty. He was more than a political appointee or functionary, bigger than a local politician and certainly much more than an educated and polished diplomat.
Dr Robert Ouko was a partner, friend and all most a political soul-mate of President Moi, but very well aware of his position in the entire pecking political order.
In all, Dr Robert Ouko discharged his duties with finesse, energy and commitment until he became a threat, real and or imagined to powerful individuals and personalities within the inner sanctums of President Moi’s power base towards the end of the Cold War, and the clamour for multi—party politics in Kenya between 1988-1990.
Robert Ouko Murder Investigation
Forensic evidence suggestedRobert Ouko had been murdered, near to where his body was found, killed by a single shot to the head, his right leg broken in two places and his body left partially burned. There was evidence that a gun had been discharged at the scene (although the bullet was never found). A “single caucasian hair” was also found “loosely associated with a partially burnt handkerchief found at the scene”. Items including a gun, a torch, a diesel can and matches were found nearby. All of the items were subsequently identified as belonging to Dr Robert Ouko and, with the exception of the jerrycan, matches and torch, had usually been kept in his bedroom. News of the murder set off riots in Nairobi.
Initial police reports suggested that Robert Ouko had committed suicide but it became known that Robert Ouko had also been shot as well as burnt. The suicide theory seemed an absurd suggestion, hinting perhaps at a cover-up attempt. Public pressure led President Daniel arap Moi to ask British detectives from New Scotland Yard to investigate Robert Ouko death.
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The following investigation by the Kenyan police was supported by the arrival on 21 February of Detective Superintendent John Troon of Scotland Yard’s International Organised Crime Branch, accompanied by two other detectives and a Home Office forensic pathologist.
Robert Ouko Family
Robert Ouko was married to Christabel Ouko. His first-born son is named Ken. Robert Ouko also had a daughter (born May 1983) by a Miss Herine Violas Ogembo, a relationship that lasted until his death.
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