Dr. Robert Ouko was born on 31st March 1931 and was murdered on 31st February 1990. He was born in Nyahera village. He was a Kenyan politician.
Hon. Dr. John Robert Ouko was one of the most brilliant brains in the Kenyan politics. There were others such as Prof. George Saitoti that have departed. However, if there is a diplomat that saved Kenya from sinking during President Moi’s tenure, it was his Minister for Foreign Affairs. He managed to convince the world and attract many investors to Kenya despite the bad name of the government he worked for.
This blog story is not to say something about his unfortunate assassination but to praise some Africans that have defined the destiny of the continent. I remember seeing Hon. Robert Ouko during some of his campaigns around Nyahera near where I was studying. He was like a magnet that attracted many people and scared his rivals in Kisumu politics. He was not only eloquent internationally but he knew how to convince his supporters.
Another fact about the leader was his loyalty to his boss as Andrew Morton, an English writer had properly put it. He would take his assignments seriously and speak good of his boss. He was brilliant, smart and diplomatic. His English was polished and clear. His accent was one of the best along side that of Hon. Kijana Wamalwa. He dedicated himself to serve the country and attract many investors. As an economist, Ouko remains to be remembered as a man who would have made change happen.
An example is his project of Molasses Processing Industry in Kisumu. His idea was to create more employment for the local residents and make Kisumu meaningful. He was an achiever as much as those who knew him closely would tell you. Some of his close friends such as Hon. Gor Sunguh would remember the Hon. Minister with gusto. He was social and friendly. He knew how to make jokes and bring both friends and foes close to him.
Whenever I pass near his home at Koru, and see what he had started, some chill runs along my veins. I remember visiting his home to pay my homage and greet his late widow. I felt saddened of how Africans ruin their own fellow men in fight for power. Dr. Ouko died but his dreams did not die at all. He had a vision not only for the country but even his own home. He employed people most of whom had to lose their source of livelihood.
When his remains were discovered at the foots of got alila, no Kenyan by that time could believe. It was as though the world was collapsing. It happened when I was in Murang’a attending my university experience at Sagana Noviciate. When the bad news broke out, I remember a lady at the Vet college broke literary into tears. It was indeed a dark day for Kenya. The President spoke with trembling voice and shock admitting that the government would do whatever within its powers to find the culprits. Actually, the government committed commissions of experts and Scotland Yard.
His funeral was marred with pain and emotions as university students became uncontrollable. Ouko’s assassination gave Kenya a very bad image at the international level. The questions in the mouth of many, how can African governments protect the lives, property and liberty of their citizens? Culture of assassination is not the solution for development in Africa. Scaring and threatening intellectuals can only make the situation worse.
Two wrongs cannot make right. Assassinating individuals and obstructing the wheel of justice may not make it right for African governments. The rule of law, constitutionalism and human rights must be embraced by the governments as means of democracy and long term development. It is by endorsing the named principles that African states shall have credible development strategy.
Dr. John Robert Ouko, a civil servant, a diplomat and high ranking minister left legacy that we cannot afford to forget. The memory has served us well and we cannot deny ourselves the opportunity to share with the blog readers such important stories.
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