Former Anglican bishop Alexander Muge was killed by security agents and an accident used for cover up, a former intelligence officer told the Truth commission yesterday. James Lando Khwatenge, who worked with the Special Branch in Eldoret at the time, said officers were sent directly from Nairobi to "finish" the outspoken bishop.
Lando said the death on August 14, 1990, was the final job on what police called "Operation Shika Msumari". He said Kanu loyalists who wanted to assassinate Muge merely seized threats issued by former Labour minister Peter Okondo against the bishop and used him as a scapegoat. Okondo had earlier warned the then 44-year-old bishop not to set foot in Busia but Muge defied the ban. "Okondo said these words to be seen as a loyal Nyayo follower but then people took advantage of this," Lando said.
On the way from Busia, Muge died in a road accident near Kipkaren in Uasin Gishu district. Lando said police trailing him immediately called Nairobi to confirm the job was done. He told Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission presiding chair Berhamu Dinka that this was revealed to him by a constable involved in the operation at an Eldoret pub called Mahindi Bar.
The officer was promoted to an inspector of police, he said. The driver of the lorry that rammed into Muge's car was later jailed for dangerous driving but died after serving five years of his seven-year sentence. The TJRC is conducting hearings on unresolved political murders since independence.
Lando further gave a brief account on the death of Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko. He said before his death the former minister desperately tried to meet President Moi without success.Lando said Dr Ouko also unsuccessfully tried to use Moi's nephew Peter Kipyego, then Kericho DC. The former Kisumu MP was killed on February 13, 1990 and the murder remains unsolved. He said Ouko was targeted twice but managed to escape before he was finally murdered. Lando's testimony was cut short but TJRC said he would continue at a later date.