At the breakfast table, Mrs. Troon warned her husband to be extremely careful. “First of all, I am worried about you going back to Kenya. And second, you and other witnesses have the Kenyan Authorities all there was to say. If they wanted to prosecute the murderers, they have all the evidence they need on the table already.”
“No, they don’t,” he said.
Her eyebrows lifted, “What?”
“Marianne has more.”
Taking a sip of fresh orange juice, he looked her in the eye and said, “She has ….. the truth.”
Nicholas Biwott was a man who left nothing to chance.
When he was still in Government handling threatening situations was his forte. He had perfected the art of crisis management and damage control.
But that was then.
Things had since changed.
They changed the day his cousin – Daniel T. arap Moi – had turned over power to the new Head of State, Mwai Kibaki.
As he woke up this morning in his Kileleshwa home, he told his wife that he was going to be out of town.
“I thought you have work in Parliament?” she asked.
She was a slender Jewish woman from Australia. She had blonde curly hair and wore it in a way that made her look like a female rock star. Her clothes were designer ….. most of them shipped in from Italy.
Although he had taken during the last years two other wives - both of them Africans - she still remained the one he trusted most. Their two daughters had married white foreigners who soon started to get involved in his vast business empire in leading positions - but it was still this white wife which kept the control in her hands and he had to admit, very successfully.
“Work? It can wait,” Biwott then said.
“What’s so urgent?”
Biwott went into the bathroom, got into the tub and turned on the water. As he serenaded his body with some herbs, he said, “I have to go to Kabarnet Gardens.”
“To see Mzee?”
He just nodded his head.
Suddenly his wife went quiet. She felt nervous. She was aware that an inexplicable chill had come between her husband and Moi.
Kicking down the comforter, she recalled vividly how close the two used to be. How Nick had controlled the flow of information to Moi. How he had practically run the Government. Why and when had things gone so wrong?
“So what are your plans for today?” he asked her.
She got out of bed, “I’ll drop in and see how the businesses are doing. I also have some meetings scheduled for this afternoon….”
“That’s all right. Hope, you have a good time.”
“I will.” She slipped out of her nightgown and joined him in the bathroom.
She had noticed – since last night – that Nick had not been himself. She had seen him lost in thoughts, talk less. And bark orders at the house-girl. That had warned her that something was wrong. Was it safe to ask?
He stepped out of the tub and looked at her, “You are still as pretty as ever, sweetheart.”
She smiled. For her he was the most sensitive man she had ever met. Why were so many Kenyans so distrustful of him? Why did people blame him for everything that went wrong in this country?
“And you have kept yourself up well,” he added.
He kissed her cheek, “I love you.”
She mouthed, “I love you too.” - And suddenly she worked up the courage to ask that was wrong. She said, “Honey, since last night you have not been yourself. You have been very quiet …. Contemplative ….. and – I dare to add – abnormally harsh with the servants. I want to know what’s going on.”
He looked down, “It’s …… nothing.”
“It’s this new Committee, right?”
He shook his head. “The Committee can sit, do its work. I have no problem with that.”
She squeezed his hand, “Then what is the matter?”
He walked back into the bedroom. As he stepped into the walk-in closet, he said, “The problem is this distance Moi has allowed to come between him and me.”
“I know it bothers you,” she said.
He pulled out a dark suit. It was Hudson’s. He grabbed a Gilbert tie, too. Setting them on the bed, he said, “Sweetheart, you don’t understand. You see, when we were still in Government, when Moi was still the President, I had total control of his agenda ….. all the people around ….. the whole situation. If anything came up, he always turned to me and I quickly handled it.”
She had followed him into the bedroom, “And what has that got to do with your mood since last night?”
He looked at her, “You just mentioned this new Committee …..”
“On Dr. Ouko?”
He nodded, “There is going to be a problem.”
“How? All you will have to do is tell them the same things you have said before….. like this, you have nothing to fear.”
Biwott smiled dryly, “It is not going to be that easy.”
“Why?” She asked, suddenly looking quite concerned.
He walked up to her and took her hand. After giving it a gentle squeeze, he said, “ This is going to be the first Committee investigating Dr. Ouko’s death since Moi turned over power to the current goons. It’s a new field we are playing on,” he explained. “That’s why I am a little uptight.”
“But you had nothing to do with his death,” she then said.
He looked down, “Many people believe the opposite.”
“But it is not true – isn’t it?”
He had not expected that question. He looked at his wife oddly. Offended he then said, “I did not kill Dr. Ouko.”
“So who did? …… Moi?”
This morning, the members of the opposition party, the shrunken KANU, came to Parliament earlier than usual.
Their leader – the young son of the founding father – Uhuru Kenyatta, had sent messages via SMS and alerted them to be at a meeting in Parliament by eight.
All had come.
Except Nicholas Biwott.
At the brief meeting, it was quickly agreed that the party members would defend the former Head of State should he come under attack from the new Committee.
As the meeting was about to break up, Moi’s own son, Gideon, now the new member for Baringo, proposed that the Old Man should not even be subjected to the indignity of appearing before the Committee, “It would be unseemly,” he warned.
Within minutes, it was agreed that members of the oldest party in the country – KANU – the party Moi had chaired for more than to decades, would defend him and fence off any effort to get him to testify not only in the Dr. Ouko investigations but also regarding the Goldenberg case and other similar ones.
TO BE CONTINUED