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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kenya Betrayed - William Kivuvani

Chapter 1 - Part 3 - William Kivuvani (Special Branch)

These rumors about me reached such a level that the Special Branch had to intervene and I was asked to come to their office in Mombasa.

Here I met then William Kivuvani for the first time. He was at that time the Chief of Special Branch, Mombasa.. He was also related to Mary and Simon.

We agreed that I should not attend the functions at the Navy Base anymore since he was sure that then all these funny rumors would stop. I understood and accepted.

So Mary started instead to invite some of the American Commanders who had in the meantime also become friends on a private basis. I remember, we once even made a ‘picnic’ party at a drive-in cinema together with Mary’s children…..

During our meeting at his office, Kivuvani had also asked me about my personal background. I told him that I had dual Citizenship (Swiss and German). He was very interested to learn that I spoke besides German and English also French and Italian.

I regarded this ‘interrogation’ as part of his job and did not think much about it especially since I knew that he was not only a relative but also a trusted friend of Mary and Simon.

Kivuvani told me that he had been in charge on behalf of Special Branch to organize the transport of the body of the late President Kenyatta when he died on August 22, 1978, in Mombasa to be brought to Nairobi before his death was officially announced.

But the car broke down in the middle of the road and he had to call the Kenya Navy to send one of their ambulances. Here Simon Mbilu comes in: he was on duty that night and called by Kivuvani (his cousin).

So the body of Kenyatta was changed in the dark at the roadside from car to another and then flown to State House, Nairobi, and in the following morning his death was officially announced to the people of Kenya.

The reason for this delay was the fact that a certain group wanted to use this time to get hold of the Vice-President Daniel arap Moi before he could reach State House where – according to the Constitution – he would have automatically become the new President.

But the problem was that Moi was that night at his Kabarak-Farm near Nakuru and had to be brought to Nairobi since only at the State House he would have been ‘safe’. To prohibit him to reach State House, road-blocks were set up and the police instructed to search for Moi’s car.

But Kivuvani had known about these ‘plans’ and together with friends from the coast (amongst which also the PC, Eluid Mahihu), had passed the warning to Hezekiah Oyugi who in turn got together with his friends, Nicholas Biwott and Abraham Kiptanui (by the way, that was the first time that I heard the infamous Nicholas Biwott ever mentioned).

Kivuvani, Oyugi and also Kiptanui knew each other since a long time: all three had originally started as Prison Wardens before joining the Secret Service.

So Moi was picked up at his Kabarak Farm and first brought to a nearby place before they organized a small van and hidden under some blankets and using some small side-roads driven to State House.

And here Moi was finally safe – The Attorney-General Charles Njonjo also had been contacted the same night at his residence in London. He came back immediately and then proclaimed Moi the legal successor of Kenyatta. The rest is history.

And Moi did not forget to whom he owed his Presidency:

Charles Njonjo became soon after a nominated Member of Parliament and then Minister for Constitutional and Home Affairs.

Nicholas Biwott became a nominated Member of Parliament and Minister of State, Office of the President (until he changed to the more lucrative Ministry for Energy a few years later).

Hezekiah Oyugi was appointed Head of Internal Security (and as that he later got involved in the killing of Dr. Robert Ouko and then 2 years after he was killed by poisoning at a London Hospital to stop him from talking.)

Abraham Kiptanui was appointed Director of the Nairobi Airport and a few years later Moi’s Private Secretary and State House Comptroller.

William Kivuvani (whose part in all this Moi did not know immediately) was later promoted to head Special Branch Nairobi and at the end even became Director of the CID. -

And to complete his ‘picture’: he had been summoned by the Sunguh-led Committee to give evidence, but he refused to give any information and was proclaimed a ‘hostile witness’.

Who Is This Marianne Briner?

Many of you have asked the question “who is this woman called Marianne Briner and what is her background” - so I have decided to give some answers.

I grew up in Germany in a very social and open environment. My parents always insisted that also as a girl you have to be independent and have a good education to become independent in your future life.

So I had a very happy childhood with a lot of privileges as I have realized only later since at that time it was all ‘normal’ for me.

I went to a very selective Maedchen-Gymnasium (similar to a Girl’s High School) – and the biggest attraction was our Music Teacher – Otto Daube. He was a friend of the Wagner-Family and well-connected in the international classic music world.

So we had the privilege that the most famous musicians and singers of that time came to our school to give free concerts for us.

But it did not stop at that: Each year he invited some of us to come with him to the Wagner-Festivals in Bayreuth ….. and I was one of them.

For those who do not know what this means: the Wagner-Festival is upto to today one of the most exclusive international venues – with a waiting list to get tickets – not only for one season but for upto 10 years …………

But we did not stop with being interested in classical music ‘only’ ……………

Just to give you an example: Together with some friends (amongst them the Heir of the famous Krupp (Steel) Dynasty, Arndt von Bohlen, we set up a Jazz-Club in an old (war) bunker which very soon became the center of social life in our area.

We even had the honor that people like Louis Armstrong, Chris Barber, Dizzie Gillespie and Duke Ellington came to give private (free) concerts in our place.

Some of my old friends of that time (like Stockhausen and Doldinger) even became very famous Musicians and another friend out of that time is one of the most known German TV-Actresses, Marie-Luise Marjan.

But the biggest ‘impact’ on my life had the Sister of my mother. She was married in the Netherlands and her husband was the Director of the West Indian Banana Company (WIBIC) which later became the famous brand ‘Chiquita. His brother was the Financial Adviser of the Dutch Queen (first Wilhelmina and then also Juliana – the mother of the present Queen Beatrix). And it was Beatrix and her sister Irene with whom I then met since I started to spend most of my summer holidays in the Netherlands. We became very close friends ………

My aunt had been a driving force behind rescuing Dutch Jews from the Holocaust during the 2nd World War – protecting them and arranging for their departure mainly to the United States risking her own life in doing this.

She also set up a Charity Organization for Mistreated Girls and Women at a time when nobody even believed that these horrible things existed.

This earned her the title of ‘a Dame of the Court’ – given to her by Queen Beatrix.

Her life and courage would be worth another book – and maybe I will write it soon…………

And here life and its amazing stories crops in: Beatrix’ husband was Claus von Amsberg and he is directly related to my daughter’s husband’s family – actually Crown-Prince Willem Alexander is a first Cousin ……..and I think that was one of the reasons why Jeff Koinange was so interested in her ……calling her ‘royal’…….

My first ‘boyfriend’ was Klaus Westphal – the son of a famous Atomic-Power Physician – his Klaus’ godfather was Albert Einstein ........ just to give you an idea……...

Get me right – at that time things were very innocent and not like it is today: we met during a school-trip – he was two years older than me. We started writing to each other and then he invited me to come to Berlin. When my parents had some objections (don’t forget, things were different at that time from now), his mother wrote a very nice letter to my mother assuring her that everything was fine.

So I got the permission by my parents to visit him ……. and from then on we kept contacts ….. even after I met my future husband and he also met his present wife Margrit …. it was an innocent friendship started as teenagers and stayed like that ………

Klaus is living since many years in the United States and has become very famous – he was one of the driving forces behind the Jurassic Park movies ………… for all those who are interested to know more about him: google ‘Klaus Westphal’ ……..and you will know what I am talking about ……. his fathers name was Wilhelm F. Westphal – for the ones who really want to know more …….

Other people who had a strong influence on my life were:

Ivo Andric – Literature Nobel Price winner – I met him and his wife in Yugoslavia when I was only 20 years old – they invited me to their house and we kept contact for some years after.

Donald Kursch – I met him when he was American Vice Consul in Zurich – he later became Special Ambassador of the United States for the Kosovo …..

There are many more …… so you see, my life did not start in Africa …… it started long before that ……..

Maybe one day I will write about all this – as my daughter is pleading with me since years - but for now I am still too occupied with Kenyan Politics –

Chapter 1 - Part 4 - James Karugu / Ben Gethi

After Kivuvani had assured me that I would not have to face any more problems, I moved from Mary’s farm back to the Ocean View Hotel.

Here I always had the same table reserved for me. A few days after having spoken to Kivuvani last (he had confiscated my Swiss Passport and gave it only back to me after I had been found ‘clean’), I found a man sitting at ‘my’ table when I came down for breakfast.

He must have seen the light anger in my face and that I already started to call the waiter to show me another table. So he got up and explained that he had been waiting for me because he wanted to talk with me.

He introduced himself as James Karugu and told me that he was the Chief Prosecutor (soon after be became Attorney General succeeding Charles Njonyo).

A few minutes later a second man came to our table and Karugu introduced him as Ben Gethi (Commander of the GSU).

No further explanation was given and we continued with our breakfast when they asked me to accept their invitation for Lunch at a nearby French Restaurant. I understood that they did not want to talk in front of the Ocean View personnel.

They also had booked a room at the Ocean View although Karugu told me that he also owed a house next to the Bamburi State House (he later even showed it to me) but it was rented to some Foreigners at the moment.

We then had Lunch together at a Restaurant at the creek near Kilifi. And here they told me then that Kivuvani had told them about me and they had come to get to know me personally since Kivuvani had the idea that I could work for the Kenyan Secret Service.

They explained that I would receive invitations to attend official and private Functions mainly in Nairobi. Since I spoke several languages, it should be easy for me to understand what is discussed in foreign diplomatic circles. I should try to find out about the opinion of certain countries and their Ambassadors have about Kenya and then report to the Special Branch. My contact person would always be William Kivuvani.

They also told me that already some other foreigners living and working in Kenya had been ‘asked’ and had finally accepted. I understood very well that also these people must have been put under pressure ‘either you accept or you have to leave…..’ and I may have to face the same ‘solution’ one day…….

Karugu – joined by Gethi – assured me that with my looks and the way I was dressed, I could move easily amongst these diplomatic and business circles and could soon become ‘a part’ of it.

It seemed here Simon Mbilu had given some favourable reports how the American Commanders had reacted to me and how easy it was for me to make contacts.

We then drove back to the Ocean View since they told me that they had a meeting scheduled with Kivuvani at his office later. Before, they made sure that I would accept their invitation for Dinner and informed me that also Mary Bryant and Simon Mbilu would then join us.

Before leaving for Nairobi the following morning, Karugu and Gethi told me to think about their proposal and let them know my decision as soon as possible. They would already start looking for a house for me in Nairobi since I would then also have to ‘entertain’ people and therefore a safe and even luxury place and servants were essential.

But I started feeling ‘unsafe’ – almost threatened – so I decided to go back to Switzerland for some weeks enabling me to think about all this in a more neutral and peaceful surrounding.

When I came back after about 3 months, I called Karugu’s office and was informed that he had been appointed Attorney General in the meantime. I then met him at his new Office and informed him that I had decided not to accept their proposal and asked him to also inform Kivuvani and Gethi which he promised to do saying that he would make sure that I had no further problems………

We then spoke about some private matters and I gave him a present I had brought for him from Switzerland: When we had Lunch at that French Restaurant near Kilifi, he had told me that he loved a special Swiss Liquor called ‘Williamsbirne’ and was quite disappointed that they did not keep it at that place since it was perfect together with the coffee after meals.

Thinking about this, I had bought for him a bottle of this Liquor hoping that this would help getting him on my side when telling him about my refusal – and it seemed to work - at least for a while.

Tomorrow: Enter Nicholas Kipyator Biwott


Amkeni ndugu zetu! said...

Boo-hoo! True to character, Madamme Brinner can't resist the old tried-and-tested name-dropping trick... works every time! What she doesn't say, however, is when she started soliciting favours from gentlemen in exchange for "personal services". Over to you, Madamme Brinner (or your newly-found PR officer Chris)!

Anonymous said...

Madam, you really should get your facts straight! Kivuvani and Mbilu are not cousins or even related by blood. Also, Kivuvani was never a prison warden as you allege. Jeez, it makes me wonder what else your over-fertile imagination has conjured and put down here as fact!


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