Plus How I Met And Fell In Love With Moi
And then he had added that he would do everything in his power that I was not joining the list of so many other (Dr, Robert Ouko murder investigation) witnesses who had lost their lives during the last years. It was estimated that their number had in the meantime reached more than 100 …..
I felt that also he still continued being worried, so I risked a small smile, “I trust you and I trust your personnel – so let’s all hope that nothing happens.”
Before he could reply, a blue Volvo appeared at the first Security Gate and as soon as the guard opened the second gate, the Volvo roared past it and then came to a screeching halt next to the armored vehicle.
A lean sportive man appeared accompanied by three other plain-cloth sharpshooters together with a slim, blonde woman.
We shook hands and he introduced himself at Lt. Wolfgang. I recognized in him the Official who had picked me up the day before at the residence of my friends in Karen where I stayed during the last three weeks.
Lt. Wolfgang rushed me onto the back seat where I was swiftly sandwiched between the four Embassy Officials.
And suddenly the race was on.
Lt. Wolfgang sped through the streets of Nairobi, turning abruptly into unintended streets and alleys whenever he noticed a suspicious car behind him.
At a roundabout near the imposing Nyayo Stadium, we came up on a massive police checkpoint. There were three uniformed officers inspecting cars. Officially, they said a bank on Tom Mboya Street had just been robbed.
But Lt. Wolfgang had already warned via the internal radio-call between him and the Embassy and knew that this was plain crap.
When we approached the checkpoint, he therefore drew down the window, put his head out and said, “This is the official car of the German Ambassador, Sir. May we proceed?”
The Officer, unsure what to do, shouted something into his walkie-talkie. He took a couple of seconds listening to instructions from the other end.
Finally, he turned and said, “You may proceed, Sir. Tell the Ambassador we’re sorry he got caught up in this.”
After that incident, Lt. Wolfgang got to the Uhuru Highway and floored the accelerator. If he was not stopped again, he expected to be at the JKIA within the next twenty minutes.
H expected more problems and he was right. As soon as we got to the airport gate, we came up on another checkpoint. This time mounted by the dreaded General Service Unit equipped with automatic machine-pistols.
They searched all cars. And this time even ours – in spite of having the No. 1-CD-plate – an indication that it was a diplomatic ride.
That was a clear breach of the usual diplomatic etiquette.
From the back of the tinted-windows where I was sandwiched, I could see the frustration on the cops’ faces. They seemed not to know what to do when they saw two blonde women inside the car.
Which one was the right one?
They knew that making a mistake could lead to big diplomatic problems with the German Government who was one of the most powerful donor countries – and the German Ambassador was even acting at the moment as the official Speaker of the European Union.
Taking advantage of their obvious confusion, Lt. Wolfgang approached the Officer who seemed to be the leader of the pack. He said, “Sir, if you don’t mind, but if we don’t reach the plane in latest fifteen minutes, the Ambassador may miss his flight.”
Both looked at each other for a short while – and to our great relief, the Officer nodded and then gave some instructions to the others to get out of our way.
Lt. Wolfgang then drove straight to the Swissair Terminal, brought the vehicle to a screeching halt, then jumped out and took position at the back door ….. slowly opening it.
As I stepped out, he placed his hand on the 13-round Heckler-Koch USP 40 strapped to his belt, then together with his support staff, they shielded me and led me straight into the waiting Swissair Jet.
By this time all the other passengers were already seated, buckled up and ready to go. The Pilot had already been instructed by the Nairobi Flight Control to roll off the second the bearer of this name got in: Marianne Briner-Mattern.
As soon as I was in, the door swiftly shut behind me. The jet immediately left the terminal ….. taxied the runway ….. then kissed off the ground.
And with that, I was on my way back to Switzerland.
The Hon. Nicholas Biwott’s schemes – targeting my life – had failed once again.
How I Met Njoroge Mungai And Daniel Moi
Everybody knew about my relationship with Dr. Magana Njoroge Mungai (Kenya’s first minister for foreign affairs) since it had become a common sight to see us together not only in Nairobi but upon my insistence also in Mombasa.
Still it was a big surprise and even shock for me when he proposed a ‘tribal marriage’ and gave me some documents which I should sign. I knew that he was married and had children. I even met his wife once when she had dinner with some business people and I had dinner with him at the same restaurant.
Since I had no idea what a ‘tribal marriage’ meant, I went to the Swiss Embassy for more information. When the Legal Counsel saw the documents and especially the name, he immediately called the Ambassador.
Together they then went through the papers: I would have gotten a big farm in Thika, a house in Nairobi and Mombasa – further some financial settlement in and outside Kenya.
All looked perfect also from the legal point of view.
But then I was told in very clear words by the Swiss Officials that I should not accept since “here you are dealing with a family which will never allow you to live in Kenya if something happens to Dr. Mungai – the only thing we could then do for you - if you want to survive – is to put you on the next plane home ………..”
I got scared and told Dr. Mungai that I would prefer to continue with our relationship – but without having to sign those legal documents.
Much to my surprise, he reacted quite offended especially since I did not give him any further explanation (I had promised to the Swiss Ambassador not to disclose that it was them who gave me that advise since they feared his reaction ……… ‘he is a very valuable man not only for Kenya but also in regard with his business connections in Switzerland’ – and I had understood what it really meant …….. ‘business comes first’).
I then realized during the next weeks that he started to take distances from me and instead was going out with other ‘white’ women and even making sure that I got to know about it. This was his way of ‘paying back’……
Although I did not admit it, but it was hurting me and I started to think about how I could make him jealous instead.
There was only one I could think of: No. 1 – the President - Daniel Toroitich arap Moi ……..
I knew if I would have ‘chosen’ somebody ‘below’ him , Dr. Mungai would not have taken me seriously ……..
Therefore, President Daniel arap Moi it had to be …………
I had already been told that President Moi had seen me at some functions with Dr. Mungai and had started asking about me. He was obviously interested. Mainly because there was a certain competition between the two men as I was told, not only with regard to politics but mainly for some ‘private’ matters ……….
I was therefore sure that Moi was the perfect ‘match’ for my purpose ……… I only had to think about the right ‘entry’ ………
This occasion came very soon and turned out to be the perfect ‘entry’:
I had a friend in Switzerland who owned a chain of Language-Schools. I found this system perfect for Kenya: People interested to learn a language could enter anytime and stay as long as they could every day, working with tape-records and special books and were then getting in regular intervals private lessons with a teacher.
I knew already that many people wanted not only to improve their English, but also study other languages like German and French which was necessary to get jobs in the Tourist Industry.
I had already contacted several Kenyan business people for this (I spoke a.o. with Evelyn Mungai who owned the Secretarial College and also with James Muigai, Kenyatta’s brother) since my idea was to get a local partner for this important venture ………..
Then one day a certain Jesse Opembe was introduced to me. He had an office at Kenwood House and was willing to give me his premises for the school and also expressed an interest to enter as my partner.
It was then actually his idea to get into contact with President Moi since he was convinced that he would like our idea and this would facilitate getting the licence……
Opembe was friends with Prof. Sam Ongeri and both had direct access to the Private Secretary of the President and asked me to write a letter addressed to President Moi which he would then deliver personally (this was the Secretary before Abraham Kiptanui).
At that time I was already living in a compound mainly occupied by Foreign Diplomats at State House Avenue – where I received one day in early 1980 a phone call asking me to come to State House to meet H.E.
We met and I gave him the information about the Language School and how it worked. He was impressed and promised to give every assistance possible. He then even proposed that I should also get into contact with the United Nations Office since he was sure that some foreigners there would be interested especially since we needed in my proposed system teachers for the private lessons.
I have to admit that the beginning of our conversation was a bit difficult: I was excited and spoke too fast – and he had problems to follow my English…….. so he called a Secretary to help translating………
But he never gave me the impression that I was meeting ‘ the President ‘ - I felt that he enjoyed listening to me …….. and I started to like him……….. I almost forgot my initial goal and why I had wanted to meet him originally …………..
Soon after this f¡rst encounter with President Moi, I also met Abraham Kiptanui for the first time. At that time, he was still the Director of the Nairobi International Airport --------- but as he told me, he had already started to see the President in the evening introduced by his old friends Nicholas Biwott and Hezekiah Oyugi who were making sure that he would become the new Private Secretary and State House Comptroller as soon as the present one either left or died (I did not understand at that time what this could mean for somebody, i.e. his actual death sentence………..).
‘Kip’ – as I started to call him – told me to keep contacts with him regarding the President from now onwards ……. under one condition: to cut any contacts with Dr. Mungai ………
I was at that time already attending parties at Embassies, sometimes also Government Functions at the Bomas of Kenya – I remember also having been introduced to Pamela Mboya when she became Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN.
And then there were more and more occasions where I also met President Moi …………….. Dr. Robert Ouko was at that time also Minister for Foreign Affairs and it was via his Office that I got some of these invitations, i.e. he had been instructed to issue them and I was picking them up at the desk of the ‘European Officer’ ………
I did not talk much to Dr. Ouko at that time, only some ‘small talk’ on a social level. Normally it was his Assistant Minister, a certain Mr. Munji, who had to accompany me. I think, because Munji was not married at that time and therefore no wife could ‘complain’ …….
There was anyway the obstacle of the fact that President Moi had no official wife (he had divorced his wife Lena some years before) – and therefore the social life was quite restricted.
According to diplomatic rules since the President was not accompanied by his wife, also his Ministers could not bring their wives to certain official functions …… (I am giving you an example to explain this: when President Nelson Mandela separated from his wife Winnie, he had to ask his daughter to ‘fill in’ until he then got married some years later to his present wife ……….).
So I think that all these wives were quite frustrated ….. even more since they saw me attending all these functions (since as you know, the Television was reporting every movement the President was making ….).
And then there was the famous flight from Zurich to Nairobi which brought everything to the open.
I had originally booked another date and as usual with Swissair. I then received a phone call by Jesse Opembe who had been asked to instruct me to change my plans, i.e. coming one week later and with Kenya Airways.
When I came to the check-in accompanied by my daughter at Zurich-Kloten-Airport, we were asked to pass the special gate which at that time was normally only used by El-Al-Passengers (after some terrorist attacks against the Israeli-Airline also in Zurich).
Already this I found strange, but even more so when I found out that we were the only passengers at the gate. I started to think “no wonder, they want me to fly with Kenya Airways – because they need more passengers …….”
My doubts even increased when we were brought to the plane with a small bus driving a long way out. I started to think “They must not have paid the Landing Fees to get a decent place ------“
It was dark, late in the evening, and also the plane was dark – there was no light and only one staircase leading to the First-Class Section….. and I felt like asking the Swiss Airport Driver to bring us back to the Terminal ……..
But all of the sudden, all the lights inside the airplane went on ……… a familiar and smiling face appeared at the door.
It was President Daniel arap Moi: “Welcome - I hope, I surprised you ……..”.
When we crossed the Somali Border, two Fighter Jets of the Kenyan Air Force came to accompany the plane to welcome their President and Commander in Chief………………..
That was also the first time he met my daughter and the way it happened – he gave her the impression that these fighter-jets had come just to welcome her to Kenya – left a deep mark on her - and also on me.