[dropcap]S[/dropcap]he was brought to limelight by her elite husband, Dr Robert Ouko, who was assassinated on February 13th, 1990. She has lived in agony for more than 27 years, not knowing the real killer(s) of her husband, and if at all she knew them, justice was never delivered. It is now not a case of justice delayed, but justice denied.
Christabel Ouko, the widow of former Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko, died last evening in road crash along the Awasi-Kericho Highway in Kisumu County, at the age of 76. Coincidentally, it was the same area where her late husband, Dr Ouko, had an accident a few days before he was assassinated.
Very few Kenyans knew about her, let alone knowing her name despite being the wife to a very prominent Kenyan both locally and internationally. Only the internet records that she dropped out of campus to get married to Dr Ouko in 1966.
The standard reports that Mrs Ouko studied at Ng’iya Girls High School for intermediate school (Standard Five to Eight) after which she joined Butere Girls’ for her O-levels. She proceeded to Alliance Girls’ High School and later to the University of Nairobi where she was admitted to read English and Geography in the Faculty of Arts but dropped later to get married.
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Mrs Ouko joined the civil service as a tax officer with the East African Community in Arusha and later became an immigration officer before resigning to join Dr Ouko who was appointed head of the East African Community.
Successive governments have failed or chose not to find out the real killers of the Foreign Affairs minister, whose assassination has variously been linked to a fallout with then President Moi during a tour of the US, corruption and the ownership Kisumu molasses plant.
Various personalities ranging from the late Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott, Ouko’s PS, the late Bethuel Kiplagat to former powerful Internal Security PS, the late Hezekiah Oyugi were fingered as the masterminds, but the truth never came out.
Attempts by Scotland Yard detective John Troon to unravel the mystery surrounding the death were frustrated.
A Commission of Inquiry led by Justice Evan Gicheru similarly hit a dead end.
With time, as key witnesses died one by one, Mrs Ouko chose lead a silent village life with her seven children. She let bygones be bygones, not bothering herself much with knowing the real killers of her husband even suggesting she can serve them tea in her house if they confess.
In 2004, she refused to partake in the investigations towards the death of her husband with the Erick Gor Sungu-led Parliamentary Select Committee, fearing for her life. “You know very well that those who did it are still alive and I would not like to talk about it for obvious reasons,” she said, as quoted by People Daily.
Instead of committing herself to seek justice, she opted to start projects that would ensure that her husband’s name is remembered by generations to come.
In one of her endeavours, she started the Dr Robert Ouko Memorial Library. In recognition to her efforts, the Maktaba Awards recognised Dr Robert Ouko Memorial Library as the best community library in 2015, a year later after its inception.
In a statement, President Uhuru Kenyatta termed Mrs Ouko as a dedicated family woman and a patriot. “During her long life, she distinguished herself by her dedication to her family, her community and her country. She served as a civil servant and then supported her husband as he too served Kenya with distinction,” said President Kenyatta.