The front page of today’s Star newspaper reported on a story published in the March issue of The Nairobi Law Monthly which alleges that former President Moi’s son Jonathan ‘raped and murdered’ the British tourist Julie Ward in 1988. Jonathan Moi has robustly denied the claim and denies ever having met Julie Ward. The article in the Nairobi Law Monthly is supposedly by Julie’s father, John Ward, but the Kenya Forum has its doubts about both its origin and contents.
To start with the extensive article that runs across 23 pages in the magazine is written in the third person to begin with, switches to the first person (i.e. John Ward’s personal account), swaps between the two and ends back to the third person towards the end of the article. It has the appearance in places of an article that has been pasted together from two or more sources and the Forum queries whether John Ward is actually aware that his name has been put to it.
The allegation that Jonathan Moi had anything to do with Julie Ward’s murder surfaced as a ‘rumour’ via the British High Commission in Nairobi as far back as 2004 but some 16 years after the killing. The Kenya Forum however, is not aware of any substantiated allegation implicating Moi in any of the literature on the subject.
JULIE WARD’S MURDER: JONATHAN MOI AND THE KODIPO ALLEGATIONS
One of the key sources for the allegation in the Nairobi Law Monthly’s article is given as one ‘Valentine Uruhu Kodipo’, referred to later in the article as ‘Valentine Ohuru Kodipo’. ‘The information provided by this informant is long, detailed and encompasses many crimes, allegedly committed on behalf of President Moi’s Government’, the article says, and includes, ‘a segment on the murder of Julie Ward, who he alleged, was murdered on the instructions of Jonathan Moi’.
Well Mr ‘Valentinus Ujure Kodipo’ as the Forum believes his named was spelt, let’s just call him Kodipo, has form as they say and the Forum wonders if The Star, the Nairobi Law Monthly and indeed our readers, are aware of it. John’s Ward’s attitude toward him as a witness was also somewhat different to that suggested in the article.
KODIPO AND THE ‘KALENJIN WARRIORS’ ALLEGATION
In 1992 Kodipo had also given testimony to the Kiliku Committee investigating tribal violence in Kenya. Kodipo claimed that former government minister Nicholas Biwott had financed a group of “Kalenjin warriors” to cause tribal clashes and incited inter-tribal violence at rallies in Kapkatet and Narok.
The Kiliku Committee’s report when put to a vote of the National House of Assembly however, was not adopted for being ‘shallow’, ‘inadequate’ and ‘malicious’. No evidence was produced at the time, or indeed afterwards, that the allegations were in any way true.
Kodipo’s testimony, which was not recorded verbatim, was not included in the Kiliku Report, and was subsequently shown to be nonsense.
On 6 October 1992 the Hon. Terer, Assistant Minister for Tourism & Wildlife, discredited Kodipo’s evidence by producing an affidavit of one Samuel Tunoi who Mr Kodipo had cited as his source. This affidavit proved Kodipo a liar. On 29 September the Hon. Mrs Ndete MP, one of the members of the Kiliku Committee, stated, “…we did not believe those (Kodipo’s) allegations”.
THIS TIME KODIPO ACCUSES BIWOTT – RUBBISH, SAYS JOHN WARD
Kodipo was later to allege that Nicholas Biwott was involved in the murder of Ward. Again Kodipo’s allegation over Julie Ward’s murder was subsequently totally discredited by the investigation team headed by none other than John Ward, Julie Ward’s father.
In rejecting Kidipo’s allegations, John Ward said, “ All along, I have never believed in the witness claimed by Kodipo despite the fact that both the United Nations and the majority of the Western Countries believed his claims, which they have also discovered were aimed at harvesting huge sums of money from them”. Mr Ward added, “Kodipo’s motive for his claims could have been political mischief”.
The National Assembly’s comprehensive rejection of the Kiliku report and John Ward’s equally emphatic rejection of Kodipo’s allegations did not stop newspapers, campaign organisations and indeed foreign governments giving them credence, and now its seems, The Nairobi Law Monthly.
WHAT DID JOHN WARD REALLY THINK OF KODIPO AS A WITNESS?
In the article John Ward supposedly wrote, ‘I did not entirely accept Kodipo’s story, partly because it seemed too improbable’ but given the credence with which they were believed by the British Government and the UN, he mused, ‘I wonder whether my personal doubts are misplaced’.
KODIPO: ‘PATHOLOGICAL LIAR AND A FRAUD’
‘I did not entirely accept Kodipo’s story’? John Ward had put it much stronger that in the past, just as he had dismissed Kodipo’s allegation against Biwott. At the inquest held in 2003 in the UK into Julie Ward’s death, John Ward, speaking at the closing of the inquest termed Kodipo as, “a perpetual, pathological liar and a fraud” who used him to claim asylum status in Europe.
What John Ward was referring to was the fact that Kodipo had been spirited away by the UN and the Danish Government, the latter granting him ‘asylum’ in northern Denmark (the Canadian’s having turned him down probably because of his alleged murderous past).
The Kenya Forum was told some time ago that John Ward went to Denmark to interview Kodipo. He was unable to do so. By then Kodipo had not only been granted asylum, he was locked up in a mental asylum and could not be reached.
Kodipo died in December 2009, although no mention of that fact was made in the Nairobi Law Monthly. His wife gave his age as being 36 years old. If that were true, Kodipo would have been aged 15 at the time of Julie Ward’s murder and unlikely to have been part of a Moi hit squad.
There is much to this story that does not add up. The Kenya Forum will investigate more and report back…