The Kenya Forum | Robert Ouko's bodyguard, Zablon Obonyo, dies aged 90 - The Kenya Forum

February 3, 2018


Zablon Agalo Obonyo, the Administration Police guard who was attached to the Koru home of Dr Robert Ouko, Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs who was murdered on 13 February 1990, has died at the age of 90.

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Robert Ouko’s bodyguard, Zablon Obonyo, dies aged 90

Robert Ouko’s bodyguard, Zablon Obonyo, dies aged 90

Zablon Agalo Obonyo, pictured above, was the Administration Police guard who was attached to the Koru home of Dr Robert Ouko, Kenya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Ouko was murdered on 13 February 1990. It is a murder that still captivated the Kenyan communal imagination to this day.

Zablon Agalo Obonyo died at the age of 90. He will be buried this afternoon in the Kapuonja Sub Location in Kisumu County.

No doubt, within hours, Mr Obonyo’s death will be termed ‘mysterious’, as the death of just about anyone connected to the Ouko murder story is soon described, whatever the circumstances of their passing, and indeed, even if they are sometimes still alive!

Indeed, over the years, Zablon Obonyo, who was about 90 years old at the time of his death, had been described by various media reports as having already ‘died mysteriously’. This was something I joked with about about when I interviewed at his home him in June 2015, when working on the research and script for a six-part TV documentary, Murder at Got Alila – Who Killed Dr Robert Ouko and Why? that was aired on Citizen TV over six nights in March 2017.

Obonyo, a minor witness in the investigations and inquiries into Ouko’s murder, laughed mightily when I pinched his arm and said, “Sir, I just wanted to confirm that you are alive! I read that you died years ago!”

He was old and frail then, so hopefully, having attained the grand old age of 90, perhaps Zablon Obonyo’s name won’t be added to the absurd list of those who have supposedly “died mysteriously” in connection with the Ouko murder.

The infamous parliamentary select committee chaired by Gor Sunguh

One of his son’s, however, was put on that list by the infamous Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) ‘investigation’ into Ouko’s death, under its equally infamous chairman Gor Sunguh (2004-05). But this too was untrue as Obonyo confirmed to me.

Amos Oidho Agalo (one of Zablon Obonyo’s sons) was a farm-hand at Dr Ouko’s farm. He was living with his father at the farm in February 1990 at the time of Ouko’s murder. The PSC report included his name in a list of witnesses it said had died “mysteriously”.

The PSC’s “mysterious deaths” list however, also contained the name of former Detective Sergeant Ken Lindsey, who had been on the New Scotland Yard investigation team brought in by President Moi to investigate Ouko’s murder. Kenya Forum readers will therefore perhaps be surprised to learn the Mr Lindsey is still alive and living in south London, that we have exchanged several emails, and that I spoke to him just before Christmas on the telephone.

Oidho Agalo, however, also did not die “mysteriously”, at least not according to his father.

In a mixture of faltering Luo and English, Mr Obonyo told me, “My sons, I had five in total but God took one…. My son just died his own death… He didn’t die on matters regarding Ouko or whatever… If sickness enters the body and kills the person, you cannot take advantage and put it on the dead person… I couldn’t take the boys death then put it on Ouko.”

May Mr Zablon Agalo Obonyo now rest in peace. And may the ghost of Dr Robert Ouko haunt those people, who I believe are still alive, who were the real murderers of Kenya’s late Minister of Foreign Affairs so that he too may rest in peace.


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