The Kenya Forum | Marianne Briner-Mattern: destroyer of Raila Odinga's presidential bid? - The Kenya Forum

February 12, 2012


Who is Marianne Briner-Mattern? Part One. In this exposé of the life of this interesting character in Kenyan political history, we consider the part she played, or alleges herself to have played, in destroying Raila Odinga’s presidential bid.

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Marianne Briner-Mattern: destroyer of Raila Odinga’s presidential bid?

Marianne Briner-Mattern: destroyer of Raila Odinga’s presidential bid?

Marianne Briner-Mattern, the sometimes Swiss-German, sometimes Swiss-Italian, sometimes businesswoman, sometimes ‘International Escort’, features so often in the modern history of Kenyan politics you would be forgiven for thinking that she held some high post in national government.

Over the years, Briner-Mattern has managed to insert herself into many of Kenya’s most newsworthy scandals. Her involvement, as the ‘star witness’ in the Gor Sunguh Commission investigation into the death of Dr. Robert Ouko and in the New Scotland Yard ‘Final Report’ into Ouko’s murder in the first place, is what initially drew our focus to her.

We have lain bare the facts that undermine Marianne Briner-Mattern’s testimonies in these investigations before. For a detailed breakdown of why her testimony is not to be trusted, read our article on ‘Murder of Dr Robert Ouko: what really happened’ but for the here and the now suffice it to say that the testimony she gave in both these investigations in now considered with great suspicion.

At the time of the initial investigation, carried out by New Scotland Yard, the lead investigator, a Superintendent John Troon, described Briner-Mattern as “honest” and “reliable”. What has emerged since suggests otherwise.

In our first article focussing on the question of ‘Who is Marianne Briner-Mattern, we wanted to consider her claim that it was her hand that scuttled Raila Odinga’s presidential bid in 2002.

Who is Marianne Briner-Mattern*: the scuttler of Raila Odinga’s presidential bid?

In 2004, Briner-Mattern claimed that she had ’scuttled’ Raila Odinga’s plans to become Kenya’s third president with ‘just one phone call’ in 2002.

Briner-Mattern told the East African Standard that she and Odinga had been great friends until Baba made “a bad mistake” that she could not forgive him for. Her revenge, so she claimed, was to convince a “former Kenyan friend” in KANU’s high command to treat Odinga with the “utmost suspicion”.

Briner-Mattern’s falling-out with Raila Odinga came about because he had not helped her get “huge sums” in the way of compensation for her supposed involvement in the Kisumu Molasses Project. She revealed all in a letter to the lawyer Paul Muite, according to the East African Standard, in which she said a planned meeting with Odinga and others was called off because she wanted to bring along her son-in-law who she claimed was a member of the German Secret Service.

Who is Marianne Briner-Mattern? The accuser accused

The story then takes an ironical turn for Briner-Mattern. According to her testimony, a Thomas Ojanga of the Nairobi branch of Deloitte and Touche, and part of the Odinga circle, accused Briner-Mattern of being responsible for the murder of Dr Robert Ouko (not the first or the last time she would be so accused).

Briner-Mattern alleged that Ojanga told her, “the Luo community including you (Raila) as their leader are even believing that I was directly involved in the killing of Dr Ouko”.

In a letter to Raila Odinga, Briner-Mattern, not a woman to be out-done when it came to threats, told him: “You may think that you are safe since you could create problems for me to come to Kenya personally to give evidence, but you should not underestimate my connections”.

Raila Odinga on Marianne Briner-Mattern: “Her entire story may be fake”

Raila Odinga reportedly told the East African Standard that Briner-Mattern had written to him about reviving the Kisuma Molasses project but that her correspondence “did not amount to much” and that she eventually demanded money from him “in what he thought amounted to extortion”.

Raila Odinga was quoted by the East African Standard as saying about Briner-Mattern’s accusations, “If that is what she is saying, then her entire story may be a fake”.

For the second part of our investigation into the question of who is Marianne Briner-Mattern, we’ll explore the ‘date rape’ allegations she made against former CNN reporter Jeff Koinange.

You can access that article here: ‘Marianne Briner-Mattern: Jeff Koinange’s ‘date rape’ accuser

For part 3: ‘Marianne Briner-Mattern: President Moi’s mistress?click here. 

*Referred to in Raila Odinga’s autobiography ‘the Flame of Freedom’ as ‘Brenda Brimmer-Martens’ (Book ‘written with Sarah Elderkin’).


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