Powerful Moi Era cabinet minister is dead

Powerful Moi Era cabinet minister is dead

By Stephanie Odhiambo, stephieodhiambo@gmail.com

The country is yet mourning the passing of another leader. The former powerful Cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott died on Tuesday in Nairobi at the age of 77. This comes three days after the passing on of the Cabinet Secretary for Interior Security, Rtd. General joseph Nkaissery, and one week since the passing of the senator for Laikipia, G.G Kariuki.

Mr. Biwott was a force to reckon with during the Nyayo-era and was among the closest allies of the former president. He is said to be the only politician to have ever ridden with President Moi in his presidential limousine apart from the late senator G.G Kariuki.

The National Vision Party leader looked shy in the public eye but the mention of his name alone during the Moi regime was enough to instill fear and elicit feelings of hatred and anger on his enemies. He guarded his public life and it is said that he had episodes of paranoia and he would not travel in one car to his destinations. His association to President Moi and the massive wealth he had acquired, added with his mysterious nature made people to fear him more.

Apart from being mysterious, he was also controversial. He was linked to corruption, mysterious deaths of opponents of the KANU regime and violation of human rights. He was allegedly associated with the most famous assassination in the Moi regime, of the then minister of Foreign affairs, Dr. Robert Ouko. Scotland Yard detective, John Troon sought to draw a link between the murder of the minister whose charred body was found in Got Alila near his Koru home, and Biwott’s interests in the molasses plant in Kisumu. Detectives said that they disagreed over the cancellation of the Kisumu molasses plant.

He has left an enviable business empire in different sectors of the economy like energy, tourism, mining, real estate, telecommunications, air transport, construction and agriculture. He had interests in Yaya Centre, Kenol Kobil Petroleum among others.

Former President Moi said he had lost a very dependable friend and described him as a dedicated public servant. President Uhuru in a statement said he was deeply saddened by the news and that the former minister was a good public servant. The two fought over the ownership of KANU in 2006. The President said he will remember him for his deep devotion to the education of young Kenyans and development.