Kenya: inquest into murder of Fr John Kaiser reopens

The inquest into the murder of Catholic priest, John Anthony Kaiser, an American Mill Hill missionary, was reopened in Nairobi last week. Fr Kaiser, an outspoken campaigner for human rights was found murdered at Morendat in Naivasha, about 85 kilometres north west of Nairobi, on 23 August, 2000.

Initial investigations suggested that he had committed suicide, but the forensic evidence made this extremely unlikely and the Catholic Church and Fr Kaiser's family have called for years for a more thorough investigation into the case.

On Friday, a former Kenyan cabinet minister, Julius ole Sunkuli was cross-examined by the defence lawyer, Mbuthi Gathenji, in relation to allegations that he was involved in an earlier plot to kill the priest in a plane crash at Metakwar in Kilgoris in Ngong Diocese.

A catechist, Francis Kantai, had earlier testified at the inquest that Sunkuli had tried to involve him in the plot, with some other people, because he worked closely with the priest. Mr Sunkuli admitted that that there had been 'bad blood' between him and Fr Kaiser. He said they had many dissagreements. One was over the removal of a headmistress of a Catholic secondary school after the students' poor performance in national examinations, he told the inquest. But he strongly denied plotting to murder him.

Three members of the US investigative FBI are due in Nairobi on March 5 to testify at the inquest. They are: Tom Neer, a specialist in behavioural analysis: Dr Vincent Di Maio, a forensics specialist and Bill Corbett, who has worked in counter terrorism. Lawyer Gethinji said the three FBI senior officers have been allocated the whole of March, beginning from March 5.

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