And death should not be allowed to cleanse him.
Nicholas Kipyator Kiprono Biwott was not a good man. He was not just bad, he was crooked. He was a thief, a manipulator, a rapist, and probably a murderer. He loved Kenya only to the extent that she let him loot her, and loot her he did [Kroll Report Link p.39].
He spent his adult life in public service putting public money into his private pockets, and then tried to legitimize this ill-gotten wealth. The only person he ever served, truly and wholeheartedly, was himself, not the public that paid his meagre salary but funded his vast wealth through the nose.
Nicholas Biwott stood, with the other man the Grim Reaper claimed before him, GG Kariuki, and told the survivors of Bulla Karatasi (Nov 1980) they would die some more; 3000 bodies were already rotting in the backdrop, too many to bury, too many to forget.
And the people of Bulla Karatasi never forgot GG Kariuki and Biwott, even now, 37 years later, because you never forget people who tell you that it was okay for the police to rape and kill you because ‘in a situation like that, a bullet doesn’t have a target.’
Nicholas Biwott, young and buoyant in power, told a grieving and traumatized crowd that day that “if we find that the peace our president has so firmly blended in our midst is threatened by a person or persons, we shall move in full swing and crush that element wherever it may be” as if his audience was not already crushed, and yet they were innocent of the murder of the four civil servants which had triggered the raid.
Nicholas Biwott was not a good man. In 1995, he tried to rape a housekeeper in a hotel room in Auckland, then pulled power moves when she reported him to the manager and the police. Then on cue, the entire government demanded he be forgiven and deported instead or they would start a shitstorm. T
hey, in no less words, threatened to walk out of an international event if their man was publicly accused of attempted rape, the victim be damned. He was the man, he said later, because a politician needs to be ‘a total man’, and there was no politician as total as he was. That’s why he became the ‘Bull’, not the ‘sex pest’ or the ‘rapist’ of Auckland.
Nicholas Biwott was always the victim, even when the actual victim was traumatised or lay in a coffin. He was targeted by authors who conjured stories of his involvement in corruption, extortion and murder, by book sellers who stocked those books, and by newspapers which repeated those stories.
He was a victim in Auckland, and a victim of Troon, who for some odd reason chose him as his main suspect in the brutal murder of Dr. Robert Ouko. He had teams of lawyers whose entire brief was to fight the many allegations by any means necessary, sometimes bordering on the absurd. Any book or report that mentioned him, even as a suspect, he went after. He was a victim of whoever mentioned his involvement in any form in the 1992 ethnic clashes, even when it was two government commissions.
So Nicholas Kipyator Biwott sued all of them, and those he couldn’t, he hired expensive private investigators to distort the claimed facts, like a good politician+lawyer combo. Others he simply visited and calmly pointed at the book saying “I demand you stop selling this book”, as if it was a request. Others he called in the middle of their day and demanded answers about stories they had written. Then he realised they were nothing to him, Bure Kabisa, and hang up laughing.
Nicholas Biwott enriched himself through manipulation and extortion, and outright corruption. His name was missing from corruption stories in Kenya because what he didn’t own he could intimidate, bribe or sue. He leashed the banking system to himself, forcing ‘political banks’ to loan his companies money and then using his power as a minister and Moi’s confidante to ‘block all attempts to secure repayment.’
The only way they got their money back was to tell his boss that they would leave and stop investing if he was not forced to repay. Yet foreigners repeatedly fought his grabby fingers, even once refusing to give any money to projects within the ministries he led. That was after millions of dollars walked itself out of the Turkwell hydroelectric project, and Biwott knew nothing about it. And he sued to have the next book that claimed he did removed from bookshelves.
Nicholas Biwott, a short man with a soft accented voice, sued them so hard that no one before or after him has ever won as much money as he did in defamation suits. But it was all legitimate of course, not because he intimidated or owned the judges in those cases that gave him over 60 million in just four cases.
That was a lot of money, but it found Nicholas Biwott already a rich man. Of course from sheer hard work toiling the public sector for tenders, forcing banks not to recall loans to him, and demanding commissions for international projects. He was Moi’s confidante and his bagman, but he was also a hardworking Kenyan for himself, within public coffers and lands. He got land illegally from Kaptagat Forest, and owned so much more that whenever anti-corruption or government agencies went after him, they discovered they were his tenants.
I think the unfinished Yaya Tower is the most fitting monument to Biwott there is. A massive, public eyesore. Much like its owner.
— Habeus Testiculi (@Buggz79) July 13, 2017
Nicholas Biwott was to be feared and loathed even when he left power. Death is the only reason this obituary can be written. He owned the system so it could never turn back on him, so everything remained a mere allegation, and there were many. In life, his name was to be whispered, and books read and re-read to ensure they did not mention his name, even in good light. He was suspicious and paranoid, because he was bad, and he was haunted.
His own boss, business partner, and fellow looter, Moi, didn’t know where he lived. He never ate his own food for fear someone would poison him, and refused to own a phone, borrowing them instead from random strangers. He never told his drivers where they were going, and chose to treat everyone around him like a potential traitor. These were not just eccentricities, this was sheer paranoia borne of a lifetime of screwing people over and demanding their fear, not their loyalty. He was a man on edge, day in and day out. He lived like a hunted drug lord, not a career public servant and one of the richest people in Kenya.
When Nicholas Biwott was Nicholas Biwott, his word was law. He was everything that was bad about the Moi regime. Second to the man with an ivory stick himself, Biwott epitomized the rot that drove Kenya to its knees, and even further. In life he fought harder than anyone else to wipe out the fact that he was not a good man.
That his legacy was already stained and broken. In death, he must not be allowed to continue doing that.
Or perhaps he should get exactly what he wanted in life, to be forgotten.
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One story is good,
till Another is told.
Last modified: February 12, 2020