Unanswered Questions On Kiboi Death

Mr. James Kiboi, a Kenyan diplomat who died in Oslo in a house inferno on Sunday September 10th was probably one of the most progressive diplomat to have been posted at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm in recent times. Those who met Mr. Kiboi in life will probably attest to the fact that he might have had a special mission to redeem the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm and to bring the mission closer to the Kenyan community in Scandinavia. Kiboi’s life ended abruptly but the circumstances under which he died needs to be questioned. Although Kenyans and friends are meeting at Kiboi’s residence almost on a daily basis, critical questions related to Kiboi’s death are not being taken up on a serious scale. As an investigation report is awaited, Kenya Stockholm Blog (KSB) believes that certain questions need to be asked publicly. 

For example, Mr. Kiboi was reportedly on an official mission in Oslo. A diplomat especially of Mr. Kiboi’s stature should have been putting up in a hotel possibly in Oslo. According to investigations by Kenya Stockholm Blog (KSB), the villa in which Mr. Kiboi was burnt beyond recognition belonged to a Kenyan woman called Mary who hailed from Nyahururu in Kenya. A reliable source has disclosed that Mary was residing in the villa together with her two children and paying rent. KSB has also established that Mary is one of the women who got very severe burns during the fire and the latest information is that she has been flown to a special hospital in Norway for severely burnt people. The question which has to be asked is: How did Mr. Kiboi end up spending the night in a villa belonging to a Kenyan woman when he was on official duty and therefore was supposed to have been spending the night in a hotel? In other words, was Mr. Kiboi lured to the villa by some unidentified people or was it a fatal detour from official routine?

KSB has established that Mr. Kiboi was last seen at Masawa Bar which belonged to an Eritrean national. There are certain realities which might be negative on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Kiboi’s death but since KSB has established that they are true, they need to be brought up for purposes of completing the picture.  The late diplomat was in the company of three women. Mary, the villa owner, was in the company of Mr. Kiboi together with another woman who has since been identified as Naomi from Kiambu district in Kenya. The question which needs to be asked is: Who were these women, were they known to Kiboi’s family or how did Kiboi end up in their company at the villa? Could they have been used by a third party without their knowledge in a conspiracy that might have ended up in Kiboi losing his life or are we dealing with a normal fire tragedy?

A bigger issue is that about ten people survived the fire including women and two small children. KSB has learnt that from Masawa bar, the group that was around Mr. Kiboi went to the villa to continue “partying”. What this means is that at the time of the fire, anybody who had been consuming alcohol the whole night must have been properly inebriated. The fire broke out at around 8.00 on Sunday September 10th. The rational assumption which could be made is that anybody who had been drinking the whole night is likely to have been asleep at the time of the fire. The question is: How did everybody survive the fire except Kiboi? Kiboi is known by friends who have been close to him as a person who has a powerful capacity to maintain control even in a serious state of inebriation. How comes that on the fateful Sunday, he was the only one who could not manage to run for deer life when even little children managed to escape?

It has been established by KSB that there was pandemonium as the villa was being filled with smoke. There was noise and that it is this noise that awakened some people who were in the house, enabling them to escape from the fire. The question is: How did everybody discover that the house was on fire thereby managing to escape except Mr. Kiboi who is known to be as fit as a fiddle, fast and spontaneous?

When a fire breaks out, it normally takes time before the fire engulfs a building depending on the cause of fire. One thing is certain. Smoke must have filled the villa as the fire spread. Every rational person knows that smoke has a chocking effect regardless of whether or not one is drunk. This effect alone could be enough to awaken a person from a drunken stupor. The question is: How comes that Mr. Kiboi simply swallowed the smoke without his body responding in a way that could awaken him to run for his life. Is it possible that Mr. Kiboi just lay there on his bed to be consumed by fire without making a single move or was Mr. Kiboi already dead at the time of the fire?

In any modern house in Europe or the United States, there are gadgets called smoke detectors or “fire alarm”. They normally go off during the first stages when smoke begins to develop. In Sweden, an alarm could go off when you are grilling meat in your oven. The villa where Kiboi perished was made of wood, a good media for fire. This means that according to European Housing standards, the villa should have had a good fire alarm. Anybody who has tested a fire alarm of European standards knows that it makes a near deafening noise that is likely to be detected by at least one person especially in a situation where ten people are asleep. The question is: Was there a fire alarm in the villa? If yes, did it go off? If yes, was it detected by anybody? If yes, was there an effort to alert others in the villa? If yes, how come only Kiboi got stuck in the house? If the answers to the key questions here are “no”, then what really did happen?

The fire that engulfed the villa must have spread very quickly. People who were in the house got severe burns as they fled the fire. The impression a critical mind gets is that the speed at which the fire spread could mean that an inflammable substance might have been at play. The question is: Was the rapid spread of fire facilitated by an inflammable substance? The answer could be yes or no. Assuming that it is yes, could there have been a human element which followed Mr. Kiboi to the villa with murder as an agenda or did Kiboi die in a pure fire accident in an isolated villa in Oslo?

It is intriguing to learn that there are people who survived the fire without burns whatsoever. Were these people also asleep or how exactly did they manage to survive a fire unscathed? It is pointless to ignore the fact that some Kenyan women might have been involved with Kiboi in ways that cannot, at this time, be verified. Kiboi was a man of the people and the fact that he was with some women on a drinking table does not mean that he was involved in a romantic way. Any romantic link could be painful to Kiboi’s family especially his wife and at a time of mourning. However, to ignore this fact is also to ignore reality. Could it be that the case involved some jealous forces which might have decided to “fix” Kiboi out of some romantic jealousy or should Kenyans be made to believe that the fire which killed Kiboi was an accident which will never be understood?

Official police investigations is not yet out and the investigations might come up with a totally different explanation. KSB has had tremendous difficulties in the process of digging out the details as to what might have happened. The main obstacle is that there appears to be a conspiracy of silence around Kiboi’s death especially on the real circumstances of the fire. In fact, the lid that has been placed on the Kiboi issue is so tight that there is fear that even the Norwegian police might not be able to get to the bottom of the matter. From a technical point of view, it should be possible for police to establish the cause of the fire. But if survivors conspire to with-hold the truth about other circumstances, the truth on the real cause of Kiboi’s death might not come out. The question is: Why are survivors or those in the know not saying much? Is there something they are hiding or are they still too traumatized to speak? The questions above should continue to concern all those who knew and loved Mr. Kiboi. Like anybody else, KSB will continue to await the police investigation and report on any new detail that comes up.

Okoth Osewe


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