On Saturday, Kenyans were shocked when gun men waylaid a Member of Parliament at a roundabout in Nairobi, shot him, his two body guards and driver dead. They made off with a briefcase and the pistols of his guards without seemingly much resistance.
I spoke to a retired intelligence officer who for many years was part of the teams with ‘protected the State’ (read government of the day) using clandestine methods, including torture and murder. He is now a security consultant. It was a long conversation but a sobering one too.
For many of us who have lived to witness State-inspired assassinations, you would have thought the weekend killing was one of them, considering the daring nature of the assailants who acted like they had immunity.
In the opinion of the security consultant, it was unlikely that the State was involved. He then took me through the way the State has made a clean break from the dirty past of torturing, and murdering its opponents to ‘better’ methods that leave no traces or suspicion but at most, mere speculation as to who or what may have destroyed an opponent.
He claimed that these days, poisoning is the most popular of these methods. It all begins with studying the movements and other behavioural patterns of the target. It is easier if the target is a gregarious person who eats and drinks freely in public places. (If the target is into ‘skirt chasing’ it is a walk in the park for at one time or another, their judgment will be blurred by their secret romantic exploits.)
A waiter or waitress may then be enlisted to lace his food or drink with sophisticated poison that will not kill the person instantly but days, weeks or even months later. In other instances, the victim may be blinded, lose his speech or suffer a mysterious ailment that will incapacitate them and take them from being effective as government opponents. He cautioned about watching food and drinks, being careful about where one shops, and who does the shopping, etc.
But what shocked me most was his revelation that ever since the world was afflicted by HIV/Aids, many governments formed what he called ‘Sex Squads’. He informed me that young nice looking men and women who are HIV positive are secretly recruited by security agencies. They are given a lot of money and sent to lure unsuspecting opponents with the aim of infecting them as well. If the opponent proves to be difficult and is faithful to their spouse, then members of these squads are sent to the spouse with a lot of money and expensive items such as cars, computers, phones, and even holidays abroad.
The aim of this is to start up a romantic relationship, and infect the spouse who will then pass on the virus to the unsuspecting partner.
Our man tells me that it was discovered that the ‘mystery’ of the source of the infection and the breakdown in trust between the target and their spouse psychologically destabilise the government opponent and sends most of them into depression.
Homes break down and the opponent is in a devastated state of mind that leaves them thinking more about their health and survival. They are bitter and less focused. They become less concerned about fighting the government, may occasionally be bed ridden and reduced to asking for help from the very government that has caused their predicament.
He concluded that “the next time a young nubile ‘sweet thing’ throws herself at a government opponent, they should not think that they are the best thing that has ever happened since sliced bread. She may have come to deliver the express ticket from the devil to speed the journey to the next world!
I felt like I had been to a funeral.
Mr Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues. firstname.lastname@example.org