Bruce McKenzie

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Bruce McKenzie
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F008932-0028A, BMWi, Landwirtschaftsminister von Kenia.jpg
Bruce McKenzie second from left.
Richmond, Natal Province, South Africa
Died24 May 1978 (aged 59)
Cause of deathTime bomb
TitleKenyan Minister of Agriculture

Bruce Roy McKenzie DSO DFC (1919 – 24 May 1978) was a South African-born Kenyan politician. He was the Minister of Agriculture in Kenya[1] during the presidency of Jomo Kenyatta, to whom he was an adviser.[2] He is alleged to have been an agent for British, South African or Israeli intelligence[3] by various people. He was assassinated on the orders of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

Early life[edit]

McKenzie was born in 1919 in Richmond in South Africa's Natal Province. He joined the South African Air Force in 1939, and was seconded during World War II to Britain's Royal Air Force, with which he saw action in North Africa, the Mediterranean and European theatres. Following his air force service, he emigrated to Kenya in 1946 and became a prominent farmer in Nakuru.[4]

Political career[edit]

In January 1976, McKenzie was involved in the kidnapping of two German and three Arab suspected terrorists wanted by Israel for an attempted missile attack on an El Al airliner taking off from the airport of Nairobi.[5] The five were secretly transported to Israel and later sentenced to long prison terms.[6]

In late June 1976, during Operation Entebbe, McKenzie persuaded Kenyan President Kenyatta to permit Mossad to collect intelligence prior to the operation, and to allow the Israeli Air Force access to the Nairobi airport.[7] Before the operation, McKenzie flew his private plane to Entebbe to enable Mossad agents to take aerial photographs of the airport installations and parked fighter jets which were soon destroyed by the Israeli troops.[3]

In retaliation, Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate McKenzie. He was killed on 24 May 1978 when a bomb attached to his aircraft exploded.[2][7][8][9] The bomb was reportedly concealed inside either a mounted antelope head or a carved wooden statue in the form of a lion's head McKenzie had been presented as a gift from Idi Amin just prior to the flight.[10][11]

MacKenzie was survived by his wife, Christina, three sons[12] and two daughters. Later, Mossad Chief Director Meir Amit had a forest planted in Israel in McKenzie's name.[7]


  1. ^ Kenya Gazette. 11 May 1966. p. 500. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Ugandan agents killed former Cabinet minister, says dossier". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b Oluoch, Fred (22 July 2013). "Spy who was killed in plane crash" (PDF). The Daily Nation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  4. ^ Maxon, Robert M. (2014). Historical Dictionary of Kenya. ISBN 0810874695.
  5. ^ Kahana, Ephraim (2006). Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence. Oxford: Scarecrow Press. p. 171. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Two German Terrorists Repatriated Before Completing 10-year Term". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 26 December 1980. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Melman, Yossi. "A history of cooperation between Israel and Kenya". JPost. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  8. ^ Ephraim Kahana (2006). Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  9. ^ Entebbe: The Most Daring Raid of Israel's Special Forces – Simon Dunstan – Google Books. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  10. ^ Gawaya-Tegulle, Tom (7 September 1997). "Background Article: Angry Amin Takes Revenge (Entebbe Raid Part 4)". The Monitor. Archived from the original on October 20, 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  11. ^ Cooper, Carole (1993). Kenya: The National Epic. Nairobi: East African Publishers. p. 209. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  12. ^ "Person Page". Retrieved 2018-10-22.

External links[edit]