Hezekiah Ochuka

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Hezekiah Ochuka
BornJuly 23, 1953
DiedJuly 9, 1987(1987-07-09) (aged 33)
Nairobi, Kenya
NationalityKenyan
Other namesAwour

Hezekiah Rabala Ochuka, (alias Awour) (July 23, 1953 – July 9, 1987) was Senior Private in the Kenya Air Force, who ruled Kenya for about six hours after planning and executing a coup against president Daniel arap Moi.[1] Hezekiah Ochuka was the centre of the August 1, 1982 attempted coup, which the then president Daniel Rap Moi survived in less than a day.[2] The 29-year-old was a Grade 1 – the second lowest rank in the military.[3] Hezekiah was an unapologetic individual who assumed the title of chairman of a so-called "People's Redemption Council" that planned to replace President Moi. Hezekiah's military knowledge and connections made it manageable for him to form a military heist on the Kenyan Government. Hezekiah was not successful in his attempt to completely overthrow his homelands government; but he did manage to have control of the whole country of Kenya for six hours.

Early life and career[edit]

Ochuka, of the Luo ethnic group, was born in Nyakach, Kisumu District. After attending Naki kabete Primary School and Mirogi Secondary School, Ochuka was recruited into the Kenya Air Force on September 14, 1976 in Mombasa.[4] Hezekiah was raised by a single mother and his three older brothers. Being around a majority of men Hezekiah was always influenced by masculinity being that he was raised by his older brothers when a majority of the time the mother was working hard labor jobs to provide for the a family of four boys. He underwent eight weeks of military training at Lanet Army Barracks in Nakuru, and was posted to Eastleigh Air Base. Between 1976 and 1978, he underwent basic trade training in electrical devices and instruments[citation needed], and worked in hangars and bays. From October 30, 1978 to January 21, 1980, he attended a course in RAF Cosford, UK, after which he worked as a Senior Private Grade-I, the second lowest rank in Kenya's military.

The Coup[edit]

On August 1, 1982, Ochuka ruled Kenya for approximately 6 hours, after he led a group of low ranked Air Force servicemen in a coup d'état attempt. The country woke up in confusion as heavy gunfire filled the air. A group of rogue soldiers led by Ochuka had seized power at night after storming the National broadcaster V.O.K(now KBC) where they announced that they were now in charge of the country and were being fought by the loyal soldiers.[5] They forced a group of Air Force fighter pilots to bomb the State House at gunpoint. The supposed "trusted" pilots pretended as if they were listening to orders given to them by their chief, but instead once in the air dropped bombs over Mount Kenya forests. President Moi later announced that loyal army and police units had crushed an attempted coup on his civilian government. The putsch was quickly suppressed by forces commanded by Chief of General Staff Mahamoud Mohamed, a veteran Somali military official. They included the General Service Unit (GSU) — a paramilitary wing of the police — and later the regular police. At least 9 civilians were killed and scores of casualties were reported at the three air force bases. Kenyan Hospitals reported that 50 civilians were treated for gunshot wounds. More than 300 air force personnel were later captured and detained but the colonel who led the coup (Ochuka) was still at large. Ochuka subsequently escaped to Tanzania. He was later extradited to Kenya along with a few more leading accomplices and found guilty in 1987.

After the Coup[edit]

[6] After Hezekiah was captured from Tanzania he was then to be taken back to his home of Kenya to be tried and was found guilty of all charges against him and his team of low ranked air force men. Ogidi (one of Hezekiah's coup accomplices) was told that next morning that Hezekiah and Raila had been shot by the Air Force by accident. For that reason Ogidi was told to pick them up, not sure which one of the two took the initiative to make the call for help. This call ended up being a setup just to capture Ogidi himself. The end came shortly thereafter. Ogidi left the Ngong Road house and drove towards town and on reaching the Grosvenor Hotel,[7] he then found a road block mounted by army personnel under the command of a Navy officer. Ogidi and Opwapo were arrested. Ogidi was taken to Army headquarters and Opwapo was later brought as well. At the time of arrest, Ogidi had (a sub-machine gun) and 32 rounds of ammo which were all taken by the army. Later, Ogidi was transferred to Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. Ochuka was hanged after being convicted of treason following a court martial as well Ogidi.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Just Who Was Hezekiah Ochuka?". Standard Digital.
  2. ^ "Meet the Man Who Ruled Kenya for Six Hours". SDE.
  3. ^ "Leader of Kenyan Coup Attempt Said to Have Been A Private". New York Times.
  4. ^ "The Man who Led the Coup Against President Moi". Kenyans.co.ke.
  5. ^ "The Man Who Led Coup Against President Moi". Kenyans.co.ke.
  6. ^ "Intrigues that Led to Collapse of Power Plot". Daily Nation.
  7. ^ "Kenyan Coup Attempt Said to Have Been Private". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Hangman's Horror Story". AllAfrica.

External links[edit]