[What follows is excerpted from an interesting, if not always wholly accurate, article in today's edition of the Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation:]
In the early years of his rule, when he was youthful and bubbling with energy, President Daniel arap Moi was always on the road at home, or in the skies visiting some foreign country. (...)
... on November 14, 1988 he left for a four-day State visit to Iran.
The No 2 passenger in the manifest of the presidential jet was Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko.
Media reports at the time showed the Kenyan President was thrown a red carpet welcome by his Iranian counterpart and visiting factories outside the capital Tehran.
On returning home, President Moi said Kenya would be selling more tea to the Middle-East country and would support the Palestinian cause.
Never mind within weeks of the visit, Kenya resumed diplomatic ties with Israel which had been “severed” 15 years earlier.
Nothing else was said about the Iran visit by the Kenyan President.
Then Lockerbie happened. At seven in the evening London time, Pan-Am passenger airliner Boeing 747 flew out of the Heathrow Airport en route to New York.
Undetected in the luggage compartment was a suitcase containing a cassette-player.
Inside the gadget was an odourless plastic explosive with an atmospheric timer.
In about 40 minutes, the flight climbed to the trigger height — 31,000 feet above sea level — over a village near Lockerbie town in Scotland. Then hell rained.
The bomb exploded, breaking the plane into a thousand pieces that scattered over a kilometre radius.
The intact part of the fuselage hit the ground with such a force it created a medium-sized crater. Two hundred and seventy lives were lost.
A month after the tragedy, the British periodical well-known for juicy leaks, the Private Eye reported that among the passengers in the ill-fated US airliner were officers from the US Intelligence outfit, the CIA, who had been in Iran to negotiate a secret deal to release American and other western foreigners held hostage in Iran and Lebanon.
The report went further to say that during the visit to Iran by President Moi a month before the Lockerbie tragedy, it had been agreed with Iranian authorities that Dr Ouko be one of the go-betweens in the Iran/US secret negotiations.
The rationale was that Dr Ouko could be trusted as an honest broker by both Iranian and US diplomats with whom he had struck friendship in his role as Kenya’s foremost diplomat.
Neither Kenya or the US confirmed or denied the story carried in the British publication. Both conveniently assumed they never read or heard about it. (...)
In the Lebanon hostage crisis, [President Ronald Reagan] started circumventing the law that restricted arms sales to Iran.
He did so by having the CIA secretly sell arms to Iran and divert part of the proceeds to fund anti-communist rebels in then rogue Central American country of Nicaragua in what was called the Iran/Contra affair.
From the story in the British publication, the Private Eye, it would appear President Reagan also had other spanners in work in the Lebanon hostage crisis and where Kenya was looped in.
Dr Robert Ouko would mysteriously disappear, only to be found murdered slightly over a year after the Lockerbie tragedy.
Incidentally, he had just come from a trip in the US with the President [Moi] when he vanished.
Libya would be accused of having masterminded the Lockerbie terrorist bombing of the US jetliner and forced to surrender, after long drawn pressure, two of her citizens for trial in Scotland, and also to compensate victims of the plane explosion.
The story was that Libya did so to revenge the bombing of her cities of Tripoli and Benghazi ordered by President Reagan two years before Lockerbie tragedy.
But five years ago, a former Iranian intelligence officer disclosed that it was Iran, working with Syria, that organised the Lockerbie bombing to revenge what was called “accidental” downing of an Iranian civilian jet by a US warship, killing 290 people five months before the Lockerbie tragedy.
All in all, nothing has ever came out clearly on who did what and why in the Lockerbie matter — least of all Kenya that was at some point looped in the murky affairs of the powder keg that is the Middle-East.