Sep 21, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Lt Gen Nick Leshan: The man who flew 1982 Coup plotters to Tanzania

Was he part of the conspiracy, as the Tanzanian court ruled, or was he kidnapped to evacuate the coup plotters detained by the Kenyan government?

While most of the senior Kenyan officers involved Air Force, including Major General Peter Mwagiru Kariuki, were either released or imprisoned, Leshan survived in the ranks and retired as Lieutenant General.

It all began early in the morning of August 1, 1982, when soldiers of the Der von Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka-led Eastleigh Air Force Base managed to seize key facilities in Nairobi and announced that they had overthrown Daniela Arap Moi’s government.

But hours later, Major General’s army succeeded Mahmoud Mohamed Suppress the Mutiny as the leaders of the ring – Snr Pvt Ochuka and Sgt Pancras Oteyo Okumu fled to Eastleigh Air Base in the hope of either to fight or to flee.

At around 11 a.m., Leshan said he was arrested from his home at the Snr Pvt Ochuka Air Force Base and had to lie on his stomach near the operation. s center, where Ochuka spoke to some soldiers and urged them to fight.

Together on the spot were Col (Ronald) Kiluta, who later became an MP, a Maj Mbaka, a Lt Odhiambo and Maj William Jack Marende – the Pilot who was supposed to accompany Leshan on his escape to Tanzania.

Shortly afterwards, according to Leshan, he and Marende were forced into a limousine car, an Alfasud, and driven in the direction of the Buffalo 210 aircraft.

“Don’t be surprised to find Col Kiluta dead,” Ochuka said as they got into the car. Oteyo sat in the back seat, armed with a submachine gun.

“Immediately after I locked the plane, I heard Maj Marende receive instructions from Snr Pvt Ochuka to fly to Tanzania,” Leshan later said Court.

The problem was that he had no maps or assistants and therefore had to fly blind.

A Buffalo plane required at least three people to fly – a captain, and the like. a co-pilot and navigator.

Leshan found that his co-pilot, Maj Marende, was of little use as he only had experience flying “small training aircraft”.

Hey could only help stabilize the aircraft after takeoff.

He later said that he was five miles in Tanzanian airspace and while flying low to avoid radar detection, spotted him and gave him the frequency beacons helped him fly to Dar es Salaam, where both Ochuka and Oteyo are applying for political asylum ollten.

But there was another problem, as he would later say:

“I had no clearance to enter T Ansania and (when I approached Dar es Salaam) I had fuel that wouldn’t last more than five minutes, ”he said.

When the fuel ran low, Maj Leshan’s fate now rests with the Tanzanian authorities, who refused to allow him to land. Then he explained the emergency.

“I informed them that I had a man with a gun behind me and that I had run out of fuel before I called the emergency landing at the airport,” Leshan told the court .

Once in Dar es Salaam, Ochuka had applied for political asylum and claimed to be chairman of the People’s Redemption Council.

But in Nairobi on August 12, the deputy director of the Prosecutor’s Office, Sharad Rao, applied for one Arrest and extradition warrant for the two men of the Kenyan Air Force who fled to Tanzania.

He received the order from Chief Justice Abdul Rauf.

When Kenya requested this, the two were extradited on kidnapping allegations – instead stage a military coup – Ochuka alleged in court that Maj Leshan and Maj Marende were members of the “presidential escort” and were therefore not kidnapped.

Ochuka told Judge Goodwill Korosso that Leshan was ready itwillingly agreed to fly the two coup plotters to Tanzania, and that his escape was political.

On the 21st, the Tanzanian court agreed to Ochuka and declined Kenya’s offer to extradite the two refugees as there was no evidence for it found the kidnapping of the two KAF majors.

The judge said the evidence clearly showed that the two majors had consented to the plan to flee to Tanzania and may have backed the idea after being recognized had that their lives were in danger in the face of the attack by government forces.

“It is very likely that the two majors agreed to Tanzania for fear that the safety of their lives was in danger and the only option To save oneself from the advancing infantry forces on Eastleigh Airfield consisted of fleeing to Tanzania. After all, the two majors had no rank to distinguish them from other soldiers, “said Korosso.

The magistrate accepted” the good-natured and benevolent “defense of Ochuka, which he had discussed in confidence with Maj Leshan according to the flight plan Tanzania without the knowledge of the other soldiers.

After the extradition of Ochuka failed, Leshan was flown back to Kenya at the end of August and accepted into the new 82nd Air Force.

He was appointed by a deputy Police Commissioner AM Khan escorted.

Tanzania also said it would not help Kenya appeal and declared the verdict final.

But on November 11, 1983, Ochuka were arrested and Oteyo surprisingly returned to Kenya after Julius Nyerere’s government struck a political deal with President Moi.

They then faced a court martial under Judge Peter Gray and were charged with the Pooh Tsch from 1982, and Leshan was one of the main witnesses.

For those efforts made him an excellent soldier and one of the few survivors of the Kenyan Air Force.

Many others did not so lucky – and her career ended in turmoil. Leshan died on Friday with his other side of the story.