Seth Onyango @SethManex
A personal assistant to the Kanu-era Cabinet minister, the late Joseph Kamotho, yesterday recounted how he carried the minister on his back after the 1998 United States embassy bombing in Nairobi.
Johnson Gakungu narrated how his badly injured boss was hurtled down 22 floors after the bomb went off in the morning horror. Kamotho was hosting the then US ambassador to Kenya Prudence Bushnell in his office at Co-operative House.
“We had prepared for a meeting between the two at 10am. Journalists had come and left. At least 30 minutes into the meeting, we heard a blast and thought it was a tyre burst. Instinctively, we walked to the window to see what had happened and it was at that point that we heard a more forceful blast which shattered glasses,” he narrated.
Confused and in panic, Gakungu rushed to his boss’ office. “I went to the office and found everyone sprawled on the floor. I grabbed Kamotho with the help of his bodyguards who were slightly injured as well,” he said.
At this juncture, the US Marine Forces had already whisked the ambassador to safety. Gakungu said they walked Kamotho to the 11th floor before he became too weak to walk.
“We then decided to carry him on our backs in shifts. When we came out we found that his driver was among those killed in the blast,” he added.
The aides ushered Kamotho into a matatu which rushed him to Nairobi Hospital for treatment. “The guards at the hospital told us that the facility was full, but we insisted that the patient was a minister…with no beds left, Kamotho was admitted in the maternity wing,” he recalled.