Bruce Roy McKenzie DSO DFC EGH (1 January 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] He was assassinated on the orders of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

Bruce Roy McKenzie
Bruce McKenzie second from left.
Kenyan Minister of Agriculture
In office
Minister for Land Settlement
In office
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born1 January 1919
Richmond, Natal Province, Union of South Africa
Died24 May 1978 (aged 59)
above Ngong Hills, Kenya
Cause of deathTime bomb
EducationHilton College, Natal, South Africa

Early life edit

McKenzie was born in 1919 in Richmond in the Union of 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 and the Royal Australian Air Force with which he saw action in North Africa, commanding 458 Squadron RAAF and subsequently 17 Squadron SAAF, in 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 Colonial Kenya he was a member of the legislative Council, known as Legco from 1957-63 and held the post of Minister for Agriculture in 1959–1960 and Minister for Land Settlement 1962–1963.

Post Independence in 1963 he was an appointed member of the House of Representatives (KANU) in 1963 and appointed Minister for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. He was instrumental in implementing the policy of buying land back from settlers, funded by the British Government, and transferring ownership to Kenyans.

Post-political career activities edit

It is alleged that 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 assisted a Mossad agent who flew a small plane to Entebbe to take aerial photographs of the airport installations and parked fighter jets which were destroyed by the Israeli troops in the raid.[3]

On 24 May 1978, McKenzie was killed when a bomb attached to his aircraft exploded, as he departed a meeting with Amin. Some sources allege that Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered Ugandan agents to assassinate MacKenzie in retaliation for his involvement with the Entebbe rescue.[2][7][8][9][better source needed] Some report that the bomb was concealed inside either a mounted antelope head, or a carved wooden statue in the form of a lion's head, which McKenzie had been presented as a gift from Idi Amin just prior to the flight.[10][11] Other sources have suggested various other possible causes for the bombing, including that another person, also aboard the plane, may have been the target.[12][13]

Later, Israel's Chief Director of Mossad, Meir Amit, had a forest planted in Israel in McKenzie's name.[7]

References edit

  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. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0810874695.
  5. ^ Kahana, Ephraim (2006). Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence. Oxford: Scarecrow Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780810865006. 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. ^ Kahana, Ephraim (2006). Historical Dictionary of Israeli Intelligence. Scarecrow Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-8108-6500-6.
  9. ^ Dunstan, Simon (2011). Entebbe: The Most Daring Raid of Israel's Special Forces. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-4488-1868-6.
  10. ^ Gawaya-Tegulle, Tom (7 September 1997). "Background Article: Angry Amin Takes Revenge (Entebbe Raid Part 4)". The Monitor. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  11. ^ Cooper, Carole (1993). Kenya: The National Epic. Nairobi: East African Publishers. p. 209.
  12. ^ "Mossad, McKenzie, Idi Amin: The strange mix," May 26, 2019, The Citizen, retrieved September 2020 [CAUTION: THAT WEB PAGE INFECTED WITH A VIRUS at time of retrieval].
  13. ^ "Mystery behind Bruce McKenzie’s death lingers on,"[permanent dead link] June 2, 2019, Kenyan Digest, retrieved September 2020.

External links edit