When you mention the failed 1982 coup, the first person who comes to mind is the former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. However, very few people know about Senior Private Hezekiah Rabala Ochuka alias Awuor who played a major role in the coup.
He is the man who actually masterminded the coup that was meant to overturn the rule of retired President Daniel Moi on the 1st of August, 1982.
But who is this man and how did he lead his life before and after the abortive coup?
Hezekiah Ochuka was born on July 23rd, 1953 in Nyakach, Kisumu district. After his schooling, Ochuka was recruited into the Kenya Air Force in the year 1976 in Mombasa and later posted to Eastleigh Air Base where he worked as Senior Private.
In the year 1982, Senior Ochuka planned and executed a coup against the government of retired president Daniel Moi. He led a group of junior servicemen in the coup who were countered and killed by loyal Kenya Army men in town while still awaiting orders.
The coup lasted about six hours after veteran Voice of Kenya journalist, Mamo Mbotela, was forced at gunpoint to announce that Moi’s government had been toppled.
Subsequently, the servicemen who were at the broadcasting house were later attacked and killed by Kenya Army officers.
After the coup servicemen were killed, retired president Moi ordered the arrest of all pro-coup officers some of whom were detained and later hanged.
Because of this, Hezekiah Ochuka had to escape to Tanzania for his safety. However, due to extradition order, he was later extradited to Kenya where he was hanged in the year 1987 after being found guilty.