The killing shocked Venezuelans, especially after Kenyan police charged the embassy’s first secretary with the death. Kenyan authorities say they suspect that Fonseca was the victim of a leadership battle at the embassy, but more than a month later, clear answers about the crime remain elusive. Neither the Venezuelan government nor the Kenyan police have explained how Fonseca ended up dead just days after arriving.
Meanwhile, her killing has become a political issue back at home, as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces the toughest reelection battle of his political life. His opponents have seized on the case to argue that Venezuela’s diplomatic corps is in shambles.
Francisco Fonseca, an older brother of the dead diplomat, said he remembers clearly his last conversation with her at a going-away party a few days before she left for Kenya in mid-July.
“She told me she was worried because what they had told her to do was go to Kenya to get rid of the entire staff and organize the embassy again with new staff,” he said. The experienced 57-year-old diplomat, who had last been director for Africa in the Foreign Ministry, was replacing Ambassador Gerardo Carrillo Silva, who had abruptly been relieved of his post.
Fonseca’s brother said she didn’t explain why she was instructed to fire employees at the embassy. But in retrospect, he said, her concerns may have been linked to news reports that some Kenyan employees had accused Carrillo of sexual harassment.
Carrillo has denied those accusations, telling the Venezuelan newspaper Ultimas Noticias that the Foreign Ministry called him home in May and suspended him from his post without explanation.
The spotlight has now focused on Dwight Sagaray, the first secretary charged with Fonseca’s killing.
Sagaray, a 35-year-old lawyer, has sat in a Nairobi jail ever since he was arrested, just hours after an embassy worker discovered Fonseca’s body. There was a little blood in the sitting room downstairs, which police said suggested that there might have been a scuffle. Also charged with murder is Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, a doctor and friend of Sagaray’s who Kenyan prosecutors say is in hiding.
Stephen Biko Ligunya, who is Sagaray’s attorney, said his client was falsely accused. He said that the prosecution is describing the motive behind the killing as a power struggle between Fonseca and Sagaray.
— Associated Press