By Okech Kendo
“Clueless” is a word Miguna Miguna uses often in Peeling Back the Mask. Everyone he worked with in ODM and the Coalition Government was ‘clueless’. Nyando MP Fred Outa who defeated him in the 2007 ODM parliamentary nomination is ‘clueless’. Voters who rejected him are ‘clueless’. During the night George Saitoti’s brother was being accused of helping the late minister to manipulate the tally, Miguna called me at 1am. He was shouting that we journalists were ‘clueless’. Miguna could not understand how a senior editor could be sleeping when votes were being ‘stolen’ in Kajiado North.
The man was then trying to endear himself to Raila Odinga. He did not want Moses ole Sakuda’s votes to be ‘stolen’ the way PNU had ‘stolen’ Raila’s victory. That was the second time I was speaking to him. I met Miguna in October 2007, with Akong’o Oyugi, a former political detainee. Now he insinuates Prof Oyugi had lost the ‘fire’, and is probably ‘clueless’. The person who knows Miguna as a student in 1987 is Wafula Buke, chairman at the Students’ Organisation of Nairobi University, when Miguna was finance secretary.
Buke fled the country, returned home, and then went to jail, but remained an active reformer. Miguna fled at the first burst of teargas canisters to a safe haven. Miguna landed in Toronto, Canada, where he stayed in economic exile for 20 years. Miguna knows Buke knows the tall man betrayed his comrades. While Miguna enjoyed summer Sunday-outs in Ontario, Buke and other victims of comrade power were in Kenya ‘living’ the revolution. When Miguna returned in September 2007, he believed a Raila presidency was assured.
The lawyer from Osgoode Law School of the York University was burning with ambition to be the Attorney General under ‘President’ Raila Amolo Odinga. If Miguna lost the way to AG Chambers, he would settle for solicitor-general. He often clashed with former AG Amos Wako, who he held was ‘clueless’. The AG had clung to the office Miguna desired. It was not that Miguna was living the revolution because he loved Raila; he was seeing his fancy jobs – AG or solicitor-general – slipping away. When he lost bid for PS and even advisor, he was devastated, and felt betrayed. He blames Raila for it. Miguna suggests a leader like Raila, who is a flexible “coward”, needed men of brawl like Miguna to understand symbols of power: Like sitting plan, red carpets, and protocol.
Miguna says he often ‘gave’ Raila a chance to take the bull by the horns, but the PM would soften. For that he describes Raila as a ‘flip-flopper’ who does not understand power concedes nothing – it is seized when the opportunity strikes. Miguna recalls 2008 post-election violence, when the country was burning. Blood of innocent citizens was flowing. Darkness had fallen on a country once described as an island of peace in a turbulent ocean. Then, he accuses Raila of failing to stick to the script. The script was Raila should have stuck to a re-run of presidential race or declared himself president.
While Miguna credits the late John Michuki with causing a blackout to stop ODM from swearing-in ‘President’ Raila, he blames the PM for negotiating peace. Rather than see the bigger picture of Raila’s concessions, Miguna claims Raila was ‘clueless’ about power dynamics. Yet Miguna does not see himself as the one who was ‘clueless’ about what would have happened had Raila rejected the Coalition Government on February 28, 2008, two months into the mayhem. Perhaps Miguna was too preoccupied with his own ambition to succeed Wako.
He did not understand the country was more important. Miguna claims he was a witness to PNU functionaries rigging votes at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on December 28 and 29, 2008. On the first night, Miguna claims he found MPs-elect Henry Kosgey, Charity Ngilu, and James Orengo at the Media Centre. They were relaxing in a way that showed they were ‘clueless’. They were watching TV during the night of the long knives. The night before Miguna had forgone sleep because men like him who had ‘clues’ could not sleep during a ‘revolution’.
Peeling Back the Mask exposes the author as a ‘clueless’ ideologue, without a sense of context. The PM and President Kibaki take credit for tolerating the braggart for 30 months as ‘collision’ advisor. The question readers should ask is, if Miguna had gotten what he expected when he joined the Raila Campaign, or stayed on as advisor, would he have erupted?
Miguna did not become AG, Solicitor-General or PS. He was not among the first lot around Raila. ‘Ja-Nyando’ remained marooned in Pentagon House for months, as Mohamed Isahakia, Caroli Omondi, Idriss Mohammed, and Tony Gachoka boarded the first train to the Prime Minister’s office. He detested this. His bitterness with Omondi and Isahakia is palpable. True, these two have been cited in some indiscretions, but one would expect Miguna to give prosecutable evidence so a court of law would prove their guilt or otherwise.
Miguna’s warcry, “Come, baby come”, is now run, baby run, when he fled on Monday. Which was the right decision because somebody could easily take the man out and then blame Raila for it. He says he didn’t flee, and merely went to promote his book in Canada. But he left with his school-going children. He is probably ‘clueless’ this is the middle of a school term.
The writer is The Standard’s Managing Editor Quality and Production.