By A Special Correspondent, Nairobi – May 5, 2020
Miguna Miguna is a self-propelled and self-inflicted fugitive, at least according to the Kenya law, as well as under international citizenship conventions. To demand entry into a country using an identification card is international folly. And both he and his lawyers know this very well. The latter probably now find themselves between a rock and a very hard place.
First, it is necessary to understand what Miguna Miguna is. Those who have worked with him in the past say he can be charming and soft-spoken when he wants to be, and at first admire his apparent intelligence.
But nothing about Miguna’s demeanour – charming or furious – is accidental. Everything with Miguna is an act. And he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Lying, cheating and betrayal are just the tip of it.
Miguna is a prime practitioner of the Machiavellian principle of ‘the end justifies the means’ in other words, it does not matter what you do to achieve your ambition. Simply achieving that ambition justifies whatever you might have done to get there, however wrong, illegal or evil it was.
The signboard describes where patient Miguna should be
Of late Miguna has found solace in succession politics in Kenya and is now a beneficiary of the raging battles between President Uhuru Kenyatta’s and his embattled deputy William Ruto’s intra-party factions in the ruling (but limping) Jubilee establishment.
He is handsomely paid for the insults and scorn he smears the President with, as is former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Sources close Ruto’s 2022 succession drive say Miguna gets a monthly retainer of KSh200,000 for his perennial, hate-inspired social media rants.
It is significant to note that, wherever Miguna has been in his life, there have been major issues that have brought his behaviour into question; from his troubled days at the University of Nairobi, through his days as a barrister in Canada, where he was infamously charged with sexual assault on vulnerable young women seeking his help over – ironically – immigration issues; to his publication of a sensational title on Raila that is replete with lies – no event unexploited for exaggeration, aspersion, detraction, distortion, fiction, hyperbole, myth and propaganda.
And that is not to mention his violent flip-flopping behind one leading politician after another – at one time with Raila’s ODM outfit and violently against the government, then violently against ODM and viciously for Jubilee; back violently to ODM and Nasa and viciously against Jubilee; and now violently against everyone, including – lately – respected sectorial mandarins, say, of Kenyan football’s Sam Nyamweya’s rank, who he (read Miguna) utterly pales in comparison where competitive public mandate and standing count.
For starters, Nyamweya has served the country as a prolific football administrator, whose career ultimately peaked in 2011 when he was elected founding Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President with easily the highest vote count anywhere among the football federations across the world, a position he oversaw with razor blade precision, devoid of scandal and the skullduggery that are synonymous with lacklustre Nick Mwendwa’s disgraced administration, not to mention many others in Africa and beyond.
Forty five-year-old football fan, James Onyango, sums up Mwendwa’s tenure thus; “Kenya is tottering on the brink of being suspended by FIFA thanks to Nick Mwendwa, whose tenure at the helm of soccer sport will be remembered as the architecture of monumental disaster Football Kenya Federation has become. He reduced the football sport and ran KFK as muthokoi (a Kamba diet) kitchen.”
Sammy Nyamweya discussing Football with President Uhuru Kenyatta
Before FKF happened on the scene, Nyamweya straddled the breadths and widths of local soccer administration like a colossus, all for the good intentions, always leading from the front as Kenya Football Federation (KFF, now defunct) able Secretary General.
Sports reporters (and writers) then would relish doing what they knew best with passion for the beautiful game as an equally passionate Nyamweya stayed on top of things without veering his attention elsewhere for the good of the beautiful game, with discernible positives to boot.
Optimists believe Nyamweya’s imminent return to football administration at the highest level will surely provide and promote transparent soccer administration, professional soccer and accountable results-based management – TPA – Transparent, Professional and Accountable soccer management.
It therefore goes against the grain for ‘certified’ busybodies and loose cannons of Miguna’s ilk to launch misplaced tirades against someone who has sacrificed so much to up the stakes to the favour of Kenyan football.
Nick Mwendwa: Shock before the storm
Even more alarming, it smacks of nothing short of lack of civility to hurl all manner of unprintables and vitriol at the persons of the President or former PM just because someone feels uncomfortable with the duo’s novel camaraderie. It is a reflection of ill-upbringing and egotistic folly. It is only a fool that thinks insults add value to self-serving rants.
Alas, we just have to try keeping up, for here is a self-effacing irritant who can never win an elective position to sit on the cattle dip committee at his Kano birthplace in Kisumu!
In retrospect, Miguna appeared on the mainstream political scene in Kenya rather suddenly, just before the 2007 general election, after many years in Canada. He tagged on to Raila, loudly praising him as some kind of god – whom he ‘loved’, nothing less.
After Raila became Prime Minister, Miguna was given a room at the PM’s office at the now famous Harambee House Annex. Miguna grandly and unilaterally put on the door a notice with his name and the designation he had dreamed up for himself: ‘Permanent Secretary’. It was a joke yearning for a title he never held – but not to Miguna.
He thought he deserved a “significant position”, for which he felt he was “impeccably qualified” – according to his book Peeling Back The Mask, written in the melodramatic aftermath of his fallout with Odinga in what he considered his unique talents that were not adequately appreciated.
“Why didn’t [Raila Odinga] consider my candidature for the Attorney-General, Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission or any of the newly established constitutional implementation organs?” he, asks in his book, Peeling Off the Mask.
He goes on to laud his own “credentials, training, tested skills, integrity, passion and commitment” as superior to the characteristics of other people appointed by the PM. “I strongly believe that he (Raila) had realised that I ranked higher than Ruto and Uhuru,” he thunders.
More recently, Miguna had a new position he bequeathed himself – a ‘general’ in the still born ‘National Resistance Movement’. As far as we know, here was a self-declared general without soldiers, despite his boasting that he will “rally my boys” and “bring five million men and women to the streets of Nairobi”. We will still wait to see that.
Meanwhile, Miguna found himself with passport woes. They began when he acquired Canadian citizenship oblivious of the double-edged swords ahead of him, thanks to his would be ambitions. Miguna’s case is no different from those who renounced their passport before the 2010 Constitution that allowed dual citizenship.
He became a Canadian citizen at a time when Kenya did not allow dual citizenship. International immigration conventions – and there is no way the Canadian authorities would have ignored these – would have required him to renounce his Kenyan citizenship.
If not, why has he not got a legal Kenyan passport, which he has held and renewed ever since? The answer is simple. He is not entitled to one, and he won’t get one unless he applies anew in the prescribed manner.
Citizenship is a birthright, but it is not a lifetime right. If you decide to change your citizenship part-way through your life, shauri yako. You have made a choice to surrender something you had at birth. People even change their names through the Kenya Gazette.
This is true for everyone in the same position – including the 3,000 or so people, formerly Kenya citizens who had taken citizenship elsewhere, who since the introduction of dual citizenship in the 2010 Constitution have applied to the Kenya government to reinstate their Kenyan citizenship. It is that simple and no court in Kenya can divert from that rule.
Other Kenyans have complied with the rules and secured valid Kenya passports. Miguna has failed to follow suit. So what makes him different? Only his inflated, distorted ego, which he feels puts him above the law.
It would appear that Kenya’s judiciary is hell bent on sanitizing all the passports irregularly issued, rather sold, during the late Otieno Kajwang’s tenure as Immigration minister. Perhaps in keeping with his belief that the law doesn’t apply to him sometime before the 2010 Constitution was enacted, Miguna acquired a Kenyan passport and ID card courtesy of Kanjwang’.
Both documents were illegal, matter-of-factly. He was not entitled to either under the law of the time, and well, he knew it. Miguna was offered that opportunity due to his close ties with Raila, as an illegal precedent but two wrongs don’t make a right.
He is not above the law, and after he ‘officiated’ at Raila’s mock swearing-in as the ‘People’s President’ back in February 2018, the government perfectly used its legal powers to deport a loud-mouthed Canadian citizen they considered a nuisance.
And there are no two ways about it. Whether you agree with it or not, the government has these powers, just like governments in other countries. After his deportation in February last year, Miguna, in his usual excitable, bombastic, angry, self-serving way, went around like the Ancient Mariner (who in a poem by 18 th Century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge is compelled to tell his tale of woe wherever he goes making vitriolic speeches against …. well, everyone, really.
And people will always want to listen to Miguna because his demeanor offers entertainment. Here is a buffoon, always in his element. People laugh at him, just as they did at Idi Amin, despite his murderous ways
Miguna Miguna parades himself as anti-corruption crusader yet when he worked for Raila he did nothing to expose the notorious Kazi kwa vijana funds in a manner reserved for the National Youth Service (NYS) looting notoriety. Miguna saw nothing and heard nothing as a “permanent secretary” when one million bags of afflotoxin-laced maize was imported and fed to Kenyans now dying of cancer.
Miguna getting apoplectic, ranting and raving and boasting, will always draw a crowd. Unfortunately for him, this does not translate into electoral popularity. He gained only a little over half-a-per-cent of the vote when he stood for election as Nairobi governor.
Truth be told, here is the proverbial bulldog who cannot win an MCA’s contest here in Kenya, for, like some big brains would profoundly say, the dye is cast. A man who hallucinates being a “general” of an imaginary revolutionary army to overthrow the Kenya government that boasts one of the best and disciplined military in Africa and beyond.
As is popularly known, empty debes make a lot of noise, so does Miguna’s brain.