Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s former aide Miguna Miguna left the country on Monday night as a storm raged over his controversial book.
Accompanied by his wife and three children, Mr Miguna left aboard a KLM flight to the Netherlands that departed from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at around 11pm.
He flew out amid a furore raised by his book, Peeling Back The Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya, on his time as Mr Odinga’s advisor before the two fell out last year.
Kenya Airports Police Unit and immigration department officers said the Migunas told them they would be away for about a month.
On his Facebook page, Mr Miguna quashed speculation that he had fled the country. He said he left via JKIA which has police officers, immigration officers, the NSIS, and other State institutions. “Why did they not arrest me if I was in fact a fleeing fugitive?” he asked.
He said he was on a promotional tour of his book. Mr Miguna lived in Canada as an exile for 20 years. He returned to Kenya in 2007.
His departure came just a day after Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko directed police boss Mathew Iteere to question him over claims that he had evidence on the 2008 post-election violence.
In a quick rejoinder, Mr Miguna said: “Does Tobiko or Iteere work for the ICC? How does he know I haven’t spoken with the ICC? Jokers! That’s all I can say for now!”
Mr Miguna had on Saturday, during the launch of the book, said he was privy to the ODM campaign strategies and was present when the party declared that the 2007 General Election was a contest of 41 tribes against one.
“I can take every leader to The Hague, they should actually kiss my feet... They actually begged me to go back to office when they knew that I could spill the beans,” he said at Hotel Inter-Continental in Nairobi.
Mr Iteere said he received the letter from Mr Tobiko on Tuesday.
“We then realised he (Miguna) had left the country at 10.30pm (Monday). We believe he is not going to stay there (abroad) for long and hope to get a statement from him. We expect him to tell us what he knows,” he said.
Mr Miguna, he added, was not being treated as a suspect and police only wanted to get information from him after which they would know what action to take.
Responding to Ms Sarah Elderkin’s articles on him, Mr Miguna described them as “hateful, barbaric, dangerous and lacking respect for human rights.
In a related development, former anti-graft czar John Githongo said security concerns raised by Mr Miguna should not be ignored.
Mr Miguna had claimed that his life was in danger because of the information he revealed in the book. Mr Githongo, the Anglo-Leasing scandal whistle-blower, said the former PM’s adviser had made himself a target.
“I have not read Mr Miguna’s book, but I know that threats are given to stop information that is of public interest,” said the former permanent secretary for Governance and Ethics who was the subject of It’s Our Turn to Eat, a book about his time in President Kibaki’s State House, written by Michela Wrong.
Civil society groups also accused the DPP of playing politics.
Mr Ndung’u Wainaina, the International Centre for Policy and Conflict executive director, said Mr Tobiko’s order had jeopardised the safety of Mr Miguna as a potential ICC witness.
“It was for the same concerns about the safety and security of witnesses that recently ICC judges declined to give prosecution information to the government in the on-going cases,” said Mr Wainaina.
In Mr Miguna’s rural home of Nyando, area MP Fred Outa led protests against the former adviser. Business came to a standstill as residents of Ahero town took to the streets.
Mr Outa and the demonstrators burnt a coffin and effigy of Mr Miguna. “We are calling on the Canadian authorities to deport Miguna so that he can answer to charges of defamation,” he said.
Elsewhere, some church leaders from Nyanza accused Mr Miguna of acting out of bitterness following his dismissal from the PM’s office.
Dr Washington Oginyo Ngede of the Power of Jesus Around the World, asked: “If his allegations are true, why did he wait until he was sacked to start writing the book?”
But in Kiambu, Githunguri MP Njoroge Baiya said the book was written by an insider in government and thus should not be discredited, but seen as a tool to help Kenyans understand its characters.
Kikuyu MP Lewis Nguyai said: “The book shows that the truth cannot be hidden for long, sooner or later it will be unveiled just like a hyena dressed in sheep skin.”
Former Subukia MP Koigi wa Wamwere said that although what Mr Miguna writes about should not be taken as gospel truth, it should be taken seriously.
Reports by Zaddock Angira, Leonard Mutinda, Rose Kamanga, Anne Macharia and Brian Yonga