Peel back the mask Miguna wears, and get a man with delusions of grandeur
Posted Monday, July 16 2012 at 23:30
- Journalist SARAH ELDERKIN who serves as a media consultant for the Orange Democractic Movement and has been close to Prime Minister Raila Odinga responds to Miguna Miguna’s controversial book Peeling Back The Mask in a three-part series which begins on Monday.
During those four-and-a-half years, Miguna was an employee of the Prime Minister’s office for just under 2½ years, having been appointed by President Mwai Kibaki on March 6, 2009.
Six years? Miguna Miguna is a master of exaggeration and fantastical ravings.
After that first meeting in October 2006, Miguna (who, like everyone else, could calculate that Raila Odinga had a very good chance of taking power in Kenya the following year) apparently took stock of his own situation in his adopted country, and decided that this was his opportunity to leave behind a chequered and rather uncomfortable past, and to reinvent himself back in his homeland.
Much of Miguna’s legal work in Canada had consisted of assisting immigrants, including immigrants from Kenya. In the course of this work, the 40-year-old Miguna had been publicly arrested on November 4, 2002, and charged with sexual assault on one of his clients, a 19-year-old woman.
Miguna appeared in court for trial on July 14, 2003, when he was rearrested and charged with further counts of sexual assault on another immigration client.
The trial judge acquitted Miguna, ruling that the alleged victims’ evidence was partially contradictory and not strong enough (as so often happens in sexual assault cases) to sustain a secure conviction. The trial judge did not, however, rule that Miguna’s accusers had acted maliciously, nor that they had formed a conspiracy, nor that they had lied.
Miguna reacted in a manner we have come to recognise – by suing everyone in sight. The defendants ranged from the Queen of England through the Canadian minister of justice, crown attorneys and the Toronto Police Board, to police officers involved in his arrest, for what a Canadian Appeal Judge called “a galaxy of reasons, some existent in law, and many not”.
Miguna also sued a newspaper that had printed a police appeal asking anyone else who believed herself a victim of Miguna’s unwanted attentions to come forward.
Miguna sought Canadian $17.5 million in damages, but he lost just about all, if not all, the more than 20 cases he launched, ending up having to pay out tens of thousands of Canadian dollars.
Dismissing some of the cases, the Appeals Judge referred to Miguna’s “allegations based on assumptions and speculation” and said that Miguna could not “merely plead allegations that he believes may or may not be true”.
Miguna was apparently operating in the realms of fantasy and speculative allegations even then. It seems to be a pattern.
But now an opportunity to escape all that had presented itself. Miguna must have eyed his new acquaintance with Raila Odinga as the chance of a lifetime.
Throughout the following year, while still in Canada, Miguna tried to cement this plan by bombarding Raila with unsolicited and unwanted advice.
This is what Miguna now describes as having been a political strategist for Raila during the period. Knowing Raila, I doubt he ever even read those communications, or had time to give them any of his attention.
Raila Odinga is a consummate political strategist. Why on earth would he need to depend on a man who had been out of the country for 20 years, having run away at the first hint of trouble in 1987 – at the same time as Raila Odinga and many others were undergoing the torturous conditions and life-threatening privations of Kamiti, Shimo la Tewa, Manyani and Naivasha maximum security prisons?
Raila suffered many years of three separate detention periods and went into exile when a fourth threatened – but he stayed away only a few months, and then he returned to continue the fight for change. Unlike Raila, Miguna stayed away living a very comfortable life in a western nation for two decades, leaving it to genuinely committed others to fight the real battle for reforms.
During 2006-2007, Miguna was also trying to raise his public profile prior to his return to Kenya by bombarding newspapers with his articles. Many people became dismissive. Miguna was not back in the country yet but he was already becoming a figure of fun, not taken seriously. It is sad, for an intelligent man. But he brought it on himself.
Eventually, Miguna returned to Kenya, in September 2007, just in time for parliamentary nominations. He tried his luck in Nyando and failed miserably at the ODM nomination stage, gaining miserably few votes. Characteristically, he lost no time in instituting a court case.