Drama at JKIA as new bid to deport Miguna Miguna flops

Tuesday March 27 2018

By IBRAHIM ORUKO
More by this Author

The government has rejected lawyer Miguna Miguna’s highly anticipated return to the country and attempted to re-deport him to Canada after a nine-hour stand-off at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

But Mr Miguna refused to board the Dubai-bound Emirates flight, triggering probably the most dramatic scenes ever witnessed at JKIA in recent days.

“I am not going anywhere….where is my luggage? Where is my passport? You cannot take me from my country by force,” he remonstrated as the commotion delayed Flight EK 722 bound for Dubai.

So violent were the scenes that the pilot of the plane took off without Mr Miguna, who disembarked and vowed to fight for his rights.

The late night drama was the culmination of a nine-hour impasse that started after Mr Miguna's flight EK 719 touched down at the airport at about 2.30pm on Monday.

UNDERCOVER POLICE

Mr Miguna had been forcibly whisked to the aircraft by a contingent of police officers in full view of ODM leader Raila Odinga and his lawyers John Khaminwa, Cliff Ombeta and Julie Soweto.

At least 40 undercover police executed the operation.

Another group of officers laid siege at the airport and beat up journalists to scare them from capturing the drama.

Dr Miguna was grabbed and literally carried to the aircraft that had been delayed for the purpose.

NTV cameraman Robert Gichira was injured after a General Service Unit officer clubbed him several times as he ran away with his camera.

The officer pursued and kicked the journalist several times before screams from other journalists scared him away.

Also to be beaten was Citizen TV reporter Stephen Letoo as he delivered a live link of the drama at the airport.

Mr Letoo, who complained of abdominal pains, was later taken to hospital.

BANANA REPUBLIC

“It is a shame that this kind of thing is happening in this country. The fact that we can have this kind of mobilisation at an international airport shows that we are a banana republic,” Mr Orengo told the media before his press briefing was interrupted by the police who threatened to shoot him if he did not stop.

The government had labelled the lawyer an undocumented passenger after he failed to surrender his Canadian passport as immigration officials had demanded to facilitate his entry.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) vice chair George Morara said that the immigration department should have complied with the order in full to avoid the standoff.

The High Court’s order required the immigration department to facilitate Mr Miguna's return by issuing travel documents and air ticket.

KNCHR was mandated to ensure that the court orders were complied with.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Mwenda Njoka said Mr Miguna was not denied entry into the country.

“He (Miguna) declined to present his travel documents as required by international Air Transport Association,” he said.