Miguna's travel woes deepen

Wednesday March 18 2020
Miguna pix

Lawyer Miguna Miguna. PHOTO | FILE | AFP

By BENSON MATHEKA

Woes facing lawyer Miguna Miguna deepened on Tuesday night after he was ejected from a Nairobi-bound flight at a Paris airport.

This came hours after he was blocked from boarding a connecting flight to Nairobi from Germany due to a red alert issued by the Kenya government.

Dr Miguna had boarded the plane at Paris' Charles De Gaulle Airport.

After boarding, he tweeted, assuring his supporters that he was to arrive at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 9.45 am Wednesday.

DIFFERENT FLIGHT

It appears the lawyer had decided to use a different airline only to suffer the same fate despite an assurance from Kenyan authorities that the red alert would be rescinded to allow him travel to Nairobi.

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“Yes, Air France removed me from Flight AF0814 from Charles De Gaulle Airport to JKIA which was to take off … they have sent a red alert to all airlines,” Mr Miguna tweeted Wednesday.

Air France told Dr Miguna that it was acting on instructions from Kenyan authorities.

DENIED BOARDING

“We confirm that at the request of Kenyan authorities, we were obliged to deny boarding. Like all airlines, Air France is required to comply with the entry requirements for the countries it serves,” the firm said in a replying tweet to the fiery lawyer.

It added that it was only complying with international rules governing air transport which it is required to respect.

While in Germany, Dr Miguna said authorities had been instructed not to allow him board his flight to JKIA or any other African country.

“In fact, the Kenya government has demanded that Lufthansa must refund my fare. They have demanded that Lufthansa should not fly me into any other African country either,” said Dr Miguna.

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION

He claimed that the Lufthansa flight manager told him that the Government of Kenya must send an official communication to the airline’s Frankfurt office before he could be allowed to fly to Kenya or any other African country.

“Lufthansa says that the red alert was issued by the Office of the President in Nairobi, Kenya,” he said.

The exiled lawyer was expected to land in Kenya on Tuesday evening.

On Monday, the Kenya government said it would facilitate the return of the vocal opposition politician into the country following court orders to that effect.

Dr Miguna, who played a role in the mock swearing-in of ODM leader Raila Odinga on January 30, 2018 as “the people’s president”, was deported in February of the same year.

His attempt to return on March 26, 2018, was not successful.

COURT ORDERS

“This is to confirm that in compliance with the court orders issued on December 14, 2018, the directorate will facilitate Dr Miguna’s entry into Kenya,” Director of Immigration Alexander Muteshi said in a statement on Monday.

Justice Weldon Korir ordered authorities to facilitate Dr Miguna’s re-entry on the basis of his identification through his national identity card or his withheld Kenyan passport.

Dr Miguna, through his lawyers, had filed an application at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi, last week seeking orders to restrain the State from interfering with his return to Kenya.

DEMANDS

He has issued several demands ahead of his return to Kenya, including granting his lawyer “full access to all immigration and port of entry areas, where he will be processed”.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna had earlier confirmed that Dr Miguna would be allowed to return to the country as long as he has valid travel documents.

“The Head of State made a pronouncement that he is free to come back. That is still the government’s position. Had new realities or dynamics emerged after the Head of State spoke, they would have been made public. He must have valid travel documents like any other Kenyan or traveller,” Mr Oguna said.