The Forum

Kenya’s Changed: Dismissing the Backlash on Miguna’s Personality

By Immanuel Lokwei,

My only concern in this matter is my own welfare: so it should be clearly known that I support no one (politically) and nothing but my own welfare. While I distance myself from taking sides in this Miguna-Raila war affair, their war of words is of special interest to me because it touches on issues that directly affect my well-being as a Kenyan. If what Miguna is claiming in his book Peeling Back The Mask is true or if he was at least inspired by a dint of genuine motive (though I’m skeptical that the exercise of genuine motives is possible in political debates), then I should be seriously concerned about the trajectory of our Kenyan politics and social life. But if Miguna’s accusations have no footing in the truth of the events he witnessed in the Prime Minister’s office, then I cannot but be hurt.

On the first point, I am concerned since Raila was still one of my favorites among all the presidential aspirants. On the second point: I will be hurt since if Miguna’s allegations are truly exposed and invalidated as false, the consequences-the imprints of such misleading on public mind will be loss of faith in the future whistle-blowers. You all know how long it takes to change public psychology and attitude. I pray this won’t be the case for I am suspicious that within the Kenyan political scene lies untapped goldmine of potential whistle-blowers.

So we are now treading on a thin delicate line: Either the credibility of future whistle-blowers will be jeopardized, or if the investigation on what Miguna is claiming affirms my prayers, then faith in whistle-blowers will not only be enhanced, it will be reinstated in a new way. A way in which the masses will be more receptive and more inclined to investigate all the issues raised by whistle-blowers, both the past and the future, than they have been in the past where such raised issues were easily brushed off and the majority of Kenyan populace less engaged in politics. A better way than the one we are witnessing in Nyando and other parts of Kenya.

For those who claim that Miguna is propelled by hidden motives of settling old scores with the Prime Minister, I will ask this question: What is so un-Kenyan about this? If you get me, you will see that I refer to what is “natural” to Kenyans as Kenyans (other nationalities might be similarly natural and very intuitive in their responses to situations like Kenyans are experiencing; but it is appropriate that I speak as a Kenyan for now in order to drive my message home). At the basic level of society, I mean taking our personal lives into account, we hardly act in a way dissimilar to what we accuse Miguna of. We as the critics of Miguna fail to judge that our stance could be very hypocritical as well; a case that easily passes as the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

The means through which we settle scores are often morally questionable but the urge is natural and common. But there is something not so very typically Kenyan about the way Miguna has opted to get back at those he deems deserving of his accusations. Look, have we had plenty of political scandals before? Yes. Are there Kenyan citizens who have been dismissed from their offices not only without convincing reasons, but without any notice at all? Well, I believe we are all very acquainted with our history. But how many of these victims of unjustified and unexplained demotion have done what Miguna has? Many, though treated unfairly, have cowered for fear of inviting more personal harm if they stand up for themselves; they are driven to make compromises and content themselves with being relegated to their undeserved places by their fear of the wild political and private fists.

How great would it have been had these victims of political games and unaccountability done what Miguna did, that is, write a book? Would it not have been great if the likes of the Honorable William Ruto had written a book detailing his sentiments and thoughts regarding the root causes of his relegation from public service instead of making much unofficial wind on media? The advantage of writing a book is that you get time to reflect more deeply on the causes of your discontent; a time to be with yourself and ask, “is it really them, or is it me?” And your reflections, besides being official, stand a higher chance of being stored indefinitely.

The thread of responses to articles about Miguna, especially the one written by one Sarah Elderkin, in the Daily Nation on July the 16th, shows that Kenya is not the old Kenya we used to know. A place where politicians and misleading intellectuals could take advantage with impunity. The old place  was more susceptible to the distractions from the main subject matter of political conversations. A place infested with blind-fetish loyalism along ethnic lines.

The majority of the comments clearly show an acute perception of what’s being addressed in these various articles. The commenters have largely and encouragingly discerned whether the contents of these articles are merely a distraction, an attack on Miguna’s personality, or whether they really do attempt to address head-on the allegations brought up by Miguna’s book. And there is huge discontent expressed, since most of the articles are interested in Miguna’s persona only and not in the materials in his book.

A lesson to writers who feel so compelled to respond on behalf of the man accused (Raila Odinga): Kenya is changed, and it is about time you put on blindfolding-masks to help you listen to the allegations raised in Miguna’s book, rather than being distracted by the transient character of a man. To recapitulate what the rest have said, we need to focus on the issues raised. Period.

Do not let Miguna’s mode of delivering his concerns distract you in any way. Focus is the word here. Remember, Mgala muuwe lakini haki mpe. The only true justice we can offer Miguna is a suitable criticism of his book; then we can hang him later for his character if we wish.

2 thoughts on “Kenya’s Changed: Dismissing the Backlash on Miguna’s Personality

  1. That’s right, we’re not barbaric or susceptible to lies of every sort. We have been taken for a ride once, but they (politicians especially) cannot fool us twice. Remember Abraham Lincoln’s quote: “It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” We should be firm in our principles and defend the just cause of transparency in our social affairs, the right to be informed, and the freedom of expression in our society. If we are watchful, always on guard, nothing like the 2007-2008 post election violence can happen.

  2. True Amojong, supermen always act like that :-when they reach on their verge of losing,they lose sense of acting human,forget the experience of the origin and all virtues that carry man forward to the inhumanity of squandering human life,and in the end,who knows,another insensible purge like that of 2007-2008 tragic violence that led to the lose of many innocent souls….Kenyans should know that they are human beings(thinking beings),and more of that, should bear in mind that ,the present world is moving to sense and truth…..we don’t want to be viewed barbaric once more…!!.

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