I have just finished the pre-eminent book published in Kenya this year, and I have also been reading a lot of the comments on it. Having read the book, I now feel competent to say the following:
Mr Miguna paints an amazing picture of personal struggle and triumph – I wish more people saw this, beyond the 250-odd pages about the Rt Hon Raila Odinga. For the achievements of his life, one cannot help but admire the author!
Mr Miguna has a confrontational, in-your-face, stubborn, unrelenting, egotistical personality – and this comes across in the language he uses in the book: hard-hitting, often insulting, and almost always intemperate! But though this may detract from his core message, we must not throw out the baby of content with the bathwater of style! And it is no doubt that abrasive personality that has enabled him overcome the immense challenges that life has thrown at him!
He makes charges of a personal nature against the Rt Hon Prime Minister and other persons – in my insignificant opinion, this is abhorrent; but again, when one chooses public life, even what should be purely private shall become a legitimate subject of communal voyeurism! And these matters, if indeed truthful, go to the issue of personal character and judgement.
Most importantly in my opinion, Mr Miguna makes incredibly serious charges of misuse of public office, corruption and general failure of leadership – the very issues that we are struggling to overcome as a nation. These issues should not be diminished or delegitimised by being made a political cause célèbre by railaphobes, or rather insultingly presented as evidence of a political witch-hunt by the ralamaniacs! These are issues of such fundamental importance they NEED to be addressed through a process that is credible, impartial and objective – away from the heat of the political exigencies of the moment.
I wish, probably in vain, that these matters could be brought before a court of competent jurisdiction – where all parties would enjoy the immunities and privileges granted by judicial processes. I wish Mr Miguna could be made to back-up his charges with facts and figures to the requisite thresh-hold, and I wish the Rt Hon PM and all others that stand accused in the book could be made to defend themselves by means other than eloquent articles in the press! Nothing would lay the truth bare like the intense crucible of an inquisitorial/adversarial process before a wise and competent judge! And such a process would in no way be a negation of the freedom of expression that has been won through the labours and pains of so many brave citizens! Indeed it would ensure that we exercise that freedom responsibly and with the requisite circumspection. In the absence of such a process, Mr Miguna’s charges will continue to be dismissed as the rantings of a bitter, possibly deranged and certainly vengeful man – while the Rt Hon PM’s informal defences will remain merely an exercise in damage control by smooth ‘propagandists’ of doubtful credibility and impartiality! As for the rest of us – we shall take sides in a manner pre-ordained by our existing political inclinations!
Finally, as a citizen I feel let down by Mr Miguna! By his own book, he was apparently privy to profound malpractices and yet continued to pugnaciously defend the perpetrators. He was privy to information that would supposedly help bring to account some of the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes committed in our history, and yet kept this to himself – and appears to continue to do so even as the nation cries out for justice. These facts grievously undermine his credibility – and will continue to be used as an effective rungu to beat him down. I say Mr Miguna should come out with all he has, and do so in a manner that will enable the appropriate authorities (local and international) take the appropriate action!
And that is my considered opinion!