Is There Truth In Miguna’s Claims?
Masks are being peeled, and new ones are being hurriedly fashioned. Kenyans have speculated about who is being paid and who is doing the paying for Miguna's latest book, Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya.
Sycophants have come out, guns blazing, in defense of their hero,Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to the chagrin of his enemies, the anti-Raila camp. It all lends credence to a statement made by a wise Kenyan a few years ago, that there are only two groups of Kenyans these days—Railaphobes and Railamaniacs.
We've got to give it to Sarah Elderkin for her recent article in the Daily Nation, Peel back the mask Miguna wears, and get a man with delusions of grandeur. Unfortunately, she might sway the few gullible Kenyans who would rather starve than think and who will Facebook their airtime away before they do some basic research on the internet for a few minutes each day.
Most of us, especially in the diaspora, knew – long ago – about the rape claims against Miguna Miguna, just like we knew about the Sally-Ida ferry allegations. Few Kenyans are unaware of Miguna’s domineering stance, his ill-fitting vitenge , his colorful vocabulary, and yes, even his recent anger at what he deems unfair treatment. Miguna definitely has a way of taking things to the next level and exhibiting the kind of pride that is scary for everybody who sees the fall that must soon come.
However, what seems to have eluded us is that the solution to this drama is not to seek ways to do Miguna in. It is not to go ranting bitterly on benches like Rachel Shebesh did, proving to all and sundry that she belongs to the “ kichwa ngumu princess” class of elite Kenyan women who are capable of spewing rehearsed minutiae but cannot demonstrate critical thinking or basic political street smarts when backed into a corner. This strategy does more harm than good to ODM.
The solution is not to tell us stories of what Miguna did in his past or to give him a taste of his own medicine. With all due respect, the only reason most Kenyans are interested in Miguna at this time is the fact that they feel that he has some information that they need. That, and he is somewhat entertaining. Like many other sensational names, his will soon be forgotten.
This whole debacle is not about Miguna’s rants or his pride. It is not about who likes, pays attention to, or pays Miguna. It’s about serious allegations that have been made against the PM, a man who has demonstrated an unmistakable desire to rule this country in this new dispensation. Vengeance or not, PNU project or not, these allegations must be investigated if Kenyans are serious about having peaceful elections in 2012-2013 and if they want peace in the five years thereafter.
We have listened to, and been entertained by, endless vitendawili from the PM. His wife, Ida, tells us that she has known him for over 40 years and can guarantee that he is the only man qualified for the presidency. Well, we have no problem with all of that; we just want to be allowed to verify it for ourselves. We have a right to know the intricacies of the lives of the people to whom we entrust this country’s leadership.
If it is true that Sally Kosgei, a whole minister, had to exit a ferry unceremoniously for cars to make it across Rusinga Island, then who can predict what will happen to the ordinary mwananchi? We must move away from the days of dictatorship and hero-worship. We want accountable, servant leaders whose families are not more equal than others.
I believe I speak for all the youth, all Kenyans in the diaspora, all women, all voters , when I say that we are reading Miguna’s book, and we need some answers. We are not saying we will not vote for Raila Odinga. We do not even care that much if he cried. In fact, because I am a woman, that part of the story evokes compassion in me – and any studious politician knows that compassion is a large motivator as far as a woman’s vote.
Raila crying actually beats all the Facebook cover pictures of presidential aspirants carrying babies and surrounded by school children. If, indeed, he is mweupe kama pamba (as clean as cotton), then he has nothing to fear.
But he must not deny us the right to make an informed choice, because the only true choice is an informed one. Let him walk in the light for all of us to see. Like everybody else, let him do what it takes to clear his name. There is no doubt that if indeed no corruption can be pinned to him, we will have no problem voting him in as the President of Kenya.
Kenyans, and not Miguna Miguna’s book, should be the Prime Minister’s concern at this time. We are watching closely, and quite frankly, while Elderkin's responses will make for good reading, we are not interested in the back-and-forth. This discourse will bore us before long. We need to focus on what matters. Let's stop peeling, fashioning, criticizing and defending all sorts of ridiculous masks and give the people some irrefutable, vote-deciding facts.
Paula Odhiambo is US-based Kenyan gospel singer, writer and activist.