By Dominic Odipo
It is an angry book, very angry indeed and the author makes very little effort to hide this fact from the reader. The anger, which apparently arises from the fact and manner of his suspension as the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Coalition Affairs, festers and courses through its pages.
But, for the first time ever, someone who has worked very closely with Raila Odinga, both before and after he became the Prime Minister of Kenya, has taken him on directly, no holds barred, and the effect, as they used to say in the old Smirnoff Vodka advert, is shattering.
When you finally come to page 559, the end of the main text of Miguna Miguna’s latest book, “Peeling Back the Mask: A quest for Justice in Kenya”, the question that immediately springs to mind is this: Which one is the real Raila Odinga? Is he the former political activist and indefatigable fighter for political and constitutional reforms whom his Luo compatriots reverently refer to as ‘Jakom’ or ‘Agwambo’?
Or he the would-be emperor without any clothes that Miguna so stridently tries to depict in this chronicle? Yet that question is not just a simple question; it is an answer within a question.
The fact that such a question can now be asked at all about the Prime Minister’s political and personal DNA is the real issue here.
If Miguna’s primary objective was to lift the veil and let his readers peer behind the halo that has hitherto enveloped the Prime Minister, then he has succeeded even beyond his own expectations. If, in his anger, he meant to begin the structured deconstruction of the Prime Minister as a man, a leader, a reformer and a politician, then, there again, he has largely succeeded.
Last week, it was announced that the Prime Minister would not be going to court to sue Miguna over the assorted allegations against him that litter this book. Whoever advised him accordingly must be a very good lawyer. If you go to court in this situation, you could be setting up a rogue and chain reaction whose final course and outcome you might not be able to control.
Fortunately for the Prime Minister, Kenya is not a reading nation. Those who will join me in reading every page of this book from the “Declaration” on page 11 Roman to the “dream that tomorrow will be different” on page 559 will probably not reach ten thousand.
And since the libel and defamation laws will loom over the mainstream media and keep the more juicy and unflattering anecdotes about the Prime Minister out of it, the dogs menacingly sleeping in this book might continue to lie, maybe until after the next presidential elections which Raila is set to contest. For Raila and his political supporters, they had better.
But if any of them goes around preaching to fellow believers that this book will not have any impact on Raila’s future as a politician or as a person, then he is either living in Cloud Cuckooland or has simply not read the book. As simple as that.
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