By Dann Mwangi
Miguna Miguna has been a man under siege by alleged supporters of the Prime Minister, Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement due to his county book popularising tours.
In his book, Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice he has accused many political barons and mandarins in the Prime Minister’s office for alleged corruption, embezzlement of public funds and general ineptitude over public affairs.
He has even gone further to personally accuse the Prime Minister for supposed abetment of some of these ills. Definitely, many supporters of the Prime Minister and his cohorts are unhappy over these allegations and are full of vitriol and especially due to the political damage that the allegations have caused Raila Odinga as we near the general elections.
The anger about Miguna’s book is particularly high because the Prime Minister and his party have before projected themselves as reformists but from the contents of book, the general public has began doubting their reform capabilities.
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In this regard, a section of those who are unhappy with the book have chosen to exercise the fidelity to rule of law and constitutionalism and, therefore, have opted to sue the abrasive author for defamation but in contrast, another sections have opted to use barbaric and primitive ways to express their dissatisfaction with the book.
Obviously, we are now in a new constitutional order that expects all the citizens, both the ruling class and the governed to respect the constitutional right of each other and exhibit maturity in all their undertakings.
The 2010 Constitution guarantees every Kenyan the freedom of free speech and thoughts and therefore it’s imperative that all the supporters of either the Prime Minister or his party to exercise intolerance and allow Miguna to do his county tours.
The recent assaults and utter harassment subjected to Miguna in Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru are a major cause of worry and especially as we head to the General Elections as they exhibit how intolerant sections of the citizens are and only shows how we are predisposed to violence as we head to the elections.
These savage acts must be condemned and all the youths involved, together with their financiers apprehended and prosecuted. Failure to do so, we as a country shall be legitimising political intolerance, like the one seen after the 2007 elections and as the Chairman of the Independent Review of Electoral Commission stated, the violence that we shall have in 2013 elections shall be like a Christmas party compared to 2007/2008 elections.
Despite prosecuting all the goons who have assaulted Miguna, the Prime Minister and his party must demand that their supporters exercise restraint and maturity.
The Prime Minister must lead from the top and demand so as his silence so far would largely affirm his support for the kind of goonship done on Miguna.
It is not enough for ODM party Secretary General to condemn the violence as the Prime Minister as a person and his office have been adversely mentioned in the book.
In addition, this is also a wake-up call for all the political players in the country; that they must demand their supporters to respect the freedom of speech and thoughts to their opponents. The wananchi must understand that elections are merely competitions not war.
Their continued readiness to kill each other on behalf of their tribal lords is not only defeatist but also an affront to our national fabric and order. In any case, it’s the general populace that suffers when we have conflicts as seen in the 2007 electoral violence, not the ruling elite.
So far, we have never seen any member of the ruling class living in the internally displaced camps!
As stated by Benjamin Franklin, ‘ Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech’, and its therefore fundamental that Miguna be allowed to exercise his constitutional right to publicise his book and also his civic duty to expose anything that borders on public good.
In any case, if his book has defamatory contents, whoever is aggrieved should just sue him and not assault him and if his book tours are propagating hate speech, which is not the case, we have relevant tax payers body that are supposed to deal with him.
The writer is a lawyer.
“These savage acts must be condemned and all the youths involved, together with their financiers apprehended and prosecuted. Failure to do so, we shall be legitimising political intolerance, like the one seen after the 2007 elections.”