Why anti-Raila strategy could just boomerang

The deportation of the National Resistance Movement’s ‘General’ Miguna Miguna is as intriguing as it’s monstrous and scandalous. The issue isn’t even whether Miguna, whose abrasive tongue and towering disposition spares no one, is a threat to Jubilee's reign.

The technicalities about how he got his passport, ominously blamed on a dead man, Otieno Kajwang, as unprocedural, don’t count. The fact is that by birth he is Kenyan and the remaining peers of his mother have shown where he was born and his umbilical cord buried. The law, therefore, forever protects him as a son of Kenya!

It is also monstrous that no matter the status of his citizenship in terms of paper-work, he was cleared to serve in the 'nusu mkate' grand coalition government of Mr Mwai Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga. He sat in sensitive high-level government meetings, some on security, power-sharing, and governance. He was also cleared to run for the Nairobi governor’s seat last year.

The issue that comes out clearly is of timing and intent. His home was raided and he was arrested, harangued, and humiliated just after he gave the lawyer’s witness stamp to Raila’s odd oath on January 30. What it simply meant was that someone was keen on tilting the scales against him through a clinical process of by-passing the heart of our laws and jarring the veins of constitutionalism. In short, it is political vendetta.

The dangers

One does not have to have sympathy for Miguna to say this, but recognition that in a wider context, if the State machinery gets away with this, then no one is safe. The defiance of court orders, the war on media business and staff, and the arrest of so-called non-conformist politicians and their backers echo voices from our dark past.

Indeed, it is ominous and grating to the ear. The only thing left now, it seems, is the other lesson from Kanu’s old files; recall of loans targeted individuals have with finance institutions in which the Government has a controlling interest!

Rather than dwell on the symptoms of this retrogressive and well-trodden road, our Jubilee leaders have chosen to hold our hands and let us follow, them being in front, of course. Perhaps it would be fair to ask where all this will lead us. In doing so, it is also fair to say that the same question is as relevant to Uhuru-Ruto critics as it is to their fanatical support bases.

The most obvious one is that restriction of democratic space, deployment of State security machinery against critics and so-called dissidents, and the limitation and strangling of the rights Kenyans have gotten used to and secured with bloodshed, has its own momentum. It is like eating ice cream; it is so sweet that you only stop once the cup or stick is dry. It can analogously be compared to the old tale of murder; that it is the most fearsome thing to do, but that once you have crossed that line of killing once, taking more lives no longer curdles the blood in your heart. 

Focal point

Notice here that little attention is deliberately kept off the National Super Alliance's post-August 8 election antics. The assumption here is that we have legal mechanisms to deal with their transgressions on the law and the Constitution, if indeed there are any. Attention here is not how Jubilee should fight NASA and Raila, but why it chooses to break the law in the process. Two wrongs never made a right.

There are three quick scenarios we should go over. First, some of the most hardened NASA supporters don’t buy the idea that Raila, by virtue of being sworn in as the ‘people’s president’ and having boycotted the repeat election ordered by the courts at his request, would simply get to bundle Uhuru out of State House. But though they are pessimistic and resigned, the more crudely and cruelly he and his team are handled, the more they are radicalised and made to feel alienated historically from power.

Second, Kenyans have a history of rising against draconian, imperialistic, and dynastic tendencies and given what is happening, it may just be a matter of time before the tidal wave that triggered the ‘tribeless’ events that metamorphosed into the storm that swept away Kanu and Uhuru, Moi’s choice of successor, takes root.

Third, we live in a divided society where loyalty to tribe often is more binding than to nationhood. Which begs the question; has it occurred to Uhuru and Ruto that the foregoing events can actually split and drive our security forces into the succession politics? When this happens, of course, our goose shall be cooked for there will emerge another story of a failed and militarised African State. At which point what will matter is the dark hole we are all suffocating in, not whether Uhuru-Ruto or Raila and his wavering co-principals took us there.

Mr Tanui is the Deputy Editorial Director and Managing Editor, The Standard. [email protected]