Why state should facilitate Miguna's smooth return or denounce handshake

Even the chickens in the village know when the fiery lawyer Miguna Miguna’s “woes” began. It was never about his alleged illegal citizenship status. The provenance of the bad blood between Miguna and the State is entirely in connection to his hard stance on the credibility—or lack of as it were—of the August and October presidential elections.

But the culmination of it as we all know was the role he played in the historic mock swearing-in of Opposition leader Raila Odinga as the People’s President of the Republic of Kenya on 30th January 2018. When the whole battalion of advocates hovering around Raila was so paranoid to take charge when no one was ready to stick out their necks, stand up and be counted, Miguna—oozing unparalleled charisma and valor—did.

When a few days later his home was attacked, broken into, and he was arrested, the reason was apparent to all and sundry. The series of State connivance that followed when he was moved from police cell to police cell without being arraigned as the court had directed only served to cement the fears that some “big man” was giving orders.

The whole of Miguna saga—first, of being forcefully deported to Canada on February 6 and second, of being “dragged, assaulted, drugged and forcefully flown to Dubai” on March 28 —was a needless embarrassment to our country. If it ever earned us anything on the international stage, only ridicule.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that Miguna’s second deportation was orchestrated a few days after the Uhuru-Raila handshake. It revealed that the handshake was a superficial plastering of reconciliation, a terrible public relation stunt meant to perpetuate the dynastical rule of the few at the expense of the interests of the public majority. If anything, it could not have been that Raila was that helpless at JKIA, at one point even to the extent of getting physical with junior police officers, when they had just kissed and made up with his political arch-nemesis a few days earlier.

What it achieved, if any, is pretentious hope of national renaissance. Raila and President Uhuru bought a cotton-white bandage and used it to neatly cover their wounds. They felt a sweet sensation, a form of anesthesia and imagined that the wounds were healed and that the pain was gone. But they did not seek the advice of the physician. As it is now, the wound is decomposing underneath the swathe of bandage portending an even worse scenario. 

That Miguna is a Kenyan citizen is not in dispute. It his—as it is our—pristine right for the singular reason that he was born in Kenya, to Kenyan parents. It should not be a privilege and, or some kind of “state pardon” for authorities in charge to facilitate his smooth re-entry into his country of birth. He should be free to go come whenever he wants to.

The intent of the handshake, we have been reminded, was to reconcile the country and repair the harm, it should extend to Miguna. In fact, he, more than anyone else, needs to be called a “brother” because—as opposed to other political charlatans—he speaks to issues affecting us as they are.

As he has recently observed, it is conceited for Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga to claim brotherhood when the man who swore the latter in is being tossed left, right and center in wanton disregard of multiple court orders like a criminal.

The hard stance by the Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi and Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalang’wa does not augur well for peace. But peace is not the only thing we crave. We crave justice. We crave an honest re-engineering of our body politic. We crave a re-birth. And only Miguna Miguna fits to champion and, with the support of other like-minded Kenyans, bequeath that to the country.

The best the Uhuru-Raila détente can do, since—sadly—it cannot bring back to life the many that perished in politically instigated post-election skirmishes, is to make possible his smooth and uneventful coming back. Otherwise, it remains a selfish political gimmickry which any honest Kenyan should take with a pinch of salt.