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‘Day when Raila wept, shook uncontrollably’

POLITICS
By Joe Kiarie | July 8th 2012

By Joe Kiarie

If there is one thing that has been synonymous with Miguna Miguna, then it must be controversy. And it seems nothing much has changed if his much-hyped book that would be launched in Nairobi next Saturday is anything to go by.

In his explosive memoirs, Peeling Back the Mask, Miguna, a former advisor for coalition, constitutional and legal affairs to Prime Minister Raila Odinga has sensationally let loose some of his well-guarded secrets around his former boss.

The outspoken lawyer, who Raila suspended as his advisor on August 4 2011, explains why he turned down the Prime Minister’s subsequent offer of reinstatement and exposes what the publisher terms the Prime Minister’s lackluster leadership, questioning his progressive credentials, and claim he is an agent of?change.

In excerpts revealed by the publisher, Gilgamesh Publishing Limited, Miguna theatrically reveals how Raila wept one afternoon after a meeting with President Kibaki at the apex of the friction sparked by the pronouncement of the 2007 disputed presidential results.

 

Heart wrenching scene

“Eeeeh ... eehhhh ... eiiii... Please save me from Kibaki! Eeeeeh... eiiiii ... Please don’t let me go back to that man ... I don’t want to go back to Kibaki!  Please save me from Kibaki!” Raila cried, tears ?owing freely down his cheeks. He was shaking uncontrollably,” the publisher, notes in one of the excerpts.

“It was about 3:30pm on April 6, 2008. Everyone in the room was stunned. They had never seen Raila cry before. We looked at each other, unable to move. No one was prepared for this heart-wrenching scene. I guess we had assumed that Raila was ‘superhuman’,” the excerpt continues, noting that the ODM supremo was not just crying, but also sweating.

According to excerpts from the publisher, Raila had just returned from a face-to-face meeting with Kibaki over the formation of the Coalition Government following the signing of the National Accord and Reconciliation agreement on in February 2008.

The excerpts note Prime Minister attended numerous meetings and most had ended in stalemate or “Raila’s capitulation”. They also narrate the events that characterised the night of the disputed 2007 General Election results.

Miguna recounts his personal exchanges with then Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman Samuel Kivuitu when he stormed forward in protest as the tension between ODM and PNU supporters exploded.

“Mr Miguna, you will not intimidate me. I know you ... I know you are huge, but I’m not scared of you!” the publisher quotes Kivuitu as saying, while squaring up to the lawyer.

But in the book Miguna explains this response from the chairman was “completely gratuitous, since I was not trying to intimidate anybody; all I was trying to do was demand – very strongly – for the results to start being announced,” he notes.

The publisher highlights how Miguna was dismissed from his job.

From the excerpts, a sealed suspension letter marked ‘top secret’ was delivered to him 28 hours after the media started reporting its contents and that Miguna had never been served with particulars of the supposed ‘misconduct’ that led to his dismissal.

“I had been accused, disgraced, judged, and hanged without due process,” Miguna is quoted saying.

“Odinga has always billed himself as an ‘agent of change’ and as a ‘progressive leader’ who believes in the rule of law and constitutionalism. Yet here he was publicly humiliating his most senior personal advisor and friend,” the publisher highlights in the excerpts.

Miguna, a former student leader at the University of Nairobi, fled Kenya and went into asylum in Canada where he finished studies in law before returning home in 2007.

In the excerpts Miguna recounts his ordeal at the hands of Government operatives after he was arrested as a student leader, and which forced him to flee into exile.

“What followed can only be characterised as frenzied violence. As if thirsty for my blood, seven torturers jumped on me, kicking, punching and hollering. Some reached for my testicles and tried to squeeze and pull them as hard as they could while I writhed in pain. They mocked me, saying that a true revolutionary did not have to cry. “Remember Che! Eh? Remember Che?” one kept yelling,” reads one excerpt.

Humble origins

The book also delves back to tell the remarkable tale of Miguna’s early life, from humble origins, through privations and hardship, his university days, and his years as a lawyer overseas.

The publisher says Peeling Back The Mask pulls no punches, exposing corruption at the heart of power in the political system.

He argues that the book presents an insider’s account of the intrigues, discussions and power plays that have occurred in Kenya’s corridors of power in recent years.

“This is a must read for everyone interested in social justice and good governance in Africa,” the publisher notes.  After the launch in Kenya next weekend, the book will have a subsequent international launch in London in October.

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