Miguna’s 60,000-word dilemma: What should we believe?

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NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU

I would like to engage the accusation that those of us who do not believe Miguna Miguna’s books seem to be attacking the man, rather than responding to his accusations.

Let me start by saying what is happening to Miguna is natural. To use an example that in no way suggests that Miguna Miguna is a mad man; imagine a mad-looking man accosts you and your friend in the street and accuses your friend of stealing food from him; would you believe the fellow? I do not think so. In fact, I doubt you would even give the accusations second thought. The reason is that we have a natural tendency not to accept the word of someone who looks like they are mentally unstable.

However as is being argued what if a by-stander confirms that your friend could have taken the mad man’s food. This third party’s intervention introduces credibility to the accusations and will make you look beyond the state of the mad-looking man to the accusations themselves. However what if you then learn that this third party supporting the allegations is actually a ‘certified enemy’ of your friend. You immediately go back to where you do not even consider the accusations.

A third scenario is where you are then advised that the mad-looking man is not actually mad. You are informed that despite the odd dressing, loud noises and disturbing facial expressions that he is making when putting across the accusations, the man is going through a traumatic experience in his life.

Maybe he has lost a key job that gave him prestige and public profile/power; or maybe he is going through a difficult social relationship and struggling through marital issues; or maybe he is reacting to having to re-locate back to a difficult location that he had left, vowing never to return to; a proverbial reverse trip from what looked like Canaan flowing with milk and honey, back to Egypt where he now has to slave in an environment where he is looked down on based on the colour of his skin. This means the man is not mad but just going through an emotive point in his life that has psychologically destabilized him.

This means that maybe you should look at his accusations beyond the state of his mind. So let us look at Miguna Miguna’s book itself.

Reading Miguna’s book one realises that out of the approximately 500 pages, 300 pages concentrate on Miguna Miguna himself. This is where he speaks about his growing up and early education, as well as making disparaging remarks about nearly everyone he has encountered over the years. They end with his move to Canada, where against all odds and despite difficulties settling in as an African, he actually sets up a law firm.

It is not until Chapter 9, somewhere near page 285, that he starts speaking about ODM and the Prime Minister. However again he spends the next two chapters (close to 100 pages), explaining how powerful he was in the party, how close he was to the party leader, and/or how he literally shouldered the entire burden of making the candidate the President in 2007, and thereafter ensuring Raila did not make a fool of himself whilst negotiating against President Kibaki. This means that Miguna actually only dedicates a maximum of 200 pages of a 500-page book, to his allegations against the Prime Minister.

However even within these 200 pages Miguna not only attacks Raila Odinga himself, (who he incidentally does not tie directly to any allegation he makes); but the Prime Ministers immediate family and close business and political associates as well. He especially goes after the PM’s Chief of Staff, Caroli Omondi and Permanent Secretary Isahakia; two people he clearly dislikes even more than Raila Odinga.

But let us assume 75pc of the 200 pages (150 pages) is about Raila Odinga’s ills, for the sake of building a balanced argument. Let us then consider that a single page in a book like ‘Peeling Back the Mask’ has an average of 400 words per page; which means he has written approximately 60,000 words against the Prime Minister.

Compare this with the over 50 articles (which also translate to approximately 60,000 words incidentally) that Miguna wrote in The Star over close to two years. Each of these articles were as venomous as those words in the book; but they were in support and towards protecting the Prime Minister, from the same accusations he now makes!

So here is a man who first writes a 60,000-word series of articles in a public newspaper over two years; not for profit and of his own accord (as he explains in the book), to be read by hundreds of thousands of Kenyans, saying one thing. Then writes another 60,000-words in eight months, puts them in a Sh3,300 book to make profit, and says something completely different!

In essence, asking us to believe Miguna’s book is like saying we should believe in a book written by Moses Kuria saying Uhuru Kenyatta is a bad leader, were he ever to write one.

(Wambugu is the Executive Director, Change Associates Trust)

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