This man Miguna Miguna!!
He is in the headlines…
He is no stranger to the headlines, I am not sure that it is always for the right reasons. It seems that his fate is the fate of all intellectuals who venture into Kenyan politics. It is an environment that is singularly averse to intellectuals, thinkers and most significantly men of integrity. Had he done a reconnaissance study before entering Kenyan politics, he would have quickly discovered that the Kenyan political graveyard is littered with the bones of well meaning intellectuals. Tragic characters who were caught up in the wrong places and trusted the wrong species, known as the Kenyan politician.
I believe Miguna Miguna.
When he was fished out of what he calls a successful law practice in Canada to work for Ryila (as Miguna likes to call Raila), he believed that he was coming to make a contribution to the country through ODM. He believed that Ryila was a transformative leader. He believed that Ryila was interested in working with a man of integrity, accountability and brutal honesty. He was wrong.
I believe that Miguna at one time believed that Ryila and ODM will bring positive change to Kenya. He imagined that they stood for something. He took them too seriously.
He should have learnt his lesson. That the typical Kenyan politician is duplicitous, hypocritical and stands for nothing but raw power for power’s sake. He unwittingly had been thrown into the sewage pit that is Kenyan politics, a cesspool of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity, siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi.
His fate became like that of the proverbial man who fell in a sewage pit and could not get himself out. After struggling on his own to come out without success, he shouted, “fire fire!”. There was confusion, commotion and panic. The fire brigade was called in. They came and looked for the fire everywhere but could not find it. In their search, they discovered the man in the sewage pit and pulled him out. They asked him, “Why did you shout fire fire?”. He replied, “If I had shouted shit shit would you have come?”
The moral of the story is that strategy is better than talent. They say that strategy can compensate for talent, but talent cannot compensate for strategy. You do the things that work, not the things that sound clever or brilliant or even correct. Miguna Miguna was thrown into a cesspool called ODM by Ryila, and he shouted “shit shit” and everyone in ODM seems to have run away from him. They do not understand him, Ryila supporters hate him, and the rest of us just watch him for entertainment value.
Initially, I had difficulties understanding this man Miguna. Until I read “Peeling Back the Mask”. I would not call it a masterpiece but, it is evident that the brain behind the publication is a brilliant one. Methodical, meticulous, passionate, great expression with great story telling skills. The book represents him well until he turns up to represent himself in person. He comes off as cantankerous, boisterous and dismissive. He lets his humongous ego get in his way and losses his audience. His enemies love him for it. They know that although he has a damning message against them, the greatest enemy to Miguna is Miguna himself. Like they say in politics, when your opponent is making a mistake, don’t interrupt them. The book describes the party, the man at the head of the party and the men around him in very unflattering terms. Unfortunately, it only screams “shit shit” and leaves Miguna in a cesspool created for him by Ryila in ODM, and Ryila has moved on. He is busy desperately trying to cobble up another tribal contraption in the name of a coalition in the hope of getting to statehouse. Finally.
The story of Miguna Miguna is the story of talent without strategy. It is the typical story of the fate of intellectuals in Kenyan politics. An otherwise brilliant man comes across as cantankerous and unhinged. He believes that intelligence is all you need to make it in life, and he erroneously believes it is all one needs to make it in politics in Kenya. He is wrong. The history of politics in Kenya has shown that you actually do not need to be very intelligent to make it in politics in Kenya. I remember a respondent in my blog asking me to explain what political theories can be used to explain Kenyan politics. I told him none. Kenyan politics is so mundane and primitive that it needs no theory to explain it. To try to be intellectual in any way to describe or to participate in Kenyan politics is applying the very wrong instrument. In Kenya, the more stupid, empty, clueless, duplicitous, tribal, corrupt, hustler-like, thuggish, thieving, delusional, uncultured, sycophantic, hawkish and unschooled you are, the higher the chances that you will make it in politics. If this be the currency in Kenyan politics, the odds are stacked against Miguna Miguna.
And now he is running for the Governor of Nairobi. To unseat an ODM honcho called Kideeero (as he likes to call him). He has also used the most unsavoury language to describe him. He has called him the Mumias Sugar scoundrel, a crook, a man with no credibility, a thief, a godfather of corrupt city hall Mafioso-like cartels, and other unprintable things. I hear Kideero has deep pockets and he also fits the ODM tribal arithmetic in Nairobi. Miguna Miguna has a long, clean C.V., does not fit the Nairobi tribal arithmetic in ODM calculations, has no pockets to speak of and has a big mouth. Ryila has picked his choice. And it is not Mr. Clean Miguna Miguna.
I believe Miguna Miguna is a good intelligent man. Who unfortunately found himself in the wrong place with the wrong people. A tragic guest in a party “with its owners” and an adviser to the owner of the party. Someone who shamelessly steals his own party elections using men-in-black and goes around the country shouting about democracy, rule of law and free and fair elections. Miguna’s situation is best captured by a story I first heard told by non-other than Ryila himself, the owner of the party that Miguna worked for. Of a man who went to bathe in the river. He removed his clothes and got into the water. In the middle of his bath a mad man came and took his clothes and ran away with them. The man came out of the river, dripping with soap and started running after the madman. The question is usually posed, “When people see the two, whom do they say the mad man is?”. A sane barrister who strongly believed that change is possible left his relatively successful law practice in Canada to join the masters of politics of ethnicity, impunity and mediocrity siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi. When he realized that he had been duped and his clothes had been taken, he should have learnt his lessons and changed tact. Unfortunately for him, he decided to run after the mad men, stack naked!
Back to the man in sewage. Miguna should change tack. He is not the first victim of Ryila’s duplicity. First he needs to remember that Ryila has no respect for intellectuals. He should ask the likes of Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, Raphael Tuju and James Orengo, Miguna’s learned friend. He smothers intellectuals unless they are willing to subjugate their intellectual resources to his tribal machinations and populist power play in his desperate hope of occupying statehouse. Statehouse is the only thing he and his sycophants talk about these days. .
He should also remember that he is not the first one to fall out with Ryila. No political functionary has fallen out with more politicians in his blind and almost maniacal search for a shortcut to statehouse like Ryila. Ask Kijana Wamalwa, Daniel Arap Moi, Moody Awori, Mwai Kibaki, Musalia Mudavadi, Kaluki Ngilu, William Arap Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Margaret Wanjiru, Ababu Namwamba, Phillip Kisia and the list goes on and on. The next in line will be Kalonzo Musyoka. Jilted by his younger KANU brothers in 2013, he ran to form a doomed coalition with Ryila, a man who had called him Judas Iscariot, and who had shown uninhibited disdain for him as PM in the blood-soaked coalition government. Payback is coming. Yet all these victims of Ryila’s duplicity do not go around writing memoirs that shout “shit shit”. They learn their lessons and do what they must. This means looking for help by reaching out to other partners, preferably Ryila’s detractors. In short they shout, “fire fire”, and other politicians come to their rescue.
But Miguna Miguna seems to antagonize too many people, many of whom he would need to come out of the sewage he was thrown by Ryila and ODM. He seems to believe he is more brilliant than all of his would be partners put together. That may be true. But like I have said, talent can never compensate for strategy, but strategy can compensate for talent. In politics, if you could only have one, then ask for strategy. Mr. Miguna Miguna, you are a clean, clever man who was pushed into the sewage by Ryila. You will never get the help you need to get out of the sewage by shouting “shit shit”.