STATEMENT OVER THE ONGOING FURORE OVER MY BOOK,
PEELING OFF THE MASK: A QUEST FOR JUSTICE
BY MIGUNA MIGUNA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
I wish to sincerely thank the more than five hundred Kenyans and friends of Kenya of good will who attended my book launch on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi. Thanks to you, it was a splendid success!
Let me also express my gratitude to thousands of people, who have sent me short text messages, emails or telephoned me to encourage me and to express their unyielding support before and after the launch.
I am issuing this statement from Toronto, Canada, where my family and I have just arrived and hope to start enjoying a much-deserved and pre-planned summer holiday. Contrary to malicious reports in the media, my family and I booked our flights on May 24, 2012. I am not sure why some people are implying that I should have sought and obtained their permission before traveling abroad. No one has a right to my family privacy.
I am particularly disturbed by fake and false media reports that I had fled into exile. Some desperate political goons for hire have even claimed that I have ‘fled from justice.’ There have been suggestions that I have fled because of law suits and potential arrest. By the time I left Kenya, I had not been served with any legal notices or law suits. In any event, neither could have prevented me from traveling.
I have earned a living practicing law for more than 15 years. Therefore, a lawsuit isn’t something I run away from. Nor would I be scared of an incompetent, misguided and delusional political announcement to the media by the director of public prosecutions that I should record a statement with the Kenya Police. Keriako Tobiko has no mandate over the International Criminal Court. Instead of issuing threats to me – someone he considers a potential witness – the Witness Protection Act compels him to provide me with protection. Threatening me over the media is a clear breach. Consequently, I will treat his politically motivated statement with the contempt it deserves.
I boarded my flight at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on July 16, 2012, like any other passenger. Based on media reports, the Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, also left for China almost at the same time our flight departed. Was he also fleeing into exile?
My book, Peeling Back the Mask is a political memoir. It contains my life’s narrative. It explains my background, growth, maturity, experiences, reflections and thoughts. It attempts to record history. It also tries to unmask the culture of impunity that has bedeviled our country for more than fifty years. For me, any debates, discussions and further reflections that result from the book’s publication can only deepen our thoughts, expand the democratic space, entrench the rule of law and help broaden good governance. That’s a good thing.
However, when I see ravenous mobs burn my effigy, bury a coffin symbolizing my death and threatening me, my immediate and extended family merely because I wrote a book that they perceive to be critical of their political deity even though, in all likelihood, they might not have read; it demonstrates a level of intolerance, ignorance and base loyalty to certain political personages in a manner that cannot be positive.
Chillingly, as my effigy and ‘coffin’ were being burnt and buried in a mock funeral in Nyando by Raila’s fanatics, the Prime Minister failed to see the need to restrain his supporters. He didn’t openly call for peaceful and reasoned debates as we would expect of someone claiming to be a statesman.
As a mob was holding my funeral procession, calling for my ‘deportation to Canada’, threatening my brother and his family, Raila’s intellectual groupies were unleashing a coordinated assault on my character and reputation through the media. False allegations are being dredged up in a desperate but futile attempt to bolster the ambitions and campaigns of a man whose quest for power has reached a dead end. But rather than conduct a searing self-evaluation, they want to hurl all the blame on me.
Raila Odinga is running for president. I am not. As a person who has occupied an exalted public position in our society for decades; one who has enjoyed immense privileges; and one who is seeking even more power and privileges; Raila Odinga must be audited, vetted and weighed thoroughly for his record in public life before he can be found to have satisfied the requirements for election. If he doesn’t like the audit, he must be prepared to cede ground and relinquish his political ambitions. There are no two ways around it. But he cannot intimidate, threaten or beat us into submission.
Two questions we need to ask Raila are these: (a) If his supporters and groupies can burn my effigy and mock coffin and attack me viciously in the era of the new constitution that guarantees me the right to express myself fully including in book form merely on account that I have written a book they dislike because it is critical of him; what are they capable of inflicting if Raila were to become president? (b) Are the rights Raila proudly claims he fought for only meant for his supporters and sycophants?
I wish to inform the country that when The Standard newspaper purportedly published an article titled “Miguna answers Sarah Elderkin” on or about July 17, 2012, I was in a jet somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean and couldn’t have been capable of accessing Sarah’s piece in the Daily Nation (which I have still not read, having just arrived in Toronto), and definitely didn’t have the time to write it. It’s unfortunate that The Standard newspaper published a misleading and fake article and maliciously purported it to be mine. By this statement, I would like to pout The Standard newspaper on notice that I shall take appropriate legal action against it for this false and clearly malicious publication.
Moreover, I don’t have the time, interest or the intention of arguing with Sarah over a book she has clearly not read. She answers herself at pages 496-498 of my book as well as in her article, “Keep It Real and Keep It Balanced” published in the May 19, 2011 issue of the Star newspaper in which she corroborated each and every claim I have made in Peeling Back the Mask. Readers should be aware, nonetheless, that I have more than fifty emails from Sarah confirming the runway corruption in the Prime Minister’s Office. If I was like Sarah, I would have unleashed them in defense of myself. But I am not going to bore my readers with details of the rot of and around Raila Odinga because the whole country already knows the truth.
Let me also make it clear that I do not have a Facebook account, have never used that platform to communicate and have no intentions of doing so any time soon. Consequently, purported Facebook publications bearing my name should be ignored as mischievous.
I am scheduled back to Kenya on or about August 18th, 2012, when my family holiday and publicity tour of my book ends. On arrival, I shall issue a comprehensive statement on some of the issues that have been raised in the media in recent days over my latest book and attendant political issues. Until then, I will enjoy my working holiday with my family.
Finally, let me say this: I will not be intimidated, threatened or shouted into silence by con-men, busy-bodies, hangers-on and political groupies.
The struggle against impunity will and must continue.