In a move that has baffled millions of ODM supporters and surprised Kenya’s punditocracy and observers alike, Miguna Miguna, Political Advisor to Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Coalition Affairs, was last Thursday, suspended under very obscure circumstances. The bizarre action has raised unanswered questions among ODM’s supporters and ignited wild celebrations within the PNU, a besieged Party that will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief because since he assumed office, Miguna has been a thorn in the flesh of PNU’s top apparatchiks.
In the eyes of the ODM-aligned public which has been following Miguna’s work in the Prime Minister’s Office since his appointment soon after Raila Odinga’s Presidency was stolen, the impromptu suspension was dumbfounding because all said and done, Miguna has been the right hand man of Raila Odinga while he has also emerged as the ultimate anti-dot to PNU’s venom-spitting carpetbaggers who had become verily preoccupied with besmirching the Prime Minister at every opportunity for political advantage.
As they desperately tried to “unravel the Miguna suspension mystery”, commentators in the Bourgeoisie media in Kenya described the brilliant Lawyer as “combative” and “abrasive”, linking these characteristics to accusations of “arrogance”, “political interference”, “use of abusive language” and “misrepresentation of the Prime Minister’s Office”, flimsy excuses that were shamelessly touted by Permanent Secretary Mohammed Isahakia as the basis of Miguna’s suspension.
In reality, Miguna has been “militant” and “revolutionary” in both posture and perspective, significant qualities that combined with his ideological interpretation of Kenyan politics to enable him smash to smithereens cheap propaganda spewed in the PNU controlled media by Raila’s scatterbrained critics. As these losers licked their wounds after every assault from the ever-blazing “Miguna bazookers”, members of ODM’s attenuated leadership could only shake their heads in envious but silent wonder, having been reduced to spectators in the political playground where they were supposed to be key strikers as Miguna advised Raila quietly in the PM’s Office.
Obviously, it would be simplistic for any conscious mind to believe that Miguna’s suspension had anything to do with the useless reasons that were advanced by his suspenders whom, by communicating the illegal suspension through the media, blatantly violated government protocol with impunity, trampled on Miguna’s Constitutional rights while subjecting the lawyer to a high level of public humiliation that has never been witnessed in Kenya since the cobbling of the Coalition government by Kofi Anan on February 28th 2008.
Miguna castrated ODM’s leadership politically
If I may add my theory to try and unravel the mystery, reasons behind the suspension of Miguna are unconnected to what the public has been told but to internal ODM politics and powerful external interests which may have been threatened by Miguna’s intelligence, militancy, revolutionary approach to issues, impeachable academic credentials, radical history, untainted character, Pan-Africanist ideology, writing prowess, forthrightness and, most importantly, close proximity to Prime Minister Raila Amollo Odinga, the next potential President of the Republic of Kenya.
For ODM’s internal leadership popular for crass political opportunism, and which has been lethargic in defending the Party in the face of constant assaults by PNU’s attack dogs, Miguna had effectively filled a glaring vacuum in the Party’s leadership. With time, every position taken by Miguna on any critical issue had become (in the eyes of the public) the official ODM position.
From his vantage point as advisor of Prime Minister, Miguna needed no authority from ODM’s leadership to articulate Party policy and this situation constantly kept the Party’s leadership in a quandary especially on matters of Party policy. The problem was that the Miguna positions and revolutionary language were too radical for the uninitiated opportunists within the Party. With Miguna doing a good job, the PM did not need mediocre views of Party leaders and this may have created a huge resentment within the Party.
The consequence of this reality was that almost all players who were supposed to have been articulating Party policy to the public were forced into involuntary silence by Miguna’s interventions which also put the whole leadership out of business. With time, an aura of hatred, malice, envy and fear crept into the consciousness of these embattled leaders thereby brewing strong anti-Miguna feelings within the leadership which felt that the lawyer was usurping their powers and responsibilities.
The euphemism within the Party was that Miguna was creating “political interference” because no one knew exactly how the “Miguna problem” could be tackled. Miguna’s apparent “division” of the Party is actually the mess within hawks in the leadership due to their inability to materialize a collective and working strategy to stop Miguna who had castrated them politically with sharp analysis in the media on every issue that required a clear Party position.
According to ODM’s Party protocol, the Kenyan law or the new Constitution, Miguna’s style was neither contrary nor illegal. However, the lawyer’s official proximity to the Prime Minister gave him authority to operate with the added advantage that his modus operandi could not be questioned or opposed within the Party. Since the PM had not openly complained or expressed any discomfort with Miguna’s way of doing things, the perception was that Miguna may have been acting with the express authority or knowledge of the Prime Minister and opposing him could have been tantamount to opposing the PM himself. In fact, the popularity of Miguna’s steadfast defence of the PM only deepened the dilemma of his detractors in the Party.
With time, the sidelined ODM leadership may have given the PM ultimatums of sorts, notably to choose between loyalty of Party leadership and Miguna Miguna who had literally taken over the role of Party spokesman and rendered the leadership irrelevant and useless in the political playing field a year before general elections. With his sharp analysis in the The Star newspaper to wade off anti-Raila miscreants, Miguna’s political popularity was growing faster than the rate at which ODM was recruiting new members, a tendency that was unwelcome within ODM’s threatened leadership which Miguna had deprived of profile-building political fodder.
It is under such circumstances that the PM may have given authority for Miguna to be “suspended” by his (Miguna’s) juniors as the PM went on holiday to think about his next step and this could explain why the PM did not make the drastic announcement by himself. It must be noted that the meeting where Miguna’s suspension was discussed was a secret ODM meeting while Jakoyo Midiwo, Raila’s cousin who doubles as the Party’s key attack dog, was tasked with explaining the bizarre action to the public. It is therefore not surprising that despite Miguna’s well recognized role in ODM, no prominent member of the Party’s leadership has come up to question the irregular suspension whose implementation even violated official government policy.
That said, the failure to fire Miguna completely has given Raila Odinga a breathing space to enable him weigh both his options in the situation and consequences of a total Miguna exit. The suspension has generated a lot of ire from ODM’s supporters who believe that Raila’s propaganda machine will be totally disabled without Miguna. If the ensuing political repercussions prove too heavy, it should not be surprising if Raila surfaces to pull a new surprise by overruling the suspension and re-instating Miguna. The fact that Raila has not taken a position four days after the suspension is indicative that he may have returned to the drawing board to come up with an option that will enable him keep his powder dry ahead of next year’s elections.
However, the situation could be totally different if the suspension of Miguna is linked to fears of Western imperialism that a person of Miguna’s radicalism is so close to a potential and next President of the Republic of Kenya. With his revolutionary profile and history, and from an imperialist perspective, Miguna does not fit into the ideal political advisor of the next President of Kenya because his posture resembles those of: Kwame Nkuruma, Edwado Mondlane, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, Steve Biko, Malkom-X, JM Kariuki, Oginga Odinga and other African revolutionaries who were either frustrated politically or hunted down and eventually assassinated through imperialist’s interventionist policies in Africa.
The West appears to have settled on Raila as an acceptable Presidential candidate in Kenya. If Muguna’s suspension has anything to do with Western pressure on the PM, quashing his suspension will be difficult or dependent on whether Imperialism can appreciate the domestic implications of Muguna being out of Raila’s political machine. In the meantime, the suspension remains unpopular within ODM’s supporters while its naked implications for Raila Odinga’s quest for Presidency could form the subject of yet another installment.