OPINIONPeople Daily

Miguna return to Raila’s fold could make or break him

Jonathan Maina and Bryan Mutiso @PeopleDailyKe

Sometime last August, the loud-mouthed, two-faced, twin-named Miguna Miguna defected back to Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s orbit. He is now involved in a lethal game of Russian Roulette. Let us explain. But before we do, let us first recall the fallout between Miguna and Raila a few months to the 2013 election. This started when he published his book, Peeling Back The Mask.

And for the record, the book was a litany of one sleazy story after another attacking Baba (Raila). In the book, Miguna told Kenyans that Raila was a “selfish, conceited, confused, hypocritical and deceptive leader whose greed for power and money makes him unfit for the presidency of the Republic of Kenya.”

If these were the words of a junior staff member in the Prime Minister’s Office, we would have scoffed at them. But they were the words of his senior most aide with whom he had worked intimately for years. Given such an acrimonious history, his emergence into the limelight as the de facto Nasa spokesperson was as a surprise to many Kenyans.

And although it appeared to the public that he had been received with open arms, this was not so. His comeback aggravated many personalities in the Luo Nation. His presence was tolerated because Nasa found itself in a state of purgatory. This state was occasioned by the decision to boycott the October 26 repeat presidential election.

Although it appears that Baba forgave his sins, he was lying. The sins of Miguna are unforgivable, more so after he wrote his second book. Back to the game of Russian Roulette. In this risky game of chance, players bet their lives, not their money.

The game is played with a revolver gun loaded with a single bullet. The cylinder of the gun has six holes in which the bullet is loaded. Players take turns by spinning the cylinder, pointing the gun to their heads and pulling the trigger.

Miguna Miguna aboard a Canada-bound KLM flight after he was deported early this month. Photo/COURTESY

If the bullet is not fired, the player is lucky and survives the round. If not, he dies. In coming back to Raila’s court, Miguna has a gun on his head. He will either blow himself up or have five chances of surviving. Let us break it down.

Miguna’s re-entry into Raila’s axis suggests that he wants to take over from Raila as Ruoth (meaning King in dholuo ) of the Luo Nation. What’s more, Luos like heroes. They are only led by heroes and Miguna is a bigger hero than James Orengo and any other contender at the moment.

Outfox Baba He is daring, abrasive and fire-eating. His methods borrow from the playbook of William Ruto who successfully wrestled the leadership of the Kalenjin Nation from Mzee Moi. If this is Miguna’s game of chance, will he outfox Baba? We have three hypotheses.

One, he published a book depicting Raila as a traitor to the Luo Nation. In Peeling Back the Mask, he says: “Raila’s treatment of fellow Luos within ODM has been disgraceful…most Luos don’t know and have never been told that Raila Odinga doesn’t care about Luos. Raila Odinga cares about Raila Odinga and the larger Jaramogi family. He has been Prime Minister now for more than four years; what practical initiatives —economic, social, health, educational has he started, encouraged or facilitated in Luo Nyanza?”

When overthrowing an incumbent, the first move you make is to attack his reputation. Miguna has done that effectively. He cannot retract or recall his book. It is now in public domain that Raila is a traitor to the Luo Nation and it is Miguna who said that. Two, since falling out with Raila, Miguna has worked tirelessly to maintain a public profile.

The sole purpose of his gubernatorial candidature was to keep him in circulation on Kenyan television stations during the election cycle. And when he lost, he had no shame going back to Raila. This confirms that his motive is to remain politically relevant.

But remaining relevant is not Miguna’s end. It is a means to an end; becoming Ruoth. Three, Miguna made himself the ‘tin man’ general (in Swahili: General wa Mkebe) of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). Once he was admitted back into Ralia’s court, he strategically positioned himself as Baba’s most bold and articulate defender.

And in so doing, he successfully upstaged Musalia Mudavadi and Orengo. But if he will use the William Ruto’s method of grabbing power from Baba, he must borrow from The Dictator’s Handbook. This is the handbook that Raila has used to control the Luo Nation.

It breaks down the political organisation into three tiers. First are the ‘interchangeables’. These are Raila’s 2.2 million voters and this is what Miguna is targeting. Second are the ‘influentials’; all the registered ODM party members. Third are the ‘essentials’, the people with the power to overthrow the incumbent; the coterie of family, advisers, power brokers, MPs and capitalists around Baba.

Before his deportation, Miguna had began warming up to the interchanagables, but in so doing, he antagonised the essentials. And this is why he is a candidate for a death promise: the Russian Roulette. Miguna’s continued presence in Nasa, at least while on Kenyan soil, could have set him up for a terrible ending. He was deported with the tacit blessings of the kings in waiting in the Luo Nation.

What’s is in store for him after the court yesterday nullified his deportation. What is on everyone’s mind, however, is who the next Luo Ruoth will be. Or put plainly, ‘when will Baba hand over power?’ Will he ever hand over power? Can he contemplate handing over power?

Our counsel to Miguna is simple, dynasties are jealous institutions. If Raila hands over power, it will be to Winnie Odinga, his daughter. And that is not difficult to read. Jonathan Maina is a lawyer and research fellow at the Fort Hall School of Government—[email protected] Bryan Mutiso is a political scientist and junior fellow at the Fort Hall School of Government—[email protected]

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