The pen is mightier than the gun.
Miguna has kicked off a storm through allegations contained in his latest Book, Peeling Back the Mask, A Quest for Justice in Kenya which has elicited a barrage of counter-allegations, a lawsuit, insults, threats and all manner of replies. Among the very many articles and op-eds that have been penned, Sarah Elderkin’s piece in the Daily Nation of 17th July, 2012 stands out as it is written from a perspective of a person who was close both professionally and personally to Miguna in that it just confirms what we have always known, that Miguna’s pride, arrogance, inflated sense of self importance, his acerbic tongue and pen were his Achilles heel. He demanded reverence but showed no respect to other people or their views. Those who have faced the wrath of his articles in some of Kenya’s newspapers know just how the sting of his words reacts.
One gentleman a Mr. Caroli Omondi is one I find very objective, sober and intelligent in his approach to the allegations leveled against him in Miguna’s book. He has retained Kenya’s own Perry Mason, George Oraro to institute libel proceedings against Miguna and his publishers. This looks like an open and shut case; it will not be huge task to find out who owns the Heron Court Hotel he is alleged to have bought. Going by precedent, if successful, Miguna and his publishers will be left with a financial black hole. When former Keiyo North M.P. Nicholas Biwott was alleged to have had a hand in the murder of former foreign affairs minister Dr. Robert Ouko in Andrew Stanley Morton’s Moi: The Making of an African Statesman, he sued the author and the bookshop that was stocking and selling the book, he was awarded what I believe is still the highest libel award in Kenya’s judicial history.
The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, who has in the past declared to all and sundry that, he is in his own words “mweupe kama pamba” is yet to personally respond to the raft of allegations of impropriety in his dealings but his surrogates Hon. Kajwang’, Hon. Outa, et al. have been breathing fire. It is expected that a person of RAO’s stature and standing will have some overtly overzealous supporters who are bound to occasionally throw reason to the wind. These are mostly people who are not easily restrained because they are driven by passion, fear, hatred and not logic. They do abhorrent things in the mistaken belief that they are endearing themselves to their leader. However, the opposite is true; a leader with a public image and profile to maintain will not have anything to do with cantankerous rabble-rousers. This breed of people is the one’s referred to in his “serikali inakojoa” off the cuff remark.
I was thus taken aback to see hordes of young men led by a very honourable M.P. invading the rural home of Miguna in order amongst other things, burn and burry the effigy of Miguna and demand his banishment from the community. This conduct can only be termed as unbecoming and infantile. This is of course an act of hooliganism of the highest level that I think even “Baba” to whom they thought they were defending would never approve. These people do not represent the true picture of the people who are irked by the words and deeds of Miguna. Hon. Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Hon. James Aggrey Orengo and others have been painted in very bad light by Miguna who has even gone ahead to question their intellectual capabilities. They being calculating, consummate politicians and leaders have not taken to replying to the allegations through the press; they are definitely crafting a concise and sound reply to Miguna. This is the way intelligent people respond to invectives not resorting to a war of words.
I am not a fan of Miguna, I do not agree with most of his views if not all, but I defend his right to air them, this is the essence of a democracy where each and everyone has the right of free speech. This is also guaranteed by the constitution that we hold deer and politicians are falling over themselves telling us how they are based placed to implement it. In America, it is called the First Amendment. It is a right which cannot be abridged. As is with all laws, they are certain parameters within which this right is allowed, breach of the same leads to consequences. The consequences should be by way of enforcement of judicial restraint and penalties being levied against the offender.
And finally, my brothers the Luo are not Miguna, and vice versa, Raila is not Luos, and Luos are not Raila. The lives of my brothers do not revolve around these two men. If any of these two citizens of the Luo Nation has done anything, it should be known that each of them is just a microcosm of the rich and diverse citizens of the Luo nation. Raila is not the first leader to ever have come from the Luo Nation, we had Lwanda Magere, Tom Mboya and others, and Miguna is not the first lawyer to have emanated from this nation, The Late Prof. Hasting Okoth-Ogendo was a paragon of law for the whole world, not just Kenya or Africa. Those people who burnt the effigy of Miguna did not do it at the behest of the Luo nation, no decree was issued from Ker ordering them to misbehave. So those saying Luos this, Luos that should substantiate whatever they are saying or forever hold their peace.
The pen is mightier than the gun.