Exiled firebrand lawyer Miguna Miguna has lifted the lid on secrets and behind-the-scenes intrigues preceding the dramatic swearing-in of Opposition chief Raila Odinga as the ‘People’s President’ last year.
In brief excerpts of his new book, Treason: The Case Against Tyrants and Renegades, Miguna describes Raila as a coward who strongly opposed his own swearing-in on January 30 last year. Miguna tweets juicy poisonous details.
In the end, Raila was sworn in during a brief ceremony when his Nasa allies were absent.
He says Raila was scared of the treason charges that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government had threatened and says during some planning meetings, the former Prime Minister “was trembling like a leaf”.
“Raila was dissolving in fear, right before us. He was scared to death of the high treason charges Uhuru Kenyatta’s minions like [Attorney General] Githu Muigai had threatened us with,” Miguna says in his book launched on Saturday in Toronto, Canada.
He goes on to describe a conversation with businessman Jimi Wanjigi — one of the key proponents of the Raila oath — who had also concluded that the ODM leader was scared of the controversial swearing-in.
“Later, as we were walking to the elevator, Wanjigi turned to me and said, “Generaaaaal!” [Miguna styled himself ‘General’ of the National Resistance Movement]. When I looked at him, he started imitating a man shaking like a leaf. We all laughed,” Miguna writes.
According to Miguna’s account, Raila’s wife Ida and his elder brother Oburu Odinga were strongly opposed to the swearing-in.
He claims that Raila’s own children, Winnie and Junior, accused their mother and uncle of being bad influence on their dad.
“Nyar Gem [Ida] and Oburu are also a big problem. They are the ones putting pressure on him not to be sworn in,” Miguna quotes Raila Junior as saying, adding that he sounded sad that his father was getting old feet.
In his characteristic pugnacious style, the ‘General’ uses his acid pen to viciously attack Raila and his allies.
He describes a strategy meeting at Nairobi’s Dusit Hotel in which Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho skipped the afternoon session.
“When I expressed shock that Governor Joho had not kept his word, [Siaya Senator James]Orengo’s response was, ‘General, Governor Joho is not a man for such intellectual meetings. He has no ability to absorb details. He is an action-oriented man. Give him a task and he will deliver.” he writes.
Miguna recalls one tense strategy meeting in which Junior confronted his father and told him off, saying he risked betraying the aspirations of Kenyans.
“Look at me, Dad,” Junior persisted. Look at me! Why do you think I have been attending these meetings all of a sudden? Ask yourself why…He fixed Raila with a stern gaze. There was total silence in the room.”
At that point, according to Miguna, Raila resorted to intimidating tactics, telling his son “with his teeth clenched” that he was a very experienced politician.
“Yes, I agree that you are experienced…But I am a Kenyan. And right now I don’t trust you,” Miguna quotes Junior as saying.
At that strategy meeting, Miguna says he and Orengo also told Raila to his face he could not back out of the swearing-in.
However, he claims, ex-Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, whom he knew as very consistently siding with Raila, claiming that the timing was not right.
“No, Moguuul [Muthama],” Orengo jumped in, coming to our rescue. “We can swear [Wiper leader] Kalonzo [Musyoka] on his return. Or we can travel to Germany and swear him in there. There is nothing in the Constitution that says they must be sworn in together in Kenya,” Miguna writes.
Miguna also claims Raila’s children got infuriated when their dad spent lots of time with US Ambassador Robert Godec.
Godec and other Western diplomats had declared the oath unconstitutional, attracting the wrath of Raila who claimed they were treating Kenya like a colony.
Yesterday, Raila’s spokesman Denis Onyango said they are not interested in Miguna’s books.
“As an office, we have not seen or read the book and are not interested,” Denis told the Star.
Miguna has written two other scathing books about Raila for whom he worked as an adviser on constitutional affairs during the Grand Coalition.
In the new book, Miguna claims Winnie told him Onyango was on the payroll of Americans to spy on Raila and radicals close to him.
“Daktari,” he [Winnie] told me on the phone, “He (Denis Onyango) couldn’t even deny it. He looked at me and admitted that he was working for Godec and that Godec is paying him for information,” Miguna writes.
Yesterday, Onyango said he had no such discussions with Winnie.
He said, however, that his engagements with the US Embassy were public and not clandestine as insinuated by Miguna.
“As head of communications at Raila Odinga’s secretariat, I am essentially Raila’s public affairs officer. Reaching out to diplomats and gauging their thinking is part my duty,” Onyango said.