For two years since he was deported from Kenya, firebrand lawyer and politician Miguna Miguna has become a fierce online activist, capitalising on his 1.1 million followers on Facebook and Twitter, his favourite battlegrounds.
Before his deportation to Canada in 2018, Dr Miguna had declared himself the general of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) — a formation of the National Super Alliance (Nasa), which the government promptly outlawed.
His ejection from the country came hot on the heels of the disputed presidential election of 2017 that led to the mock swearing-in of Raila Odinga as the so-called ‘People’s President’, a mock oath Dr Miguna played a vital role in.
Defending the deportation, Interior Ministry officials argued that the lawyer had acquired his citizenship without disclosure of his Canadian citizenship, against the law.
During the dramatic deportation that played out at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the barrister cut the figure of a lonely man whose associates had deserted him at his hour of need.
Two years later, Dr Miguna has transformed into a battle-hardened political activist, hitting hard at the government and the opposition alike.
Without a functional opposition to keep government in check after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga closed ranks, Dr Miguna has elevated himself to the self-styled role of a de facto lobbyist for the people, preaching liberation and freedom while calling out corrupt leaders and “enemies of democracy”.
While his relationship with Mr Odinga had soured owing to the his reluctance to intervene in his troubles, it was the ODM leader’s dalliance with Mr Kenyatta following the famous ‘handshake’ of March 9, 2018 that snapped whatever had remained of their wobbly camaraderie.
Dr Miguna claimed that the opposition leader had betrayed Kenyans by choosing to work with Mr Kenyatta.
From then on, he would embark on vicious tirades on social media, unpacking his former boss and ally, as well as his perceived enemies using his signature hashtag #despotsmustfall and favourite slogans “Viva!” and “Aluta continua” (the struggle continues).
He has dismissed the Uhuru/Raila truce as a “treacherous hand cheque” done for “selfish and cowardly personal gain” between the two leaders.
To him, the only valid handshake is the one that unites victims of poll violence in Kenya.
On his Twitter bio, Dr Miguna calls himself a “Pan-African revolutionary intellectual” who fights for justice “using words, facts and the truth”.
The lawyer has also been on record mobilising Kenyans for a revolution.
On January 5, he said on Twitter that every Kenyan has a duty “to fight for freedom, liberty, equality, equity, democracy, rule of law and justice”.
“Don’t spectate. Don’t agonise. Organise!” he tweeted.
Dr Miguna doesn’t mince his words and often gives those who dare oppose him a piece of his mind, served with a dose of acerbity.
Those who disagree with him often find themselves in his firing line and are swiftly blocked from accessing his tweets. But not after he has branded them “zombies”.
The rabble-rousing activist has neither spared the fourth estate, which he calls “compromised cartel media”, nor other “unfriendly” institutions, all of who he attacks using bulldog antics.
“There is no legitimate media in Kenya. Only very few journalists left,” he tweeted recently in a direct attack to local media establishments.
He claimed that Kenya’s media outlets are “focused on selling the diversionary stories concocted by their despots and conmen”.
On Twitter, the man who unsuccessfully ran for Nairobi governorship, is an active politician, often lending his voice to the matters of the day.
He has torn into the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, claiming that its intended purpose is to install Mr Kenyatta as the “imperial prime minister” and Mr Odinga as a “ceremonial president”.
In his no-holds-barred assessment of the intiative spearheaded by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, he claims that appointments in the new structure will be done through a “college of sycophants and headed by crooks”.
“If Kenyans allow them to impose the BBI on them, Kenya will never have free, fair and credible elections again,” he claims.
Meanwhile, Dr Miguna had seemed to warm up to the Punguza Mzigo Bill by Dr Ekuru Aukot, which sought to trim political representation with the aim of addressing the unsustainable wage bill in the country.
The Bill was, however, was shot down by members of more than 30 county assemblies.
NO LOVE LOST
Dr Miguna’s smoking gun has often taken aim at the Kenyatta, Moi and Odinga families.
There is also no love lost between the fiery lawyer and some politicians who end up on the receiving end of his verbal attacks.
In the build-up to the 2017 general elections, Dr Miguna went bare-knuckles attacking his fellow candidates in the race for Nairobi governor.
During an aspirants’ debate, Dr Miguna branded as cartels then governor Dr Evans Kidero, then Senator Mike Sonko and Peter Kenneth, telling them off to their faces and claiming that they were all unfit to run the city county.
When Sonko was arrested and arraigned in court for the misappropriation of Sh357 million at City Hall, Dr Miguna suggested that with Dr “Evans Kidero and Mike Sonko already down and out”, Peter Kenneth would be next to fall.
“They (Kenyans) want the constitution upheld, the rule of law to prevail and court orders to be obeyed. They want democracy and genuine unity of equality between all Kenyans,” he added.
In an infamous incident that caused outrage from the Kenyans, he made vile comments about rape towards his political rival Esther Passaris during a live TV debate. He also derogatively referred to her a socialite bimbo.
“It’s unfathomable to me that a man with so much hatred and bile can even stand to run for Governor, let alone win,” Ms Passaris said on her social media page.
Recently, while responding to hints by Siaya Senator James Orengo that Luo and Kikuyu communities might form an alliance ahead of 2022 elections, Dr Miguna rubbished the suggestion as “contrived tribal nonsense”, adding that “Kenyans want justice and gainful employment for the suffering youth”.
It is his straight-shooting nature that has endeared him to a section of Kenyans on social media. But his apparent intolerance to alternative opinion has got him flak from those who are brave enough to stand up to him online.
Maryam Omar, a Twitter user, says Dr Miguna’s undoing is his impatience with divergent opinion, adding that due to this, he cannot unite Kenyans.
Ryassa Naman agrees with her: “You can’t force people to do your bidding while still treating them like floor mats. Miguna has to tone down his bitterness and intolerance to positive criticism if he expects to gain an iota of popular support from the downtrodden.”
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Publish date : 2020-01-08 10:02:27