By Prudence Minayo
Dr. Miguna Miguna is a fiery politician, author and a barrister and a solicitor in Toronto Canada. The Canadian citizen has been a darling of the media for the longest time and continues to dish his ‘liberation’ messages on social media platforms where he has a massive following. The barrister is known for his eloquence, ability to remember specific dates and places where things happened and his unapologetic way of dishing out his truth.
His words have landed him in trouble so many times and he has clashed with so many politicians in the country. Some journalists even find him a nightmare to interview because of his ability to turn words around and some even describe him as condescending. Miguna has never been afraid to air out his views on any particular topic and does not shy away from expressing his opinions about people even to their faces. In a number of interviews, he has clashed with several politicians among them former Starehe Member of Parliament Bishop Margaret Wanjiru and Esther Passaris.
Besides being a politician, Miguna is a lawyer and author of several books which include:
- Disgraceful Osgoode and other Essays.
- Songs of Fire
- Afrika’s Volcanic Song
- Toes Have Tales
- Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya
- Kidneys for the King: Deforming the Status Quo in Kenya
- Treason: The case against Tyrants and Renegades
During the swearing in of Raila Odinga as the people’s president, a move that went against the government, he was one of the key players. This resulted in his deportation to Canada. The ‘General’, as he is also known, attempts to return to Kenya have been furtile.
This article takes you through some aspects of Miguna’s life.
The outspoken politician was born in 1962.
He was born in Magina village, Kisumu county and attended Apondo Primary School before joining Njiri School, Murang’a county, for his high school education. After high school, he proceeded to the University of Nairobi where he was a student leader.
In 1987, he was arrested and detained during the Moi regime for being among those that were fighting for multi party democracy. This led to his expulsion from the University. He sought political asylum in Tanzania where he fled on foot. He then fled to Swaziland and was finally granted permanent political asylum in Canada in 1988. While in Canada, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Toronto. He then proceeded to Osgoode Hall Law School of York University to study law. In 2001, he got a Master of Laws (LLM) from the same institution. He also obtained the Canadian citizenship.
The controversial politician was first married to Wynter Tracy, a Caribbean. The two had a daughter called Atieno Juma before going their separate ways.
Miguna then met Jane whom he married in 2000 and is still his wife to date. They have three children with two of them being fraternal twins. The family lives in Canada so as to protect them from any fallout regarding Miguna’s political hard stance.
The veteran politician contested in the primaries of Orange Democratic Movement for Nyando constituency upon his return to Kenya but lost.
He became a full fledged member of ODM and was part of the campaign team in the 2007 general elections. In 2009, he became the senior advisor to ODM leader Raila Odinga who was the Prime Minister. The firebrand politician was also the secretary to the permanent committee on the management of the grand coalition affairs alongside governor Kivutha Kibwana.
In August 2011, he was suspended from his position on charges of gross misconduct and reinstated in December the same year but he rejected the position.
After falling out with Raila Odinga, he launched his first memoir Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice in Kenya in July 2012. The memoir criticised Raila Odinga and this angered his supporters who turned on Miguna.
In 2013, he announced he would be vying for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat as an independent candidate. Later on, he canceled his candidacy.
On February 2013, he released a sequel to his memoir titled Kidneys for the King: Deforming the Status Quo in Kenya. The memoir once again soiled Raila’s image by making a lot of allegations against him.
In 2013, he endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta in the general elections that saw him win and become the fourth president of the Republic of Kenya.
In March 2016, he announced he would be vying for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat as an independent candidate. In his manifesto he promised clear and progressive transformation policies, programs and a commitment for service delivery, a visionary leadership based on integrity, job creation and infrastructure development. He lost the gubernatorial seat by coming fourth as Mike Sonko won and went on to become the second governor of Nairobi county.
After the 2017 general elections, President Uhuru Kenyatta won in what was termed as unfair elections by the opposition. The opposition challenged the results and Kenya made history as the Supreme Court led by David Maraga nullified the elections. New elections were scheduled for October but Raila refused to participate citing that the elections were not going to be free and fair if the IEBC commissioners were still going to be the same. Uhuru was re-elected president in the repeat election.
You may ask, why is this part of Miguna’s biography? Here’s why:
Miguna made a surprise turn by supporting the former Prime Minister and criticising Uhuru Kenyatta’s side for rigging the elections.
On 30th July 2018, he did what very few could even dream of doing since some may describe it as an act of great courage or stupidity or both. He administered an oath of office to Raila Odinga in a mock ceremony at Uhuru park where Raila declared himself as the people’s president. The government in turn shut down all television and radio broadcasts and Miguna and several other people were arrested. He was taken to court and charged with being present and consenting to the oath of administration, thus, committing a capital offense – treason. The Supreme court ordered he be released on bail and for broadcasts to be permitted but the government refused to accept the orders. The government seized his Kenyan passport saying it was acquired fraudulently and he was forced out of the country.
On 26th March 2018, he tried to get back into the country but was not successful. He arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport from Dubai but clashed with officials over documentation they said was a prerequisite for entering the county. They tried to force him into a plane that was departing the country but he refused. Miguna was detained at the airport for 2-3 days before being forcefully sent back to Dubai. During his detention, the court ordered the airport officials to either release him or present him in the court as it was not right to just detain him at the airport, but the officials refused the order. In a Facebook Post, Miguna said he was assaulted and drugged with intravenous sedative at the airport by government officials while other journalists present in the scene also claimed they had been assaulted by government officials.
On 14th December 2018, the high court of Kenya released a landmark ruling. According to the court, the State had grossly violated Miguna’s rights as a Kenyan citizen. He had a right to Kenyan citizenship by birth which it ruled could not be lost or terminated by the government. The court also criticized the destruction of his house, arrest, detention and forceful removal from Kenya. Justice Enoch Chacha awarded him Sh7 million as damages for violation of his rights and Sh270,000 as special damages for the destruction of his house.
In December 2019, Miguna made his intention to return to the country via his twitter page. He said his flight would land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 11th January 2020. Once again his attempt to return was not successful after both Lufthansa and Air France Airlines denied him admission to their flights citing red alerts issued by the Kenyan government over his trip.
On 6th January 2020, Kenyan high court judge Justice Weldon Korir ordered the government to facilitate Miguna’s entry back into the country and release his Kenyan passport.
On 13th January 2020, Kenya Attorney General Paul Kihara was summoned to appear before the high court but he failed to do so and instead sent his lawyers to appear on his behalf. The court wanted him to explain why orders to allow Miguna Miguna back into the country were being disobeyed.