'A memo I wrote to Raila Odinga appears to be Miguna's number-one piece of so-called 'proof' of corruption in the PM's office - and the irony is that the source of the accusations I quoted in my memo to Raila was Miguna Miguna'
OK. This is the last. Even though I believe Miguna Miguna might be in a mental state where he can't differentiate lies from the truth and is therefore probably deserving of my compassion, I am sick of his deceit. No doubt everyone else is getting pretty sick of this whole issue, too. But Miguna has written an article (in The Star, Tuesday this week) that is more about me than anyone else. So, despite my discomfort with writing about myself, I have no option but to put my response on record.
This is the story. Here's how it was. Full disclosure. Miguna has made this necessary. For every substantive thing I have written about Miguna's book, I have documentary evidence available to anyone who might care to see it. I have quoted much of it already. On the other hand, Miguna's accusations against everyone he attempts to crush in his book consist of crude putdowns and unsupported allegations. Apart from documents written by himself, Miguna quotes hardly anything else in his book to back up his allegations. He has no documentary evidence. Except, notably, for two things: a newspaper article I wrote in his defence, and a memo I wrote to Raila Odinga. In other words, it is my communications that have now become the main, possibly the only, platform for Miguna's own defence, and he is quoting them over and over again, in different media forums. These now appear to be Miguna's one lifeline in the web of lies that make up his book.
Ironically, I, a long-time Raila Odinga supporter, now appear to be Miguna's principal weapon against the PM. Above all, a memo I wrote to Raila Odinga appears to be Miguna's number-one piece of so-called 'proof' of corruption in the PM's office. And the irony of it all is that the source of the accusations I quoted in my memo to Raila Odinga was ..... who? Miguna Miguna. I first became aware of how explosive and volatile Miguna's temperament was during a meeting in Prof Edward Oyugi's office, before Miguna was appointed by Raila Odinga. I was there with the two of them and, if I remember rightly, Dr Oduor Ong'wen, the country director of the Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute, and Dr Adams Oloo of the University of Nairobi, as part of think-tank processes Miguna claims I was never involved in. Fine.
Nothing could be discussed properly because of Miguna's bombastic, overbearing, egotistical manner. (Is there anyone who has seen Miguna on TV who still believes that this is a man one can deal with in a normal way?) In the end, I told him to shut up and allow other people to speak. I think he was so shocked that he sulked and refused to say anything thereafter throughout the rest of the meeting. But in due course, I came to appreciate in particular Miguna's thorough reading of legal issues. Having made such thorough readings, however, Miguna always failed to make his conclusions meaningful to anyone else, because of his browbeating manner. He has no communication skills to interact in a group in the way other people do, so he was generally dismissed as a nuisance. I thought I had a better understanding of him and that he was undervalued.
Miguna was eventually employed in the Prime Minister's office. Because of the delicate balance I knew Raila Odinga was trying to preserve in government, and knowing how a person like Miguna could upset it, I always offered Miguna a friendly ear. I felt I was a port in a storm, ready to listen and empathise and try to calm him down. Miguna is always angry. But he is parentless and only four or five years older than my own children, and I felt sorry for him. I tried to be a friend to a person who appeared to have no friends. Miguna says in The Star, "we also visited each other at our respective homes" - making it look as if we were constantly popping round for a chat. That's how Miguna builds his lies.
In the years I have known Miguna, I have been to his house exactly once. He invited me to lunch one day last year, together with the then outgoing Netherlands ambassador, Laetitia Van Den Assum. I have never been to his house before or since. In the same years, Miguna has been to my house probably three or four times, once to drop off a copy of the new Constitution (I had missed out on all 2010 events, having spent the year in the UK nursing my dying daughter) and on two or three other occasions when he was in search of a sympathetic ear as he complained and berated and sounded off about his working problems.
Because I respected his work as I'd seen it, I generally believed what Miguna told me. I'm not used to dealing with liars who are presenting as honest friends, and I did not at the time realise that there were at least two very distinct sides to this one man. I had my own complaints about things and people in government, not excluding in our own political party (as I am entitled to have, and as I am sure everyone has concerning their people, whichever side of the political divide they fall) and I discussed these things openly with Miguna. I trusted him, just as I trust other friends. I don't work in government. I have been in the Prime Minister's current offices exactly once. Ever. I have other, serious, things to do with my life besides hanging around there like a "groupie", as Miguna so crudely and so discourteously characterises me. (I have teenaged grandchildren. I am sure they would be most amused to hear Granny described as a "groupie".
As for Miguna, I would suggest that his personal history should make him very wary of making sexist, derogatory and dismissive comments about women. Miguna in any case knows very well that such a description cannot honestly be applied to me. He also knows very well that I am a moral person with no tolerance for wrongdoing, and that my commitment is to a better Kenya. But he has no conscience MIguna miguna:and no shame when he is inventing his insults and lies.) Since I was not operating in the PM's office, I had no independent information about any possible corruption there. If I write a newspaper article, I do very thorough research first, but by then I had only heard what Miguna had told me - mostly in countless ranting sms messages. Because I trusted Miguna, I foolishly listened to what he had to say.
And then I even more foolishly repeated it back to the PM in the said memo. So, first step - Miguna Miguna tells me a load of gossip and scandal (something, incidentally, that inordinately delights and intrigues him). Two, I (trusting soul) believe him. Three, I quote back to the PM some of what Miguna has told me. Four, I now get quoted in turn, by Miguna, as independent 'proof' of his claims about corruption. What kind of distorted dishonesty is that? I defended Miguna in my memo to the PM because I felt Miguna had been unfairly treated. I still think this should have been done differently. But, again, as the words of the quoted memo also show, part of my concern was how the whole episode reflected on the PM's office.
I had previously also defended Miguna in print when he was, I felt, unfairly dealt with in an article by the Star's 'public editor'. At that stage, I still believed Miguna had a lot to offer, but I was disturbed by his antics and concerned about how it was reflecting on ODM generally. I have to admit that that was part of my motivation in defending him. Nevertheless, I believed the things I wrote, though I included caveats about Miguna's difficulty in getting along with others. I had only returned to Kenya two months previously, having been out of the country for 14 months, and I was not fully aware of just how unbearable Miguna's behaviour had become at work, nor of how fundamentally dishonest he is.
When Miguna heard of his suspension, I was one of the first people he called. I in turn complained to the PM. Throughout the days that followed, I persistently tried to get Miguna to allow me to mediate. I could see the situation would otherwise get ugly. Miguna refused to give me that permission [that was before he got financially desperate and Patrick Quarcoo interceded on his behalf] but contrarily at the same time he complained that Prof Anyang' Nyong'o and James Orengo were both useless and weren't helping and I wasn't helping either. So as a sign of good faith and to try and entice him into allowing me to mediate and resolve this unpleasant situation, I showed Miguna the memo of complaint I had written to the PM.
Before doing so, I asked him for an undertaking of confidentiality. He gave me his word. By the time Miguna announced he was writing a book, I had a much better understanding of the kind of ruthlessly destructive person he is and I immediately knew that this memo would be made public. I contacted him by sms and reminded him that he had given me an undertaking of confidentiality. He told me not to worry, he never betrayed his friends. When it became evident that those were empty words, I had the following conversation with Miguna by sms (it is preserved in its entirety on my phone) just a few weeks ago, on July 12 this year:
SE: Miguna, you gave me a solemn undertaking not to betray something shown to you in strictest confidence. I have never done anything to harm you and have done much to defend you. It doesn't matter to me that this is exposed. It doesn't portray me in a bad light. But it exposes you as a betrayer of someone who only ever tried to seek fairness for you. You have wronged me. You should hang your head in shame.
MM: Sarah, good evening. I've never done anything to harm u; have the highest respect for u and not once have I said anything remotely negative against u until even my editor kept asking why I hold u in such high esteem. However, if u were in my position and was being attacked so savagely and inhumanely like I was and have been, would u just drink the hemlock like Socrates or try to use all the available arsenals in your possession? Between the looters and an innocent victim like me, would u hide such an email so that u could produce it as evidence of having come to my defence at my funeral like Raila did at Ojode's? No my friend; compared to ua looting and barbaric friends (people who can sacrifice an innocent loyal man like me for power & greed) there is nothing I've done. Thanks.
SE: Miguna, an agreement of confidentiality between you and me, something I asked you to pledge before showing you the letter whose contents demonstrated my support for your case, has nothing to do with anyone else's deeds or misdeeds or pronouncements. That was an act of faith between two people, you and me, who pledged trust in each other. You have violated that in the worst way possible. Please don't delude yourself otherwise. You have sacrificed and trashed fundamental tenets of what makes relations between people work. It leaves you with no moral ground on which to criticise anyone for betrayal.
MM: Stay up there Sarah. Some of us are down here.
SE: Regrettably, it would definitely appear so. Sad.
MM: The TRUTH shall set us free!
SE: The truth is, I trusted you and I thought you had morals too. That truth has done nothing to set me free. You betrayed my trust. Live with it.
MM: And by the way, I never signed any confidentiality agreement with u! U defend a poor looting mortal; I defend an idea/ideal/principle.
SE: Signed, Miguna? Signed? That's clutching at straws, isn't it? You know very well you said you would respect confidentiality over the matter. Clearly, your word is not your bond. Nothing you can say changes the fact of your betrayal. As I say, live with it.
MM: Thanks and bye bye.
Now, I think it is fairly clear from this conversation that Miguna knows very well he had given his word on this matter. He doesn't deny it and he admits he is not on the moral high ground, but he suggests all this was unimportant when my disclosure to him became part of his "arsenals" against Raila Odinga. It is only "compared to ua looting and barbaric friends" that there is "nothing I have done", he says. It's a comparative issue, apparently. And then he goes on to say he had never given me an undertaking in writing! Who gets an undertaking in writing when asking a friend to keep something confidential? This is the same man who is now blatantly saying, to quote his article in Tuesday's Star: "I never, ever gave Sarah that undertaking. I wouldn't have.
Why would I have given an undertaking to keep the letter hidden from the public?" His denial of the undertaking is a bare-faced lie. Miguna is wily and deceitful, and coldly and calculatedly so. Nothing is too valuable to be sacrificed in his savage pursuit of his goal. Where it suits him, Miguna lies about everything he touches. As I have said before, he takes a nugget of truth and then twists it to present the story in a manner that serves his ultimate purpose of destroying Raila Odinga. Sarah Elderkin is minor collateral damage.
Miguna also unbelievably describes me, along with Philip Ochieng and Prof Makau Mutua, who have also criticised him, as prescribing "detention without trial; brutal torture; exile; and stigmatisation". Er, when and where was that, then? What absolute nonsense. Nothing Miguna says can be taken at face value. He is a bully. And he's still at it. He just can't help himself. As the author Sir Walter Scott wrote, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive." It is an apt citation for Miguna. As for me, there's another saying I have rueful good cause to make my own: "No good deed goes unpunished." With regard to Miguna Miguna, I have discovered the truth of that, to my cost. Live and learn.