Kenya: Odinga Had Weak Knees Over Swearing-in, Miguna Book Says

Photo: Capital FM
Lawyer Miguna MIguna and his new book titled Treason: The Case Against Tyrants and Renegades.
30 January 2019

Nairobi — A year after the installation of Raila Odinga as the People's President, exiled Opposition activist Miguna Miguna has authored a book detailing intrigues surrounding the self-inauguration boycotted by coalition partners on January 30 last year.

"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 new book titled Treason: The Case Against Tyrants and Renegades.

According to Miguna - who was deported to Canada in March over his role in the coronation of Odinga - the long-serving Opposition leader had developed cold feet over the proposal to have him installed as the People's President in protest at President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election.

"Raila's unravelling was now the immediate problem facing our reenergized struggle for the liberation of Kenya. Despite their legendary cowardice, Raila's colleagues (coalition partners) carried no weight with the people," Miguna documents in the book launched in Toronto, Canada, on Saturday.

Miguna's new book details a series of meetings held in the period leading to Odinga's swearing-in, initially slatted for December 12, 2017, a date vacated under unclear circumstances.

Addressing a press briefing two days to the ceremony, Odinga's co-principals in the National Super Alliance (NASA) - Moses Wetangula and Musalia Mudavadi - told the country the decision to postpone the event was taken following wide consultations.

"We wish to assure Kenyans that our resolve has not changed. Specifically, we want to reiterate that any national dialogue must have electoral justice on the agenda. We are not interested in sharing illegitimate dictatorial power," the two said on December 10, 2017.

Kalonzo Musyoka, Odinga's running mate in the 2017 presidential election, was out of the country at the time attending to his ailing wife.

Miguna says former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama had suggested postponing the ceremony since his party boss - Musyoka - was not available to be sworn-in alongside Odinga.

The idea of postponing the event, Miguna says, was favoured by Odinga amid opposition by his son Junior, daughter Winnie, and business mogul Jimi Wanjigi.

Siaya Senator James Orengo is said to have initially supported the proposal but later challenged Muthama's position arguing that Musyoka could be sworn in at a later date.

"We can travel to Germany and swear him (Musyoka) in there. There's nothing in the Constitution that says the two must be sworn in together in Kenya," Orengo is quoted as having said.

Junior is said to have been particularly angered by the plan to put off his father's inauguration warning that Odinga could lose credibility among opposition supporters.

"You're disappointing me. And that's why millions of Kenyans think. Now, if I cannot trust you right now and I'm your son who love you a lot, how will you regain the trust of all those Kenyans who will lose trust in you completely the moment they hear you have refused to be sworn in," Junior is quoted in the book.

Amid incessant pleas by Junior, Odinga is reported to have retorted with a firm response: "I'm a very experienced politician. I know what I'm doing."

According to Miguna, Junior and Winnie saw their mother Ida and uncle Oburu as a negative influence to their father. The two are believed to have advised Odinga against swearing himself in.

The schism among Odinga's allies widened after a group of his staff led by Communications Secretary Dennis Onyango were accused of spying for western diplomats.

A section of the former Prime Minister's confidants believed Onyango was relying plans by a group that came to be known as the Central Committee was making in preparation to Odinga's inauguration to the diplomats.

Junior and Winnie are reported to have been particularly concerned with the numerous conversations, including one-on-one meetings, Odinga was having with the United States Ambassador Bob Godec and his United Kingdom counterpart Nic Hailey.

The Central Committee comprising Miguna, Orengo, Wanjigi, Muthama and others had planned a series of disruptive campaigns including the burning of Kenyatta's portraits nationwide, replacing them with Odinga's.

A well-choreographed campaign to bring business in Nairobi to a standstill through weekly protests had been identified as a major strategy to paralyze government operations.

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