Kenya: Miguna's Travel Saga Is Far From Over

12 January 2020

"Mobilise! Stop sending messages. Organise! Thanks." That was how combative lawyer Miguna Miguna answered a local journalist who asked him to record a message via WhatsApp that would be relayed on radio stations after another aborted attempt to return home.

When the journalist identified him/herself as working for Royal Media Services, the self-declared general of the National Resistance Movement was even more blunt:

"Be disciplined! Mobilise. Stop sending messages. Organise. Thanks. Viva."

Mr Miguna's put-down was quickly turned into hilarious memes that were shared widely.

Neither the multitude of court orders nor the demise of his father-in-law would budge the State and allow the lawyer to return home even as government honchos insist that they have nothing to fear from the lawyer.

BLOCKED FROM RETURNING

Those who like Mr Miguna do so passionately. Those who loathe him have no time for the man.

The ready, choice put-downs and outright base insults that he readily dishes to those who cross his path or those he thinks are beneath him (which could be literally everyone in Kenya) may not sit well with everyone.

But all agree on one thing: he is a Kenyan citizen who deserves to come back home.

A week before Mr Miguna's planned return, President Uhuru Kenyatta had hinted he would allow him to return home.

"I have heard that some people are now planning to fly into the country. Let them come because that is their freedom," he said during the burial of former Cabinet Minister Charles Rubia on December 30, 2019 in Muranga.

CONFLICTING MESSAGES

Kenyans in general were shocked when the lawyer was blocked from boarding, first a Lufthansa plane and later an Air France flight to Nairobi.

The same government that has proclaimed it has nothing to fear from Mr Miguna issued a red alert warning any airline in the world from flying him not only to his home country Kenya but also anywhere in Africa.

Government Spokesman Col (rtd) Cyrus Oguna would later attempt to explain away the government's doublespeak by claiming Mr Miguna has no valid Kenyan passport, even though the court has directed that he be allowed in the country, either with his national identity card, his Canadian passport or his Kenyan passport, which was confiscated by the government in 2018.

Mr Oguna further said the lawyer had been categorised as an "unruly" passenger due to his 2018 altercation with security officers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as he protested his forceful deportation, yet Mr Miguna had travelled all the way from Canada without incident.

RAILA'S INSULT

On Friday, Mr Odinga, who is now President Kenyatta's "brother" after the March 2018 handshake, declared Mr Miguna a "small man" who should be allowed into the country.

"Hakuna mtu ako na shida na Miguna. Miguna arudi, sivyo? Lakini awache kupiga kelele na kubweka. Anasema ati ninaogopa yeye ... Mimi simuogopi yeye ... Ati Uhuru anamuogopa, Uhuru haogopi mtu yeyote. Miguna ni mtu mdogo sana, apande ndege akuje (There is no one who is against Miguna's return to Kenya. Miguna should be allowed into the country, right? However, he must stop heckling and barking on social media. He claims I fear him, I don't! He says President Kenyatta fears him. The Head of State does not fear anyone. Miguna is such a small person. He should board a plane and return to Kenya)," Mr Odinga said.

There is yet hope for Mr Miguna as his lawyers struggle to secure his right to return. This is not the end of his story. "Viva!"

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