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KENYA | Miguna standoff exposes cracks in Uhuru-Raila deal

GSU officers stand guard at the entrance of JKIA's Terminal 2 where NRM leader Miguna Miguna was held after his return from Canada, March 27, 2018. /MONICAH MWANGI GSU officers stand guard at the entrance of JKIA's Terminal 2 where NRM leader Miguna Miguna was held after his return from Canada, March 27, 2018. /MONICAH MWANGI
The political ceasefire between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga has come under sharp scrutiny after the latter failed to secure Miguna Miguna's freedom FROM jKIA Monday night.

Raila had driven to Jomo the Kenyatta international Airport to intervene in the eight-hour standoff but left dejected after making frantic calls. He watched helplessly as policemen in civilian clothes forcibly grabbed Miguna, and bundled him into a Dubai-bound Emirates’ flight in an abortive attempt to deport him a second time.

Leaders, including his political lieutenants and advisers, are now questioning the significance of the surprise handshake with Uhuru that has split NASA but given the President a smooth ride into his second term.

The Miguna saga has also renewed the clash between the Judiciary and the Executive. Yesterday, a third judge, Roselyne Aburili, ordered the unconditional release of the self-proclaimed NRM ‘general’ to be presented in court this morning. 

It is the third time a judge is ordering his release and production in court. On February 2, High Court judge James Wakiaga ordered Miguna to be released on a bond of Sh50,000 to appear in court on February 5. He wasn’t.

He was instead charged in a Kajiado court, but the magistrate directed he be taken to Nairobi, where he was due. On that day, Justice Luka Kimaru issued similar orders and waited in vain for him to be produced in court as Immigration officials deported him to Canada.  Kimaru then banned any prosecution of Miguna in any court countrywide, until he had been produced in his court.

Yesterday's order by Justice Aburili was in response to an application by Miguna, who has sued Interior and Coordination CS Fred Matiang’i, Police IG Joseph Boinnet, Immigration services PS Gordon Kihalangwa, and DCI George Kinoti, among others, for disobeying court orders.

In the petition, Miguna’s lawyers John Khaminwa and Nelson Havi argue that Miguna is being detained incommunicado in a toilet at Terminal 2 at JKIA and is apprehensive about being abused, tortured and illegally removed from the country in order to frustrate the orders of the court.

“The petitioner is justifiably apprehensive following the government’s documented antecedent conduct that he will be mistreated and unlawfully deported,” the petition reads.

They accuse the government of refusing to comply with court orders directing them to issue Miguna with travel documents to enable him to re-enter and remain in the country, the petition says.


Yesterday, Miguna rejected a bid by the State to force him to apply for Kenyan citizenship.

Acting Immigration director Josphat Munywoki had in the morning said in a statement that the State had dispatched citizenship application forms to JKIA to facilitate Miguna's clearance.

“To enable Miguna to regularise his citizenship status, the department of Immigration has this morning dispatched the requisite application forms to JKIA for Miguna to duly fill for processing," Munywoki said.

But Miguna flatly refused to fill the forms and threatened to tear them up. His lawyer Cliff Ombeta, who was not allowed access to his client the whole of Tuesday, told journalists that Miguna would not fill the Immigration papers as that would indict him as having been in the country illegally. He was adamant that he would not apply for citizenship, as he is a Kenyan by birth.

"He should be allowed to enter Kenya on the strength of the court order," Ombeta told journalists at JKIA even as a contingent of GSU officers threw a ring around Terminal 2, where Miguna was held.

The officers, who on Monday night clobbered journalists at the airport for covering the stalemate, barred the media from accessing the terminal.

Munyoki said the State would not clear Miguna because he never produced his travel documents as is required by standard procedure.

"Instead of presenting the requisite documents he had exited with from Canada, Miguna became unruly and threw a tantrum, saying he was a Kenyan who should be allowed to enter the country without Immigration clearance as is required of all arriving passengers irrespective of the nationality," said Munyoki.

He repeated the government's claim that Miguna lost his Kenyan citizenship in 1998, when he acquired Canadian citizenship at a time the law did not recognise dual citizenship.

This was the position the State held when it deported Miguna last month.

GSU officers stand guard at the entrance of JKIA's Terminal 2 where NRM leader Miguna Miguna was held after his return from Canada, March 27, 2018. /MONICAH MWANGI
GSU officers stand guard at the entrance of JKIA's Terminal 2 where NRM leader Miguna Miguna was held after his return from Canada, March 27, 2018. /MONICAH MWANGI


Shortly before 10pm on Monday night, Raila left the city centre for JKIA, hoping to rescue Miguna from Immigration and the Police, who had refused to clear him to enter the country.

Raila’s ally Siaya Senator James Orengo, whom he had instructed to handle the matter, had reached the end. Airport authorities wanted Miguna to produce the passport he had travelled on from London, but Miguna wanted to be admitted using his Kenyan ID card instead.

On the way to the airport, Raila spoke to Miguna and asked him to cooperate with Immigration and present his Canadian passport. But Miguna declined and told Raila that he had given his Canadian passport to someone else who had left with it for fear of the government confiscating it.

Sources say Raila spoke to top government officials who promised that Miguna would be allowed to enter the country using the Canadian passport, but Miguna refused to present it.

The Miguna saga generated intense discussion about the partnership that Raila said he had forged with President Kenyatta. Many commentators questioned how a deal that is supposed to have laid the ghosts of the last elections to rest could not protect Miguna from politically-motivated State harassment.

One of the proponents of the Uhuru-Raila truce, Orengo was charged that Kenyans should stop pretending that “we have a legitimate government”, recalling the post-election crisis and NASA’s rejection of Uhuru's legitimacy as Head of State.

“Kenyans should express national outrage,” Orengo charged at JKIA, moments after Miguna was violently taken away to be deported for the second time.

In a hard-hitting statement, Raila's adviser Salim Lone who last week penned a justification of the deal protested that Jubilee was behaving as though there was no pact and said the administration can not be trusted.

Lone admitted for the first time that Raila’s decision to work with Jubilee had the potential of disenfranchising his political base.

This regime's lawless behaviour continues unabated, as if nothing really changed on March 9,” Lone protested, referring to the famous Harambee House handshake.

“It’s the latest outrage of scorning multiple court orders explicitly instructing it to restore Miguna's nationality and facilitating his re-entry home, and then treating him abusively in full view of the world's cameras, shows Jubilee is incorrigibly dedicated to pursuing impunity, and cannot be trusted,” Lone stated.


In the Senate, nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka demanded a statement over Miguna’s airport saga and the assault on journalists by police. Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, who is the vice chair of the Senate Security Committee, said he will present the interim report from the security and Immigration departments today.

Miguna dramatically resisted boarding the Emirates Flight EK 722.  His coat was torn in the ensuing scuffle as he protested at his mistreatment.

“My friend I am not going. You cannot take me from my country by force,” Miguna told the Emirates pilot, looking him straight in the eye. He told police officers that he would rather die than be removed from the country.


By last evening, Miguna was still being held incommunicado at the airport, without access to his lawyers. They told the court that they suspected Miguna was being held in a toilet. 

Nyando MP Jared Okello, whose constituency the fiery lawyer hails from, termed as “an utter show of disrespect” the manner in which Miguna was whisked away in Raila's presence.

“It negates the core issues around the handshake. Every government agency, including the Police Service, must handle our chief [Raila] with discipline. Above all, they should publicly apologize for the happenings of last night at JKIA,” Okello demanded.

Immediately after the truce, Some NASA leaders had their suspended passports reinstated and others got back their security.

It was expected that despite Miguna's hostility to the deal and criticism of Raila, it would guarantee the lawyer an easy return to the country.

Yesterday, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, whose Ford Kenya party has previously expressed misgivings with the handshake, said Raila's “mistreatment” at the airport has exposed the soft underbelly of the secret pact.

“Is there commitment to this handshake or you or are you just being taken for a ride?” Wamalwa said, citing the late-night violent dispersal of NASA leaders from JKIA.

Former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim claimed that the Harambee House handshake was for Raila's own personal benefit and insinuated there is much unknown to the public.

“This might sound a bit outrageous to people who have so much faith in Raila. That handshake is nothing more than a personal interest of Raila himself. And we will see this as it unfolds,” he warned.

“The Opposition in this country has perfected the commercialization of politics. We do it every now and again. I have decided that I am going to speak openly about it.”

Last modified onWednesday, 28 March 2018 00:18
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