Miguna Miguna; The Man, The Myth, The ‘General’
Tough talking Kenyan-Canadian lawyer Miguna Miguna has been the man on everybody’s lips for the better part of a week now.
This, mostly, due to his consistent run-ins with the law, especially his role in the controversial ‘swearing in’ of opposition leader Raila Odinga, which led to him being deported back to Canada by the Kenyan government.
The man, who has in recent times been referred to as a self-proclaimed general of the National Resistance Movement Kenya(NRM-K), describes himself on his website as “a visionary and committed revolutionary Pan-Africanist who believes in and is committed to a more equal, accountable and transparent governance.”
But, perhaps, just to track back a little bit, who really is the man with two peculiar similar last names?
As Kenya was heading towards her independence in 1963, a young boy would be born in a small rusty town of Magina village, Nyando, in Kisumu County.
The young boy would be named Joshua Miguna wuod (son of) Miguna, after his father, leaving him with the two similar last names that he has worn with pride like a golden necklace to this day.
Miguna attended Onjiko Secondary School in Ahero, before proceeding to Njiiris High School and later on enrolling at the University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy.
At UoN, Miguna would serve as the editor of the campus newspaper as well as the Finance Secretary; a position he was elected into while in his second year at the university, and he would serve between 1986 and 1987.
During his short stint as a student leader, Miguna had numerous run-ins with the Moi regime due to his political activism; leading to his arrest and detention in November 1987.
Upon his release, he fled to Tanzania then Swaziland, before finally being granted asylum in Canada where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction, in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Toronto in June 1990.
He would later acquire a Juris Doctor (JD) from The Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in June 1993 and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree, with distinction, from The Osgoode Hall Law School in June 2001.
“Between 1989-1994, I was the Coordinator of the Committee for Democracy in Kenya (CDK), an exile-based pro-democracy lobby group that successfully campaigned for the repeal of section 2A of the old Constitution that had made Kenya a de jure one party state,” says Miguna in his official website.
He was admitted to the Ontario Bar as a Barrister in February 1995 and as an Advocate in Kenya in 2008.
He would then serve as a senior adviser and chief strategist to ODM party between 2006 and 2009, before becoming the senior advisor on coalition, constitutional and legal affairs to then Prime Minister Raila Odinga between 2009 and 2011, when the two had a falling-out after he was suspended without pay for gross misconduct.
Then an already published author of four other books (Disgraceful Osgoode and Other Essays, Songs of Fire, Toes Have Tails, and Afrika’s Volcanic Song), Miguna launched his fifth book and first ever memoir on 14 July 2012 titled, “Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest for Justice.”
The memoir received an enormous amount of backlash especially from a section of Odinga supporters who felt like it was a ploy to paint the name of their leader in bad light.
As a result, Odinga supporters in Miguna’s hometown of Nyando – led by then area MP Fred Outa – burnt his effigy and mock coffin and sprinkled the ashes into River Nyando.
Friends turned into foes, as Miguna was further attacked by Odinga supporters during his various book promotional tours across the country, especially in perceived Odinga strongholds such as Mombasa and Kisumu. It is then that he coined his popular phrase, “Come, Baby, Come.”
This led to Miguna’s resignation from the ODM party as a life member in September 2012, and subsequent publishing of his second memoir, and sixth book, Kidneys for the King: Deforming the Status Quo in Kenya in February 2013.
He would further go on to support Uhuru Kenyatta, Odinga’s main rival in the 2013 presidential elections.
Miguna then dug into the murky waters of politics himself in the 2017 elections by taking a stab at the Nairobi Gubernatorial seat.
“Make no mistake about it: I intend to eliminate corruption, land-grabbing, tribalism, nepotism and cronyism. Under my leadership, qualifications, creativity, resourcefulness, industry and ability will be the determining factors on who is employed and in what capacity. Ultimately, merit – not political or personal connections – will count,” bellowed Miguna in his manifesto.
He emerged fourth in the elections, garnering a meager 9,981 votes to Governor Sonko’s 832, 750 votes.
He would then turn back the hands of time and reunite with his former boss, Raila Odinga, in 2017 during the formation of the opposition coalition’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) when he took up the name ‘General.’