This article was first published on Friday August 19th, 2011
By Miguna Miguna
I have read the article Miguna’s Criticisms of Raila Not Convincing by Wafula Buke with sympathy to the serial hypocrite.
I believe that Buke has been more than unfair to me. I have never written anything negative about Buke although many people know as a matter of public record that he has nothing to write home about. Apart from running around town jumping from one cause or another for handouts from politicians, Buke has done virtually nothing to complete his education, acquire useful skills and make a substantive contribution to society.
Buke was a common pathetic drunk at the University of Nairobi who had flunked his courses three years in a row before Kaberere Njenga, Munoru Nderi and myself wiped him clean and projected him as the “face” of the “new university student movement” in 1987. We made him SONU chair though he spent most of his time drinking and frolicking with other drunks at a women hostel popularly known as “the Box”.
When I joined the university in September 1986, Buke had been to Kenyatta University for one year before moving to the University of Nairobi, where he had repeated both first and second years. He later pretended to be a radical, surreptitiously visiting the Libyan Embassy in Nairobi for handouts. It was the latter reputation that endeared him to progressive students like me who mistook his nocturnal activities for progressive politics.
In any event, unlike Munamezi Muleji, Ngala Amuomo, Kaberere, Nderi and I, Buke “confessed” to crimes he might not have committed after our illegal abduction, detention and torture. For that “confession”, he was jailed for five years. I was not responsible for Buke’s confession. As such, his envy and bitterness towards me is completely delusional and unjustified.
Anybody who has read my book “Disgraceful Osgoode and Other Essays” (a copy of which I gave Buke many years ago), knows that among other detained and later expelled university students, I am the only one who raised Buke’s matter – in and out of detention.
Indeed, I kept contact with Buke after his release. When I relocated to Kenya in 2007 (after 19 years of exile), I am the one who brought Buke to the ODM Strategy Headquarters at the Rainbow House in Nairobi and convinced everyone that he should be appointed as a mobilizer for the party in Bungoma. I ensured that he was given money for mobilization (of course, there are many stories where that money ended up, but that’s not my point right now.)
After the 2007 elections, I met Buke three times. We discussed a range of issues, including what we (like many others) thought were Raila Odinga’s main weaknesses (and they are a legion), betrayals and what we perceived as the “take over” of the reform process by reactionary forces in Kenya. I never, ever told Buke that I felt betrayed merely because I had not been given a job. Buke is desperately trying to rewrite history for obvious selfish reasons.
Most Kenyans know that Buke has been a gun for hire by well-known reactionary forces. At the height of the Moi dictatorship (following his release from jail), Buke worked for and was funded by Cyrus Jirongo (when Jirongo was chairman of YK’92). Indeed, there are credible stories of him being bought matatus by Jirongo and Co, which Buke operated in Kisumu for a year or so.
Over the years – but particularly after the 2007 election debacle – I encouraged Buke to complete his university education (which he has never done) so as to make it easier for him to get gainful employment. I have been very supportive of Buke, giving him fare and trying to help whenever I could.
I thereafter discussed Buke’s fate with others, including the PM himself. It was these discussions that resulted in Buke’s two visits to the PM’s Office (which I facilitated). After the last meeting at the PM’s Office, Buke called me and I arranged to meet him at the Parklands Club. It was during that meeting that he informed me that William Ruto had “hired” him as his Personal Assistant. He wanted to know my views. I told him that it depends on why Ruto had given him the job. If it was given genuinely with a view to “helping” a struggling colleague, I advised, I would have no problem. However, if it was given in order to “recruit” Buke into Ruto’s reactionary politics, then I would have problems.
Buke assured me that all he needed was “income”; that he would be “doing nothing” anyway. The “job” was “just to me on payroll”, he asserted. I believed him and the discussion ended there.
A few months later, Buke called to “congratulate” me over an article I had published on the KKK, which Ruto had just joined. Buke was so excited about the article that he undertook to find some funds and have the article published as a paid ad in a local daily. However, barely two weeks thereafter, what I saw was not my article being published as an ad by Buke; it was Buke’s broadside on me in the Weekly Citizen gutter, in the Standard, the Star and other electronic and print media.
Although I was shocked, I held my gun. I have always considered Buke a comrade and an ally. As a policy, I have never, ever written anything negative or attacked my former comrades. I have felt that if I have something to discuss with them, the best way is not to “confront” them in public, particularly through a newspaper article.
This is not because I have had no issues with a few of them, nor is it because I am unable to respond when attacked. It is also not because I fear them. It is simply because, as friends, I believe that we owe each other respect and discretion. I strongly believe that true friends don’t seek to embarrass or humiliate each other; and certainly don’t seek to gloat when their friend is “down”.
Ruto has never been my friend. Buke once was. However, because this is the second time he is attacking me publicly without cause or justification, I feel that I need to respond, if only to warn Buke that I will not allow him to attempt to besmirch my reputation without a response.
I was dumbfounded when Buke published his second unfounded broadside against me. It was not intended as “advice”. Those who confuse this envy-driven drivel against me with advice must see it for what it is: a selfish and cowardly “lobby” of the PM for a job. Buke could have done that without trying to drag my name through the mud.
Buke claims that he disagreed with Ruto over the constitutional referendum. Why are we hearing about that now? What was Buke’s position on the constitution anyway? Did he ever support it? When and how?
Buke can write: so why hasn’t he ever written on any important national issues other than attacking me? Am I the most important issue for Buke? When has Buke ever written anything about corruption, bad governance, tribalism, nepotism, etc in Kenya? Where is his RECORD? Or he wants to remind us that he was once jailed for five years for a false confession?
I wish to remind Buke that the struggle is still long and torturous. It might be too early for him to celebrate my “fall”.
This will be my only response to Buke’s unwarranted rants.
Mr. Miguna is a Barrister and Solicitor in Ontario, Canada.