Miguna speaks on his newly published book
Last updated on 15 Jul 2012 15:33
By Oscar Obonyo
Miguna Miguna, Author, ‘Peeling Back The Mask: A Quest For Justice In Kenya’
What is the motivation behind penning ‘Peeling Back The Mask’?
To tell my story, my journey, my quest for justice. To reflect on my life and experiences. For historical record. To peel back the culture of impunity, corruption, injustice, inequalities and inequities bedevelling our country and society. To call for accountability in governance and politics. To expose duplicity, deception, dishonesty and hypocrisy. To move the reform agenda of our country forward. To celebrate our struggles for liberation and demand rectitude from our leaders.
Coming after a tiff with your former boss and just a couple of months to the 2013 General Election, isn’t your timing curious?
What is curious is your question. When is the right time to write a book? Should we stop writing books and raising issues because of electioneering? I thought that the best time to raise issues, to challenge politicians and call them to account, is during elections. That is how it is done all over the world. Why should Kenya be the exception? Leadership must be earned through auditable track records. A leader must be able to account for their past and present. They must account to the electorate for how they use their time and resources. Remember that the leaders – the politicians – are our employees. We hire them during each election cycle to serve us, to deliver services, to advance and protect public interests.
My book raises issues that reasonable people ought to debate. Exchanges during such debates should ultimately enhance not just the average citizen’s participation in public affairs but result in the creation and perpetuation of democracy, the rule of law and constitutionalism. Why should anybody frown upon my quest for justice? What do they want to hide? Those with different sets of information or arguments are entitled to advance or publish theirs and the public should ultimately be the judge.
In virtually all modern democracies, public figures share their experiences in public service through books. Many people who have served in the American, Canadian and British public service have published their memoirs. Former head of the presidency and secretary to the cabinet in South Africa, Frank Chikane recently published his Eight Days in September: The Removal of Thabo Mbeki. In September this year, Chikane is releasing another volume titled The Things I Could Not Say: From A(ids) to Z(imbabwe). In both books, he meticulously recounts all manner of encounters, experiences and discussions. Remember that Chikane was the equivalent of Francis Muthaura. Yet South Africans haven’t been frothing in the mouth condeming him and trying to muzzle him. Why? Because, ironically, even though SA got its independence just recently in 1994, they value freedom and are determined not to squander the democratic space they fought so gallantly for. Why shouldn’t we do the same?
In the UK, Tony Blair’s former press secretary, Alastair Campbell has now published unvarnished and largely unedited Diaries of some of the intimate, secret and personal discussions and interactions within the Blair inner circle. I believe he has now released five volumes of those, each more than 700 pages long.
That is the equivalent of five Peeling Back the Masks! Yet you have not heard the British falling over themselves over these publications. Another Blairite, Peter Mendelson, published his The Third Man in 2011. Even Condoleeza Rice has published her memoir, No Higher Honour, about the Bush years. You are talking here about a former national security adviser and Secretary of State. Nobody has cried state security!