Onyango Oloo: How Can Raila's 10 MPs Glorify Moi?

It was startling to read reports of 10 MPs (including 2 ministers) from ODM call a press conference at Parliament Buildings last week to blast Miguna Miguna, an advisor to Prime Minister Raila Odinga because of an opinion piece carried by the Star in which Miguna criticised former President Moi.

The MPs, among other things, demanded that Miguna should "respect elders" because in their view, "Moi is a statesman who left a legacy. He left a peaceful Kenya, a record some people including President Kibaki have failed to beat."

Which legacy are these MPs talking about? And which Moi are they referring to?

Are they talking about the legacy of a one party dictatorship? A legacy of a police state which intimidated, harassed, arrested and even killed those it deemed "dissidents" and "disgruntled elements"? Are they referring to the legacy of land grabbing and grand corruption?

Are they referring to the Moi who ruled Kenya for 24 years with an iron fist after under-studying the despot Mzee Jomo Kenyatta for 15 years?

Are they talking about the same Moi who tried to hang Raila more than once? Are they talking about the same Moi who oversaw the police state which flung our current Prime Minister
— and yes ODM party leader — in the dungeons of detention without trial a record three times?

And talking of peace, was it not in 1992 and 1997 that there were brutal politically motivated so called "ethnic clashes" which displaced tens of thousands of people in the Rift Valley and maimed and killed hundreds in places like Likoni?

Moi was President at the time and his ruling party Kanu was heavily implicated in these barbarous atrocities. The Wagalla Massacre took place in 1984 and against state security forces directly answerable to President Moi were considered the main suspects.

Are the 10 ODM MPs referring to people like the late Hezekiah Oyugi and the notorious Special Branch torturer James Opiyo as the harbingers of peace in Moi's Kenya?

There was some element of -"peace" during Moi's reign of terror — or is it error? But it was "peace" for the killers of Robert Ouko; "peace" for the assassins of Father John Kaiser; "peace" for the land grabbers and owners of the politically connected banks; "peace" for the architects of Goldenberg; "peace" for the riggers of elections; "peace" for secret police who hounded peaceful, democracy-loving social justice activists.

I remember being alive during the Moi-Kanu dictatorship. I remember vividly how as a 21-year-old university student being abducted in a train and frogmarched back to Nairobi under tight armed police escort to be charged with sedition — based on an unfinished hand written draft where I was calling on Kenyan youth and students to fight for democracy and justice.

I remember being convicted and jailed for five years because I was deemed an "enemy" of the Moi ruled neo-colonial state.

I remember meeting hundreds of young people like myself at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison — some of them disabled from torture who shared our fate. I remember being forced to flee Kenya in 1987 because of renewed fears that I would be flung back in the same penitentiary and seeking refuge in Tanzania and thereafter to Canada where I first met Miguna Miguna.

Over the years I worked closely with Miguna and other democratic-minded Kenyans to expose the atrocities of the Moi-Kanu dictatorship.

When Miguna first qualified as a lawyer in Canada, the bulk of his case load had to do with defending Kenyan refugees and asylum seekers who were fleeing Kenya in droves throughout the eighties and nineties.

To witness MPs who pledge fealty to the thrice detained Raila Odinga as their party leader calling Moi an "elder statesman" who left "a legacy of peace" is an invitation to vomit in disgust.

Where were these so called leaders when the Migunas, Onyango Oloos, together with the Imanyaras, Muites, Mutungas, Miceres, Njeri Kabeberis, Orengos, Anyang's and Railas fighting to dislodge dictatorship and repression represented by the very same Moi?

Some, like Dalmas Otieno were Kanu stalwarts so they can be forgiven for their historical delusions.

And pray tell, what was Otieno Kajwang' doing in that motley crew of opportunists and revisionists?

If memory serves me correctly, our current Minister of Immigration was expelled from the University of Nairobi in 1979 for opposing the Moi-Kanu dictatorship.

I wonder what the Prime Minister has to say to these 10 MPs who are such an insult to the long suffering people of Kenya, not just Nyanza.

The author is a political commentator who served five years at Kamiti Prison before spending almost 20 years in exile because of the repressive Moi-Kanu dictatorship.

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