I cannot say MM is a friend at the level, say, OO, would be but I have read him and known him for a long time and have even interacted privately with him on matters ODM when he was at the PM’s office.
I have largely stayed away from discussions about MM and intend to do just that other than what I have posted on my two blogs on him, Miguna Maybe Hurting But He Is Being Disingenuous As To Raila and Miguna Has Made Serious A Serious Allegation Let The Police Investigate.
I pose the question I do here, though, not in any way as a negative thing but as a positive opportunity to explore an even deeper question and that is, what role does an obviously brilliant man with hardly any break system between what he thinks and what he says has to play in a political system where there is a correlation between what you say and your political fortunes such that when its good, you are rewarded and punished when it’s not.
This is the question I would like us to explore in the context of comparing and contrasting MM to Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the United States Congress, and now one of those seeking nomination by the Republican party to challenge President Obama.
The underlying presumption in this question is, not matter how brilliant one is, not everything that’s going to flow from his or her lips is going to be brilliant.
No scientific study has been done to confirm this but just take my word for it or if not, take your own word for they are the same.
For those of you not in the US or do not follow US politics, a bit of a background on Newt Gingrich:
As noted above, Newt is the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives who is now running for president.
He is an historian by training and no one questions the fact he has a brilliant mind.
So brilliant, he devised a plan for Republicans to become a majority party in the House of Representatives and when the plan was executed in 1994, the Republicans led by Newt were able to wrestle majority control of the House from Democrats who had had it and therefore controlled the legislative process for more than 40 years until Newt and his crew booted them in 1994.
Riding mighty and high on this outstanding accomplishment, Newt forgot he was mortal and soon started treating everyone even then President Clinton as though they were irrelevant when, in fact, the were: he was only head of one of the three branches of government.
The list of things he was saying, many of them outright mean, is long to even summarize but the cleverer and even more brilliant Clinton is, he counter-engineered a strategy to remove the Republicans using Newt himself as the whipping boy and the strategy succeeded as Republicans lost miserably in the next elections of 1998, forcing the very same Republicans to seek an ouster of Newt as Speaker and replace him with someone less arrogant and abrasive (their words).
Rather than face defeat by his own Republicans in a bid for second term as Speaker, Newt resigned from congress soon after the elections of 1998 and went on to quietly feed from the hands of the very organizations to this day he publicly condemns as evil and has even called for the arrest and imprisonment of their senior officers for mismanagement—all the while collecting hefty consulting fees from them, mind you.
Fast forward to currently, the Republicans are in perhaps the worst nomination process for someone to challenge Obama for none of all of the candidates who have thrown their names in the hat impresses the Republican primary voters.
The one candidate who can actually beat Obama in the general election is Mitt Romney, who Evangelicals, a critical portion of the primary voters, hate simply because he is a Mormon.
As a result, there has now been and continues to be the quest to nominate a “Mitt alternative” and several individuals have held that spot as they rise up in the polls, only to crush and burn a few weeks later for one reason or another.
Newt is currently holding this political death trap that no one has escaped alive since the phenomena emerged a few months ago but, just as his predecessors, Newt is about to crush and burn, courtesy of his past and present and especially his inability to control what falls out of his lips.
He was interviewed over the weekend and said judges who do not rule according to Congress’ understanding of the law should be asked to come to Congress to testify why and if they refuse to come, US marshals should be dispatched to arrest and drag them to the August house a dimwitted answer but Newt was talking to the Right Wing nuts who vote in the Republican primary forgetting everyone else was listening.
That’s Newt for you.
MM needs no introduction.
How do these two compare, given the Newt background I have shared?
They are obviously both brilliant.
They both speak without regard to what impact what they say has.
They both obviously enjoy speaking their minds.
They both can say brilliant things in so speaking their minds.
They both can also say things that leave one wondering what the heck!
They both have been accused of being abrasive and arrogant.
Those who know them personally say they are as warm and fuzzy as a toy teddy bear made of the finest wool.
Given all of this, what role should someone like either play in politics?
My take on it is very simple:
Republicans should nominate Newt as their nominee to challenge Obama; he’ll be a dream candidate for Obama to floor come next year compared to the alternative they are desperate to replace, Mitt, who, in my view, will likely defeat Obama, unless there is an Independent candidate who runs or unless the Evangelicals stay home in which case Obama will floor Mitt, too.
As for our friend MM, let me quote myself in what I have already said in my blog above posted soon after he was suspended:
If Miguna does not prevail, in other words, if he is ultimately permanently terminated (he is now under suspension without pay) Miguna will join the long list of of once Raila supporters but now anti-Railaists such as the fellow I mention above and the many we know in these fora who endlessly rant and rail on how horrible and bad Raila is, simply because they have a personal ax to grind against him, not disagreement on policy or anything close.
Quite frankly, my wish is, it is the former and not the latter outcome for Miguna.
The last thing I would wish to see here or anywhere else, however, is Miguna bashing Raila.
I can see he has already started doing this but that’s neither pretty nor necessary, no matter the outcome.
Loyalty and friendship demand nothing less.
I do believe this is also an opportunity for Miguna to re-examine and re-evaluate where things went wrong and adjust accordingly and if he does so, I am sure his contribution in the political discourse and engagement in Kenya has yet to hit high gear.
Conversely, if he does not and stays on the course he is on, and especially where bashing Raila continues to be a part of it, Miguna would likely write and shout himself out of any continued relevance in the political discourse and dispensation in Kenya.
That would be tragic, indeed, for a man who has shown so much stamina and audacity.
As I have communicated to him privately, in calamity, there is greatness that can be revealed only by the greatest.
On the other hand, the average succumb in calamity, to even lower depths for their lack of foresight and ability to remain calm, even as they weather the storm, which they can, if applying themselves accordingly.
The difference is often one about character.
The stronger emerge even stronger, the meek, even weaker.
What shall it be in Miguna’s case?
Only time will tell but he has a lot to do with that but, as I have noted above, he is needs to correct course quickly and plot a new survival strategy as he must and I would not burn bridges with anyone no matter how tempting for that may be the very bridge to a new future.
The point: Miguna should start making amends with Raila by at least not hurling any more nasty stuff as he already done and gather enough strength and offer an apology to Raila who, purely from a political analyst point of view, has done the right thing for himself, his office, the party, and ultimately the country as all these decisions have a bearing and impact on his presidential ambitions.
Miguna himself will make the same call, were he in Raila’s shoes.
And so will each one of those crying foul.
It’s called the politics of survival.
Those in it must always be on a look-out not to become casualties.
If they are unable to and find themselves under the bus, they have no one other than themselves to blame.
I never buy this foul cry that anyone has thrown anyone under the bus: the people have thrown themselves under the bus or train or whatever moving vehicle.
This is the lesson all aspiring political players should and must learn.
The arrogant and tough talking Alexander Haig, former US Secretary of State, found this the hard way after essentially declaring himself president when then President Ronald Reagan was being treated for gunshot wounds, only to find out his old pal Reagan did not find any of this declaration amusing when told about it and a result, Reagan distanced himself from Haig and ultimately showed him the door.
Would Parliament not be a livelier place to have MM among its intellectual leaders?
He certainly will provide a balance, if not a contrast to Hon. Bifwoli Wakoli and I am sure just by being there, MM will inspire great debate for many would want to make a name for challenging him.
As always, I wish him well.
Peace, Unity and Progress