Raila Odinga and Miguna Miguna: Power vs Authority
There is no question that Raila Amolo Odinga has power! If he did not have power, he would have been arrested by now for causing all kinds of mayhem in the republic of Kenya. One however has to be careful when presenting the case for power in the absence of defining it within the constraints of authority. To understand what is going on in Kenya, we must wear the right glasses lest we be found without knowledge and experience the fate of Miguna Miguna.
Power is not Authority but Authority is Power. Power lacks authority but authority is inclusive of power. The regular English definition of power is given as, “the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality: ability, capacity, capability, potential, faculty, competence.” Within this definition, Raila Odinga has power. He is able to do things politically in Kenya that others cannot, he is able to act in particular ways in Kenya without consequences. However, not without guilt!
Specifically, Raila Odinga is able draw crowds. His power therefore comes from the people. Within political philosophy, the masses are power to the politician. The more masses a politician commands, the more power he has. In the absence of mass following, politicians have no power. Theirs is the ability to woe the crowds and hide under them. All those politicians who follow Raila Odinga have no power, they only ride on the horse of their masters’ power. People who follow Raila’s lieutenants do this on the back of Raila Odinga. They cannot use this power for individual purposes outside of the horse that is Raila Odinga. Miguna Miguna, as educated as he claims to be did not study political philosophy which is different from legal philosophy and jurisprudence, to his predicament! He assumed that Raila’s power belonged also to him!
The definition of Authority is given as, “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience: power, jurisdiction, command, control, charge, dominance, rule, sovereignty, supremacy. The right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another: Authorization, right, power, mandate, prerogative, license.” Notice that Authority includes power. But power does not include Authority. Power is a quality which is static in the absence of authority. But authority is inclusive of power and therefore has the mandate within law to actuate actions and force the implementation of these actions both within personal quality and within law and life.
Raila Odinga has no authority within law to implement any of his ideas, concepts and principles. He cannot use his power to protect or prevent the government, which has authority to arrest, or even deport Miguna Miguna, from enforcing the law. All he has is a quality that restricts the government from arresting him as an individual. The government still has the authority and power to arrest him and to punish him: It chooses not to. This authority can only be derived from the heavens and is accorded the State by God to act on His behalf. It is not derived from ones popularity with the masses!
The best distinction of these two nouns is found in the commission that Jesus Christ gave to his disciples. Before He ascended to heaven after being raised from the dead by His father, He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Mathew 28:18
Jesus could have said ‘all power in heaven and on earth’, but instead he said, ‘all authority’.
This is because what he was going to commission his disciples to do was not just to demonstrate a quality or ability, but to actuate this quality within identifiable events with demonstrable actions and results. He is claiming that He is not just claiming power, but also activating his authority to bring result to the promise He made to his disciples, “And upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mathew 16:18) The Church of Jesus Christ stands both on earth and in hell as a witness to this authority!
The Bible is not just a manual for guiding humanity to the Kingdom of our Heavenly father, but a foundation of all He scheduled for humanity within time and space and outside. Miguna would be helped to read it more! Even the heavenly citizenship has to be arrived at within a certain application process under the right power and authority: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved” Acts 16:31.
Miguna should have known that Raila Amolo Odinga has power but that Authority belongs to the State!
Teddy Njoroge Kamau (Ph.D.)
Diaspora Messenger senior Columnist