Why Miguna Miguna Was The First Man To ‘Unseat’ A Kenyan President
A section of Kenyans angrily reacted when a gospel singer unceremoniously unseated President Uhuru Kenyatta from his seat.
The singer was performing at the Jubilee Party launch at Kasarani when the stage frenzy appeared to have overwhelmed him – a ‘mistake’ that has earned him a lot of criticism.
Unbeknown to many, Bahati was not the first Kenyan to unseat a Kenyan Head of State.
In March 2009, then Prime Minister Adviser Miguna Miguna shocked government operatives when he requested then President Mwai Kibaki to vacate his seat so that he could properly arrange the seats in line with the protocol.
At the time, the Country’s governance was guided by the National Accord – a power-sharing document that had been introduced to resolve the impasse resulting from the 2007/8 post-election violence.
Under the National Accord, President Kibaki shared equal powers with Prime Minister Raila Odingawhile a Permanent Committee managed the coalition government’s affairs.
In the Committee’s first meeting, Miguna, in his book Peeling Back the Mask: A Quest For Justice in Kenya, narrates how the PNU side had created an arrangement where Odinga was playing second fiddle in spite of the equal power sharing arrangement.
Here is a narration of the dramatic event as described in Miguna’s book:
“When Raila, his nominees to the committee and I arrived, we found that Muthaura and his group had arranged the President’s conference room, with Kibaki’s chair sitting right at the head of the table with all the other seats lined on both sides. As soon as the ODM team entered, they sat on the seats predesignated by Muthaura. I was aghast”.
“I moved back to where the Prime Minister and the President were seated, positioning myself between them. I cleared my voice and announced that the joint secretaries needed time to “arrange the room”. Muthaura said everything was in order. Orengo glanced at me and smiled slyly.
The bold Miguna goes on with the narration: “Excuse me, sir, I hate to do this but the table hasn’t been properly arranged. We would require just five minutes to put everything in order before the meeting”. I addressed the President while fixing Raila with my gaze, trying to tell him not to say anything.
The President stood, followed by Raila, then everybody else. As soon as the President’s chair was vacant, I got hold of it and carried it to the middle of the table on the side that the PNU were seated.
I then created space for Raila’s chair across from where Kibaki’s chair was as I moved the other chairs around in the same manner I had done on the opposite side. The other members of the committee were speechless….They knew that I was ready for war – both intellectually and otherwise. Nobody dared mess with me on such occasions.
Muthaura, who had run off after the President, returned and started protesting that I had no authority to rearrange the seats. “With all due respect Ambassador, I am a joint secretary to this committee; you are not even a member; so, you shouldn’t even be in this room, let alone dictating to me how seats should be arranged.
Secondly, Sir, this is the Permanent Committee on the Management of the Grand Coalition Affairs. Both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga are co-chairs of this committee; they are also the two Principals in this Government.
Unless you want to suggest, Sir, that you don’t recognise the Accord and the Constitution which put this government together…” That shut him up. I continued to shuffle chairs around as I spoke.
After three minutes, I was done and said to Muthaura: “Please you may invite them back in.” I had set the tone for the meeting.