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Introducing Mutahi Ngunyi the Plagiarist


By Miguna Miguna
A long time ago, I was among a legion of avid readers of Mutahi Ngunyi’s clever reproductions of ancient Chinese allegories and myths couched as analytical pieces on Kenyan politics. As Ngunyi presented pithy narratives of ancient Oriental history interspersed with Kenyan bar-room anecdotes, his readership exploded. Soon, he was regarded as a distinguished political analyst and given a column by the Nation Media Group. Thereafter, he became a certified commentator on topical issues.
However, what Ngunyi’s readers never cared to do was to investigate the sources of his juicy renditions. Had we done that, Ngunyi’s plagiarisms would have become apparent and in the process serious questions would have been asked about his integrity.
Apart from the little details known about his misappropriation of donor funds when he once operated a non-government organization in town, we also ignored the fact that Ngunyi has no credentials to call himself a political scientist or an expert of any kind. Both his academic and intellectual credentials are in doubt. Thus, he has absolutely no basis for lecturing anybody on anything.
He is, of course, entitled to express his views. But those views do not rise to the level of expert knowledge merely because Ngunyi is allowed to repeat them in various newspapers and TV stations. Although some of us noticed the obvious plagiarisms in Ngunyi’s successive recycles, we might have tacitly encouraged him by our silence. He then mistakenly believed that he was god.
I am happy that Ngunyi has now exposed himself through the article “Could a Raila fall bring healing to this country? (Sunday Nation, December 6th, 2009). Not only do I find the piece recklessly irresponsible; I believe it borders on criminality. Why do I say so?
Ngunyi started his article by attempting to gloat over what he sees as Raila’s troubles in ODM. He went ahead to demonstrate how, in his warped mind, Raila is “being fattened for slaughter.” The Biblical and other ridiculous examples of sacrifices he gave might easily pass as legitimate illustrations by one who is bereft of any originality, logic or common sense.
Cunningly, he suggested that the sacrifice of Raila – both literally and figuratively – would be “good” for Kenya. Without saying how, he claims that Raila’s “sacrifice” would bring “healing to this country.”
Unlike Ngunyi’s debauched examples, the Biblical sacrifices were given to God in order either to appease His wrath against moral turpitude or in supplication by believers. In both instances, the occasions and purposes were divine; not evil, criminal and repugnant like Ngunyi would like to see happen in Kenya. The kind of “sacrifice” Ngunyi extols and wishes against the PM is criminal and immoral.
Obviously, like all half-baked conceptions, Ngunyi’s theories don’t explain how Raila’s fall or sacrifice would heal the country. He speaks of the thousands of Kenyans that were butchered following the rigged presidential elections without compunction or moral compass. To Ngunyi, the blood of thousands of Kenyans who perished for no fault of their own can be washed away by the alleged perpetrators through nefarious criminal conspiracies against Raila Odinga.
Ngunyi alleges that Raila has betrayed Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka and President Mwai Kibaki in their respective quests for political power and glory. For that, Ngunyi argues, Raila deserves to be sacrificed by these three. What Ngunyi fails to tell his readers is why the millions of Kenyans agreed with Raila in denying the three their votes in 2002 and 2007.
Why would Kenyans agree to “move on” if their “hero” was sacrificed by those they rejected?
Although Ngunyi claims that Raila has betrayed the “Rift Valley Nation,” his argument is a summary indictment of William Ruto, Kalenjin leaders and innocent civilians from the Rift Valley. Why, for instance, is Ngunyi suggesting that it is people from the Rift Valley who are guilty of the “post-election violence” and therefore fearful of the ICC?
Ngunyi draws Moreno-Ocampo’s name in his concoctions but he fails to show the connection between the ICC process and the PM because there is none.
Raila Odinga is a patriotic Kenyan who has fought against dictatorship, repression and other excesses throughout his life. His quest for environmental conservation and the expansion of the democratic space in Kenya will continue whether people like Ngunyi like it or not. Kenyans are happy with the PM’s record. Why is Ngunyi scared?
Ngunyi has told me that he is aware of a criminal plot against Raila Odinga. Rather than incite and encourage criminals to carry out the plot, Ngunyi must be forced to provide credible evidence of criminal conspiracies against the PM to both the Kenya Police and the PM. Only then will Ngunyi be able to redeem himself.

As for the vote of no-confidence that some members of Parliament have threatened to bring against the PM, we have told them plainly to “bring it on.”


The writer is Prime Minister’s Adviser, Coalition Affairs and Joint Secretary to the Permanent Committee on the Management of Grand Coalition Affairs.

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