1.1. Objectives of the Book Launch:
(a) Have at least 300 people attend the launch;(b) Sell at least 200 copies of the book at the launch;(c) Organize an interesting, engaging and entertaining event;(d) Get adequate and positive coverage in the print, electronic and social media;(e) Have an impact in public and national political discourse;
(i) Attendance: The room capacity of the hall provided to us at the Hotel Inter Continental is 500. We counted more than 550 people. Those who attended the event will attest to the fact that people were standing at the back because of lack of seats.
(ii) Book Sales: One single individual bought 2000 copies in bulk on the launch date; 1,000 copies were sold at the launch site on the same day; book sellers gobbled up another 2,000 copies which were sold out by Sunday July 15, 2012; at one particular shop-Book Stop- eager readers were queuing as early as 6 am; By week ending July 22nd projected sales will hit 10,000 copies. Each book retails for at between 3,300 and 3,400 Kenya Shillings. Do the math.
(iii) Event Programme: We kept it simple and flowing. The Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. David Collins, gave a short but warm address hailing the ties between the two countries and underscoring Canada’s role in supporting the democratization process in Kenya by among other things providing protection to exiles like Miguna Miguna, Adongo Ogony, Onyango Oloo and others, not forgetting supporting the constitutional review process.
A native of Ghana, Retired Judge, Hon. Justice Edward Torgbor,( LLB, LLM, Dip Int Law)whose brilliant professional career includes teaching at the University of Nairobi in International Commercial Arbitration and currently Associate Professor of Mercantile Law at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa gave very insightful remarks on the themes of justice and writing.
The socially conscious and political astute troupe of the People’s Puppeteers put on a 13 minute skit using their puppets called In Search of Justice which received a thunderous standing ovation.
The Principal Guest, Hon. Paul Muite, spoke with courage and encouragement about the main thrust of Miguna’s political memoir.
Onyango Oloo, the MC for the event, in introducing Miguna Miguna to the podium, drew the connection between the repressive days of the KANU one party dictatorship which had hundreds imprisoned for sedition and the achievements of Kenyans through struggle of a new constitution which guarantees rights freedom of speech and expression and the overall enabling democratic environment which nourished the possibility of a book like Peeling Back the Mask seeing light of day and its author speaking in public at a five star hotel without being arrested by the secret police.
Miguna Miguna’s remarks have received massive media coverage so I need not repeat them here.
(iv) Media Coverage: Miguna Miguna DOMINATED the Kenyan media in the week culminating in the book launch. Even today, two days after the event, he is still on the front page headlines. He has been covered by the Daily Nation, the best selling newspaper in East and Central Africa as well as its other affiliates on radio and television-not forgetting their sister Kiswahili publications Taifa Leo and Taifa Jumapili. The Standard, the Star and the People were not left far behind. Miguna has had interviews with KTN Television and Citizen Television. Social media and blogosphere has been abuzz with thread after thread after thread being launched on Jukwaa, one of the leading Kenyan online political discussion forums; Facebook is still sizzling and Twitter is twitching with tweets about Miguna. The coverage, has on the whole been very positive even though there are battalions of Miguna detractors in many corners of cyberspace.
(v) Impact on Public and National Political Discourse: There have been editorials, op-eds, cartoons, interviews and commentaries in the media; civil society activists have waved copies of his book in press conferences; politicians of various hues have referenced him in mass rallies; there have been threats to sue him and calls for his arrest. In ODM an entire committee has been set up to rebut the claims he makes in Peeling Back the Mask.