By Dikembe Disembe
Ababu Namwamba is fast rising to the acme of politics where you are loathed and loved in equal measure. Within ODM, Ababu’s candidature has generate some of the dirtiest vitriol and petty, if not absurd, Â the propaganda have been. What was essentially a race to occupy a non-pensionable internal office of a party which has lost (or been denied) state power twice has degenerated to a bitter fallout characterised by name-calling, accusations and wanton chaos.
Within ODM, the fear of Ababu is informed by the persona of the Budalangi MP. He is as choleric and crowd-pulling as the party leader, Raila Odinga. He is seen as either bidding for a top Jubilee Alliance politician or setting stage for himself to inherit the party base. Has Namwamba earned it? Debatable.
From the time Twafiq shown interest in the ODM Secretary General post, nothing about him is, and will be, the same again. There will never be a consensus about his achievements and or failures. He is good; and he is bad. He is a general, and he is a mole. He is to you what you think he is.
And, this is precisely what Mr Namwamba must begin to live with. He is no longer the MP for Budalangi. For as long as he is seen to be ambitious, with half the chance to rise, his detractors will painfully piss on his ass.
One of such fellows is a man going by the name Gitahi Ngunyi (no known relation to the Jubilee political scientist Mutahi Ngunyi) who, in his venomous attack on Ababu, spins a new yarn about the character of the Budalangi MP as a “manÂ full of himself; a man who is more given to one man shows. I see a man who pushes people away and has no apologies about his selfish approach to issues”.
Here is his full post:
ABABU ODM SECRETARY GENERAL?
The best I can say is I wish ODM well with such a Secretary. I know Ababu from the days he founded Chambers of Justice, an NGO that he ran alone and from his private office.
I also know Ababu in the Civil Society Coalition, The yellow Movement (Multi-Sectoral Forum on the Constitutional Review. Here he was elected as one of the members of the coordinating council and then he was elected to the Executive committee. I was also a member of the executive committee then.
On our first meeting, Ababu came with airs all over him. It so happened that there were eight of us who had been elected to the committee. And one of the things we wanted to do was co-opt some three technical persons to help us execute the agenda of the movement.
There was besides me Said Athmani, Mary Njeri, Dr. Kawive Wambua Rebecca Kitana, John Amena Amendi and Monica Amolo. And then there was Ababu.
After a word of prayer, Ababu said he should be allowed to speak. He was given the audience. None of us believed what came out of his mouth. For here we were trying to give new impetus to the constitutional review. We needed as many brains as possible. We needed the theoreticians, we needed the practical minds and we also needed those who had the grassroots contacts.
Yet when he spoke, he wanted the Executive Committee reduced in his words to a group three people…. “who could take on a stubborn establishment.” He had himself in mind as among three member group. As the rest of the committee did not agree to his obviously selfish proposal, he excused himself from the meeting.
That was the last we heard of him. The rest of us fought the good fight. And out of our efforts and those of many other gallant soldiers we have a document that we can say is people driven.
My impression on Ababu, have never changed. When he speaks, I see a person who is too full of himself; a man who is more given to one man shows. I see a man who pushes people away and has no apologies about his selfish approach to issues. This is not a man who I would want a secretary general of my political party.
But then again, ODM is not my party and may be my post is meaningless.
Even then, since I see the die is almost cast and it likely to be Ababu Namwamba as Secretary General of ODM by 6.00 PM tomorrow, I hope ODM will not be a people repellent. I hope it will not become a briefcase party. In short I wish ODM well.
However, the admirers and followers of Mr Namwamba dismisses these assertions. To claim Mr Namwamba is a one-show-man stretches the truth, especially with regard to his role in constitution-making. Ababu was the ODM top representative in the Abdikadir team in the last parliament who ensured the current constitution became a reality.
Mr Namwamba, it should be noted, was the ODM Parliamentary group leader in the last parliament – a very divisive and high stakes legislature but which may just be one of the most important sessions in post-independence Kenya.
It should be noted that Mr Namwamba’s detractors have gained teeth now that he is vying for a post within a party. The treatment Mr Namwamba has received so far in ODM, and which he has also overcome, points to the high stakes in the road to the next elections.