Dikembe: As Ababu Namwamba revives ODM, his fortunes dwindle in parliament
By Dikembe Disembe
Omwami Ababu Namwamba, the democrat from Budalangi, took a hit not long ago when his loyalty was questioned by ODM’s lowest ranks – the party’s engine.
As the party regrouped one day at Bomas of Kenya, ending the longest political nightmare in the party of Raila Odinga, Ababu rededicated himself to putting ODM in a shape and form that can send shivers down its opponents.
“Be very afraid…be very very afraid,” he warned ODM enemies, then, reconciliatory, called on Orange supporters to begin the hard task of regrouping.
“Gather all, scatter none,” was Namwamba’s rallying call as he took over from the intellectual-politician Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o who vacated his Secretary General seat while sentimentally paraphrasing Othello of Shakespeare, ”I have done something for this party (ODM) and you know it”.
I was lucky to have been allowed to enter the meeting, to witness history as it unfolded, hanging onto my unofficial designation as ODM’s blogger-at-large, in spite of the gate struggle by men-in-black, who initially denied me entry. A year or so later, the Orange party is observably resurgent. Good tidings.
But if the intentions of Namwamba’s team fresh during the mini internal by election of several top party politicians, including Raila Odinga, whose loyalists like the late Otieno Kajwang’ had almost convinced that our party at Kasarani had been so infiltrated by ‘our enemies’ that he would have lost his pre-eminence as party leader to a novice like Simba Arati, city democrat of Dagoretti, had been misunderstood, Ababu’s successful takeover of the ODM secretary general’s position remained a bitter issue to swallow, especially, by competitors who had peddled the necessary lie that Omwami would deliver our party to Deputy President Ruto, or even Uhuru, when his bank account had been credited, as promised.
Ababu took over the instruments of a party in need of internal reforms yet a party that has shown a vicious temerity to be resilient.
Now the largest and oldest top political party in Kenya, the Orange party is daring 2017 elections in its original form and content, even as its top two rivals URP and TNA metamorphose into JAP barely two years into their ruling escapade.
Two by election nominations – one internally bungled and the other, in progress at Kajiado, conducted in conditions resembling what the Orange Party stands for – democracy and fairness – showed us the two enduring forces still vicious in ODM: old verses new, fresh verses stale, past verses future.
It is the Kajiado nominations which also exemplified what Ababu stands for in ODM – fair processes – an issue many believe is the only blockade to an eventual Orange state house triumph. Fair internal processes.
Because Namwamba conducted Kajiado by election nominations fairly, and for the first time losers accepted the verdict and all who participated have joined in and are supporting the winning candidate, many who had lost hopes in ODM ‘internal processes’ took notice. Sadly, ODM’s enemies too observed it, and Ababu has become an instant irritant.
Though far-fetched, Ababu’s current woes at the national assembly, where a group of legislators in JAP Â want him out as the chairman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC), is traceable to his current work in ODM, where the newly elected officials, led by Chairman John Mbadi and the secretary general, seem to be ‘reviving’ a party that cannot be defeated when united.
ODM’s competitors know that to defeat the Orange Party you have to weaken it from within. For 9 years, they’ve learnt that no outside force can destroy the Party of Raila Odinga and two years to another election, ODM is stable, united and replenished – and, egregiously, Raila Odinga is still its leader!
As Ababu weathers the current onslaught in parliament being fronted by URP – the party of Deputy President William Ruto – and also being silently fanned by TNA, the sacco of Mt. Kenya moneybags, it is not lost to many that the Budalangi MP has outlived those who accused him of being a regime Shylock, for these two parties often come ‘after’ you when they know you aren’t bidding for them any more or rocking your own boat any longer.
Will Ababu overcome this current predicament and defeat the ploy to oust him? Are there skeletons in his closet? Is he likely to be distracted from ODM again? Only time will tell.