By Silas Jakakimba
It is on or around 10th March, 2014, and I just organized a meeting at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation Headquarters between the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga and a team of young leaders – probably my last formal activity as official Personal Assistant to Mr. Odinga after voluntarily stepping aside just weeks or days before.
A number of the young women and men in attendance, from across the country, including Kevin Osido, Lee Makwiny, Irene Ayimba, Renee Nyakerario Mayaka, et al, pour their hearts out and ‘tell it as it is’ to the Party Leader, who is due for a three-month working and academic tour of the United States later in the night.
In the team is one lady with this warm heavenly smile who at the end of the event, comes to me and with much beam and energy, quips, ‘Silas, I am Christine Ombasa, what a pleasure to finally meet you one-on-one! I would really want us to keep on touch as I am into many things which I want Jakom to know about, things that will push my only ‘president’ into State House. And please, ask him for a photo moment before he leaves’.
Attentively so and on eye-ball listening, I respond, ‘The pleasure is all mine, count it already done, my sister. We need more and more folks to join and bring even newer ideas’. I have a side-line chat with Jakom and we quickly agree on a joint photo session which I personally take with my phone to be sent to the group leaders. Christine boldly tells me she wants her own and gives me a whatsup line and asks for a Facebook friend acceptance.
This initial encounter later becomes the premise for true comradeship and a continuation of one of the many alliances of the Leftists. I get to learn that here is a young leader who relentlessly follows the dictates and paths of her strong convictions on myriad of leadership issues and concerns, and spares no chance to follow up even at the risk of sounding ‘disloyal’ to cherished friendship.
We later take varying lanes on some of my stands, Re: Kidero, Ababu, Kibera, Homa-Bay Senate race, yet she had the temerity to always come into my inbox and pull several of those icons of laughter with this explanation after the other. On 12th October, 2014, she inboxes me, ‘Hahahaha eeish. Owalo/Fidel… Otekmatin. Osiepa… You always ask me to tone down. Remember my strong sentiments against Kidero and your advice to me? I’m requesting you to do the same today dear. This Owalo/Fidel thing should be treaded on carefully. I’ve made my reservations coz I respect you and anything I post must be sober’.
This is the Christine I knew. Who could take a view, stand by it, defend and live by any consequences. She was also quick on reaching out, putting stuff and opinion differences on the mend and personally ensuring a blossoming of relations again.
The Christine whose knack for use of English words was undeniably unmatched. She had a highly witty way around word use manifested in the most intelligent manner of mastery of the Language of England.
The Christine who after I backed out of the Homa-Bay Senate race, got back to me with her warm side and quickly told me, ‘Silas, there is a reason our paths crossed’, before breaking the news that she wanted to vie for Nairobi County Women Rep position and needed our support as she planned to set and launch her secretariat by mid 2015.
Her sickness past few months could not allow her to see to these legitimate dreams.
The Christine who some time end of last year, probed me to vie for a Parliamentary seat but when I chose to go quiet on her proposal, had already done her own due diligence and later told me she just learnt i was ‘a sympathizer’ of the serving MP.
The Iron Lady who spared no breadth in championing the Change Movement’s agenda of seeing to a better, prosperous and more equal nation where the boy child and the girl child have same social and economic opportunities.
Folks, Christine Ombasa like the rest of us; just like Dikembe Disembe Seth Odongo, or Luminary Christopher Mwambingu, or Omwami Philip Etale, or Kiongozi Nancy Anyango Bensouda, Luminary Ritchie Rich, et al, so passionately believed to the core in Raila Odinga’s ability to captain and shepherd a bridging of Kenya from its Disease, Poverty, Ignorance and Bad Governance stagnation, to the yonder dreamland envisaged by our Forefathers at Independence.
And we believed in her abilities too.
She was incredibly a gifted leader who had no room for indicators of mediocrity at any level – be it at Party level, or the National leadership, and could severally text or inbox, ‘Comrade, I need a breather! This country is going to the stray dogs!’ Etc.
That is why fellow Luminary Ahmed Papa and Yours Truly, as early as late January 2015, gave our word that we would be part of her team as she focuses on seeking the official pedestal to guide policies that would see to a better Nation.
May your Beautiful Soul that was always covered by that outstanding, sharply radiant smile, eternally find Peace in the Lord.
—– Silas Jakakimba, Fellow Comrade—–