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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 8 March 2015

RAILA BEHIND MY WOES! ABABU LAMENTS

The embattled Orange Democratic Movement secretary general Ababu Namwamba now believes beyond a shadow of doubt that ODM leader Raila Odinga has abandoned him to his own devices as he suffers tribulations at the Public Accounts Committee where he is chair.
This follows last week’s ruling by House Speaker Justin Muturi ordering graft investigations against Ababu as the chairman of Pac to take their natural course to the very logical end. Although the probe targets all members of the powerful parliamentary committee, Ababu sees it as a wider scheme by his fellow ODM members to torpedo his political boat.
Ababu’s worry is that at the time members of Pac took a vote to remove him from the chairmanship, Raila never bothered to ask ODM Pac members to take a common front to protect the party interest by standing by him. Instead, it was senators Moses Wetang’ula, Bonnie Khalwale and James Orengo who took the initiative that saved him. Fellow ODM legislators voted to remove him while another ODM MP Andrew Mwadime abstained.
Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo has also come to the defence of Ababu saying his woes are linked to power games in ODM. According to Odhiambo, ODM chairman John Mbandi and Suna East MP Junnet Mohammed who is also the party’s director of elections are the ones leading the onslaught against Ababu with full blessings of Raila. Also sucked into the war is ODM Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.
Midiwo has stated that Ababu must clear his name of corruption allegations. Midiwo says that the Ababu’s alleged conduct or actions are risky and might give the whole house a bad name and so he must be investigated and cleared of the charges to continue with his job.
It is now widely believed that the combination of Mbandi, Midiwo and Junnet has the full backing and support of Raila. The truth of the matter is that Raila has never been comfortable with Ababu ever since the bungled ODM elections where Raila preferred nominated senator Agnes Zani for the seat he now holds in the party.
Ababu on his part has termed the allegations against him as politically instigated and has vowed to fight to clear his name. Mbandi and Ababu have both been reading from same script as far as ODM affairs are concerned.
The two fell out during the Homa-Bay nominations where Mbandi supported direct nominations to the chagrin of Ababu who never attended even a single campaign rally for ODM’s candidate Moses Kajwang.
Mbandi has the ears and the eyes of Raila and when he speaks, people know it is Raila speaking. It is for this reason that Millie believes Raila is using Mbandi to fight off his political enemies within ODM.
Millie claims that she is being sacrificed and that both Mbandi and Homa-Bay women rep Gladys Wanga are being used to reduce her to size. Wanga has accused Millie of jealousy over her supposed rising star in ODM and Homa-Bay county politics.
Millie now claims that a plot has been hatched to waste her politically ahead of the planned ODM elections in Homa-Bay county. Analysts, however, wonder which circumstances led to the big fallout between Raila and Millie. Keen watchers might have noticed that of late, Millie does not defend Raila in rabid a fashion as had been the case before. 
ODM sources divulged that Millie is said to have opposed Raila’s choice of Zani during the ODM nominations and that is how Raila lost trust in her. Again, during the Homa-Bay nominations, Millie was again opposed to the candidature of Moses and was secretly campaigning for Philip Okundi.
Still, why have the gods forsaken ODM secretary general Tawfiq Ababu Namwamba to the point of being let to hang in public and perish over allegations of impropriety, incompetence, abuse of office and corruption as chairman of the powerful public accounts committee?
Both the Swahili saying: - “Mbio za sakafuni huishia ukingoni” and the English adage: - “You can cheat some people some times but you cannot cheat all the people all the time” could be ringing irritatingly in the ears and minds of the second-time Budalangi MP and if he falls, it will be the case of falling from grace to grass.
His latest troubles at the parliamentary watchdog committee could not have come at a worse time of his political career. That seat in parliament is probably the most coveted one after the Speaker’s and Leader of Majority’s positions. Besides, he was just recently elevated to the highly influential position of ODM secretary general to head the secretariat and politiburo of Kenya’s biggest and only national political party.
Though a lot of speculation and allegations have been flying all over including in the media about why his Pac members and colleagues in parliament have ganged up against him and want him removed for alleged corrupt activities, those who know the flamboyant ODM secretary general talk of a scenario of “chickens coming home to roost,” insisting that it was just a matter of time before the MP’s hidden filth caught up with him.
The world over, unreliable people speak smart and smooth. They paint a picture of being intelligent and very brilliant in their presentations and form. They are ever outgoing and appear like brave leaders. They often attempt to define and do attract many followers. Often many a time, they build cults characteristic of religious zealots or political revolutionaries. Unfortunately, such people never take their followers anywhere but astray.
Ababu, a diminutive, famous quotes-reciting lawyer-turned-politician and who is famous for controversies since joining politics in 2007, surprised many when he caused commotion in parliament by swearing loyalty to Raila in 2008 instead of swearing to the president. Raila is now the man Ababu claims to be working behind the scenes for his political downfall.
He actually was a beneficiary of the Kasarani chaos last year during ODM national elections, a feat he accomplished with the assistance of the party’s secretariat then led by Magerer Lang’at. Raila is said to have used the men in black to scuttle the elections on detecting that his line-up would be beaten hands down. It is at that time that questions started arising about Ababu’s abrupt mobilising ability and massive financial resources and clout. It was then whispered that he was being assisted by William Ruto. Raila and his allies bought the Ruto idea in ODM polls and had to act.
According to people who know the MP well, he has ever been a double-faced operative who mastered the art of pretence, deception, clever PR antics and public display of finesse and decorated speeches to mask his other side.
They paint the image of a crafty man right from his secondary school days at Kolanya Boys High School in his native Busia county through to his undergraduate days at University of Nairobi where he was renown for brokering deals for conveniently created student groups which he used to front to politicians and other groups including doubling in football politics, mainly AFC Leopards.
Pretending to lead these university “supporters”, Ababu would easily convince the targeted leaders to give him generous handouts which often many a time he would get the lion’s share of to the chagrin of unsuspecting group members, sources allege. During that time, it is revealed that he used to operate between all available politicians and political wannabes mainly within the remnants of the YK’92 lobby group and top politicians from Western Kenya. It is then that he came into contact with Ruto through associating with other former YK’92 top leaders Cyrus Jirongo and John Osogo who also hails from Budalangi.
When political seasons would be low, a clever Ababu, careful not to run out of cash handouts, organised colleagues at the universityu into a branch of AFC Leopards Football Club to access the moneyed top politicians from Luhyaland who would always act as the club’s patrons and financiers. In this, he was assisted by a one-time chairman of the team, the late advocate Peter Onalo, also from Budalangi, who even incorporated the university branch and allowed Ababu to sit in the team’s executive board. Through that arrangement, he was able to easily access top politicians Fred Gumo, Musalia Mudavadi and Jirongo.
 Once successfully into full legal practice in the city, Ababu found it hard to join some of the reputable law firms in Nairobi.
But the clever operative Ababu registered a nongovernmental organisation called Chambers of Justice which he styled as a humanitarian outfit offering free legal service and emergency intervention for destitute people in dire straits and in need of legal aid in Kenya.
According to the sources, Chambers of Justice was just a vehicle of disguise which was used to get donor funding from Europe and the United States. Dozens of are said to have donated generously to Chambers of Justice which enabled Ababu to acquire and furnish a glamorous office along State House Road in Nairobi which he used together with a weekly newspaper column to spice up his image as a fierce defender of democracy, good governance, human rights and the general good of society. That big posturing and publicity saw donors bring in millions.
Perhaps the only two good things to have been extracted from the Chambers of Justice include his using it and part of its free money to enroll and successfully undertake a Masters degree course in the United States and the free bringing to Kenya and helping Key Robert Ouko murder witness Swiss Maryanne Brinner Martins to testify during the Gor Sungu led parliamentary probe into the February 199o murder of the late Foreign Affairs minister in Koru, Kisumu.
The parliamentary probe team recommended investigation of former president Daniel Moi, his former sidekick Nicholas Biwott and other top government officials fingered out of possible complicity into the assassination. There are allegations that he strategically used the Ouko probe to gain publicity as a tough advocate.
Just like the Luhya wise saying: “Insofu ijinganga ameno kayo” (the elephant carries along its tusks), Ababu transited to active politics with his appetite for free money bordering on raw corruption and extortion.
It was no surprise that he was easily involved in the infamous National Cereals and Produce fraudulent maize sale scandal that badly divided the ODM side of the Grand Coalition government. It led Raila to announce the suspension of the then Agriculture minister Ruto, a move that sparked a major split in the ODM party.
Incessant allegations have continued to stalk Ababu over the Budalangi CDF kitty with clear revelations of massive embezzlement and misappropriation of money meant for development. It has been said his allies in the constituency and a few nosy opinion leaders have been silenced by being given CDF deals in terms of handouts and contracts, thus effectively forestalling massive protests from Budalangi residents.
When the ODM national elections were announced last year, Ababu abruptly surfaced from the woods with loads of money, crisscrossing the country in choppers. Immediately word went round that he had been hired by a section of Jubilee leaders to prune ODM of Raila loyalists so as to plant a secretJubilee allied, user friendly ODM national leadership to help remove Raila as party leader and deny him the party’s presidential ticket come the next general elections. Word had it that he had pocketed a whopping Sh50 million for the mercenary undertakings.
The ODM elections aborted at Kasarani acrimoniously but Ababu was to emerge triumphant after successfully armtwisting Raila into handpicking party officials in a balancing act late last year.
But it is his continued rise in extravagant lifestyle and conspicuous acquisitions of properties that are raising eyebrows starting from his hurriedly built palatial home on the shores of Lake Victoria. There is also another prestigious castle-like residence he is putting up right next to the official residence of the deputy president in the leafy Karen neighbourhood. Many wonder whether it is a fruit of the now infamous Pac bribes or another gift from his godfather, the deputy president himself. He has also been fond of expensive foreign trips and trotting around the country in a hired chopper every other day.
His lavish ways and showoff are rubbing off dangerously against the latest allegations of turning his elevated position in the Pac into a cash cow for minting millions through bribes to doctor reports.